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Dorothy Dean Home Cooking Show: Abbey Crawford relishes the chance to ‘put on’ Dorothy Dean

Abbey Crawford as Dorothy Dean poses in a vintage kitchen at the Heritage Museum in the Spokane Valley. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Abbey Crawford as Dorothy Dean poses in a vintage kitchen at the Heritage Museum in the Spokane Valley. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

To celebrate 135 years in the community, the Spokesman-Review is bringing one of its most beloved features, Dorothy Dean, to the stage at the Dorothy Dean Home Cooking Show, Saturday at the Spokane Convention Center.

The show will feature cooking demonstrations, product and food sampling, wine tasting, Dorothy Dean recipes, giveaways and more.

And while Dorothy Dean was the pseudonym for the newspaper’s food editors for nearly five decades, Saturday’s cooking show will feature Dorothy in the flesh. Sort of.

Spokane actress and singer Abbey Crawford will tie on Dorothy’s apron to bring a 1950s version of the cooking maven to life.

In so many ways, Crawford, who came to the role through Spokane Civic Theatre, is a perfect fit to play Dorothy. As a professional hairstylist, she’s done vintage hair and makeup for herself and clients for a decade. As an actress, she’s been memorable in shows from “Sweeney Todd” to “The Wild Party.” And as a cabaret singer and vocalist with the Hot Club of Spokane, she’s right at home with a jazzy, 1950s vibe.

And a jazzy, 1950s vibe is what she’s going for in her Dorothy, drawing inspiration from some of the women in her own family.

“She’s more of a broad,” Crawford said. “I was raised by a bunch of broads. Very, very strong women. I think she is very definitely a broad.”

It will take about an hour for Crawford to become Dorothy, pulling clothing and accessories from her own closet to do it.

“Once I put her on, she’s a lot of fun.”

And once she “puts her on,” and heads to the convention center on Saturday to pose for photos and mingle with cooking show attendees, she’s looking forward to meeting Dorothy’s fans.

“I’m most looking forward to meeting people who actually have a history with Dorothy Dean. I know a number of people who have kept the cookbooks over the years,” Crawford said. “It would be really fascinating to me to meet somebody who has one from maybe their grandmother or their great grandmother.

“To find out what a following she has is really a very cool thing and to be a part of that and to portray her is even better.”

Speaking of cookbooks, guests will be able to take a little bit of Dorothy Dean home with them thanks to “The Spokesman-Review Dorothy Dean Cookbook.”

The 200-plus-page cookbook includes both vintage Dorothy Dean recipes and modern recipes inspired by her “straight-forward approach to home cooking,” said Spokesman-Review Food Editor Adriana Janovich.

The Northwest Passages Book Club stage will feature “Top Chef” contestant and Zona Blanca chef Chad White; cookbook author Laurel Randolph; Disney Culinary Director John State; author Kathleen Flinn and “Pie School” author Kate Lebo.

All three ticket levels feature access to the show and live stage demonstrations.

General admission is $12 in advance or $15 at the door.

Those who purchase tickets at the Dorothy Dean level ($30/advance; $35/at the door) will also receive access to the 9 a.m. or 4 p.m. session with White, a second headliner session and a copy of the Dorothy Dean cookbook.

Those who purchase tickets at the VIP level ($100/advance; $125/at the door) will also receive access to the 9 a.m. or 4 p.m. session with White, two additional headliner sessions, a copy of the Dorothy Dean cookbook and event bag, plus a private lunch on May 30 or May 31 hosted by Spokesman-Review Editor Rob Curley and prepared by White.

A portion of ticket sales benefit Second Harvest. For more information on the show, visit www.spokesman.com/cooking-show.

If you go: 10 a.m. Saturday; Spokane Convention Center, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.; $12-$125, available through www.spokane7tickets.com.