Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Old Girls

Once upon a time (the '80s) there was a tribe of rich women who did nothing but shop, lunch, plan galas and throw parties.  If you followed Society back in the day, you would recognize these names:  Deeda Blair, Patricia Kluge, former flight attendant who married well, Susan Gutfreund, Lily Safra (believed to have had her fourth husband offed) the late Nan Kempner and Jerome Zifkin, not technically a lady; he was gay and greatly in demand as a "walker" which is a non-threatening man who is socially-minded and witty.  Walkers serve at events husbands despise.   

Nancy Reagan and Betsy (nee Betty) Bloomingdale, both 91, have been besties for a long time.  Betsy's late husband Alfred died of throat cancer when he was only 66.  His mistress of 12 years died when her gay roommate beat her to death with a baseball bat.  Psycho issues...

"Entertaining With Betsy Bloomingdale" invites us to see how the very wealthy entertain.  Redundant.  We all know how to entertain - sweep the dirt under the rug, set out some food and booze and throw open the front door.

Many of the recipes were so '50s that I laughed.  "Butter thin slices of ham with cream cheese, roll the ham around a sweet pickle spear, cut in coins and stab with a toothpick.  "Lolly Pops" - isn't that special?  Their idea of guacamole service - take a rolling pin to thin slices of bread, put the bread in muffin pans, into the oven until  they are toasted then fill each cup with guacamole and serve.  Apparently taco chips were just so ... oh, low, darling.

So many of the recipes were not what I thought millionaires ate -- bread and butter pudding?  Casseroles with crushed cornflakes on top?!

Don't misunderstand - there were plenty of mentions of caviar in the menus.  Clearly  then as now, caviar was recognized as an expensive splurge.  Jerry Zipkin earned fame with his usage of red, gray and black caviar to make a sort of bull's eye of caviar on a plate.  "So pretty!" the ladies twittered.  Can't you just hear them?

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