Chicken à la King (Elsie de Wolfe)

Anyone who reads this blog knows I have a weakness for creamy foods. There just something about the texture of a recipe incorporating butter and cream that is terrifically fulfilling, both emotionally and gustatorially—the richness, the aroma, the calories. Since my family doesn’t devour such ingredients every day, I don’t mind serving one extravagant dish […]

Crayfish Gloucester (1934)

The most wonderful thing about reading old cookery books is the social-history aspect. One learns so much about other times: how people lived, how they dined, how they entertained. And very often one comes across a name that is half-forgotten now, at least in some circles, especially so in books peppered with recipes submitted by […]

Vegetables by Elsie

Breading vegetables is something I find rather odd. I much prefer vegetables as close to their natural state as possible—simple, direct, and tasting of the garden. The decorator and hostess Elsie de Wolfe seems to have been of similar mind, given the relatively uncomplicated vegetable dishes featured in her cookery book, Elsie de Wolfe’s Recipes […]

The Best Biscuits in Town

The 1934 cookery book Elsie de Wolfe’s Recipes for Successful Dining is a sort of Social Register for the kitchen, since its pages incorporate numerous dishes from the American interior decorator’s Café Society friends. Even the most humble recipes can have a grand provenance, such as Hot Buttered Biscuits, courtesy of a Paris-based hostess, the […]

Cherries, Elsie Style

Any recipe involving liquor and a match makes dinner a celebration. One of the easiest desserts involving these two elements is Flaming Cherries from Elsie de Wolfe’s Recipes for Successful Dining. As the ending to an evening meal it is simple, basic, and good, a sophisticated version of nursery food. Below is de Wolfe’s recipe. […]

The Cocktail Hour

Friends chatting, lemons being sliced, the pop of a Champagne cork, the frosty hymn of ice being jostled in a silvery shaker—these are the sounds of pre-prandial conviviality. But one’s cocktail hour needs worthy hors d’oeuvre to round it out, making it a handsome introduction to the meal that follows. Think of hors d’oeuvre as […]

Welcome to Our Kitchen

My husband and I love food. In our 10 years together, we have supped well and noshed widely, tucking in everywhere from Le Grand Vefour in Paris to humble homes in North Africa to soirees in South Carolina. Food snobs we’re not: Give me a sandwich made with pimento cheese and I can count myself […]