Tuesday, January 04, 2005

In Appreciation of Maxime de la Falaise

Many, many years ago, when I was a mere embryo in utero, I'm sure, I remember magically absorbing the contents of VOGUE magazine, yes, the very ones with Twiggy or Jean ("the Shrimp") Shrimpton on the cover! I discovered the Berenson sisters, Marisa and Berry, the granddaughters of the great Italian designer and creator of Shocking Pink, Elsa Schiaperelli, on the pages of a regular feature called More Dash, than Cash or suchlike. Loulou de la Falaise was Yves Saint Laurent's muse and also frequently featured in VOGUE. Loulou's mother, Maxime de la Falaise, née Maxime Birley and sister of Mark, founder of the legendary Annabel's in London, was a contributor to VOGUE in those days, writing an engaging column about her friends and--of all things--food!

Maxime's monthly column: Food in Vogue was my favorite thing to read. She was part of a jet-setting circle that cut a wide swath through the cultural life of the time: Andy Warhol; Lillian Hellman; Truman Capote; Francesco Scavullo; George Balanchine; Jackie O! It was a dizzying, star-spangled group, but what I loved about her column was that, in addition to being made privy to a little bit of her life behind the scenes, she wrote quite entertainingly about food...and the recipes were usually simple and quite easy to make. Her long out-of-print book, Food in VOGUE is one of my very favorite standbys. Here are a couple of good recipes to try:

Babe Paley's Candied Tomatoes

6 tomatoes, unpeeled, sliced 1/2" thick
3 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
Salt to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream

Dredge tomato slices in flour. Heat butter in skillet, add tomato slices with about a teaspoon of brown sugar sprinkled on top of each slice, plus a bit of salt. When lightly browned, turn the slices and sprinkle with brown sugar and salt again. Remove them to a hot serving dish before they get too soft and untidy. They are very good as is, but even better if you pour cream into the pan with the remainder of the butter and sugar, stir to thicken slightly, and pour over tomatoes. Serves 8.

Lily Auchincloss's Marinated Loin of Pork

Center cut of pork loin, weighing about 3 1/2 pounds

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Bourbon
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon powdered ginger or a few slices of peeled fresh ginger root
1 clove garlic, sliced thin

Mix marinade and pour over meat in a flat dish. Marinate for at least 3 hours, turning meat from time to time.

Preheat oven to 350' F.

Transfer pork to baking dish, reserving marinade. Bake 1 hour, basting occasionally with marinade. Slice in thin slices. Serve with applesauce and mashed potatoes, and have sharp English mustard on the table. For a salad, tomato slices, zucchini slices, onion rings, and green pepper slivers, mixed with a sharp vinaigrette; or you might serve a salad of watercress or arugula, dressed simply with salt and a little olive oil.

Serves 6.

From Food in VOGUE by Maxime de la Falaise, copyright 1981