Nancy enjoys a good soiree, and loves a knees up with her celebrity chums.
Many of the stories she tells are about her glittering friends. She seems ambivalent about Marlene Dietrich who she alludes to on more than one occasion:
‘Boiled fish, by all that’s wonderful, is the favourite of Miss Marlene Dietrich, that great cook. ‘But water must be boiled alone’ she says… Serve it with a salad. ‘But don’t,’ adds the imperious Marlene, ‘serve a strong dressing.’
Nancy is not so impressed with Marlene’s take on lamb chops mind you:
‘Marlene Dietrich, of course, has a new way of cooking lamb chops. Well, she says it’s all her own. (Where I come from we call it Hot Pot).
You get the feeling that there was a bit of a tiff between the fish and the main course.
She is a fan of Elisabeth Welch:
‘For some reason in my house I always think I’m cheating if I light the oven. (Elisabeth Welch, the singer, used to keep her fur coat in her oven, to spite the burglars. Incidentally, she’s one of the best cooks I know and has never yet served faintly frizzled Persian lamb as a main dish.) So long as I have a gas-ring going on top of the stove, or I am bent double over a little bonfire in the countryside with potatoes roasting in the embers (or a very rare recipe I got from a gypsy, Hedgehog in Clay) I feel that I am honesty and truly cooking.
Don’t we all?
She has debated the question of Welsh Rarebit with Stirling Moss:
‘Someone said to me the other day ‘You don’t know anything about Welsh rarebits, you’re always eating in grand restaurants.’ Well, Stirling Moss and I once argued passionately about Welsh rarebits all one evening. Stirling (like the late Charles Dickens) adores toasted cheese and swears it isn’t indigestible.’
Proof, if proof were needed that Nancy is a woman of the people, especially people like Stirling Moss and Lena Horne, who apparently she made a mean chilli con carne for.
There is a fantastic picture of her with Cliff Michelmore:
It is emblazoned with the legend: ‘Cliff Michelmore once showed me the right way to open an oyster, but I’m still scared…’
Which is entirely understandable.
In the next post, Nancy is going to show us how to partay like it’s 1963