In the 1956 film “The Girl Can’t Help It,” Jayne Mansfield plays the seemingly talentless trophy of a mobster, who wants to transform her into a singer so he hires an agent to create a career for her. What they don’t know is that Jayne’s character can sing. It’s just that what she really wants to do is – cook.
In the film’s funniest moment, the jealous mobster arrives in a huff at her apartment, thinking to catch her in an affair with the agent. And Jayne really is cheating but with a big, beautiful Thanksgiving dinner. So she scurries around, shoving the turkey into the closet and donning a negligee to suggest she’s been lounging around all day when in fact she’s been slaving over a hot stove.
When it comes to food, we can’t help it either. We can’t get enough of gastronomes, gourmets and gourmands, hostesses with the mostest, restaurants and recipes. So welcome to our annual food issue, which we’re calling “Power Foods” in this our power year.
Think power and food, think Martha Stewart, this month’s cover girl. The doyenne of domesticity couldn’t have been more gracious to Bob, Dan and Mary when they dropped in recently for cappuccinos and chocolates at her Bedford estate. Certainly, Stewart has always understood that food is as much about ambience and good company as it is about the meal itself. Another person who takes this approach is Spanish-born Greenwich resident Victoria Amory, who, as Patricia tells it, is on her way to becoming a condiment queen with her zesty, novel preparations.
Amory’s not the type who has to bond with the chicken in order to enjoy it. Food shaman Laura Parisi, on the other hand (Patricia again), thinks you need to have a profound relationship with what you eat and where it comes from.
Fine, some say, as long as others are doing the cooking. Well, have we got restaurants for you, beginning with the legendary Four Seasons in Manhattan and its master showman, Julian Niccolini. Closer to home, Ronni takes us on an odyssey through four great food communities – Norwalk, Westport, Dobbs Ferry and Port Chester – that continues with her portrait of Leslie Lampert and her Love eateries, including a planned bistro for the Chappaqua train station.
Jane takes us to Bareburger in Ridgefield and talks to chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, while Andrea hangs with the wild-and-crazy guys of Fortina in Armonk and breaks bread with WAG editorial adviser Billy Losapio at Sapori on the site of his former, well-remembered Gregory’s.
We’re there, too, as Neiman Marcus inaugurates its new restaurant, Mariposa. (Thank God it still has the popovers.) Though for sheer wacky dining nothing tops Audrey’s tale of the out-of-control lazy Susan as she and her family vainly tried to enjoy delicacies in China.
Food being food, it requires the right dishes, the right tables and chairs. That’s where Mary’s visit to the HIPCHIK in Armonk comes in, along with our trip to the fab new Restoration Hardware in the old Greenwich post office. And whether you’re dining out or entertaining at home, you’ll need the right outfit. We knew just who’d have the recipe for that – Antonio Berardi, whose curves-clinging creations are part of Mary Jane Denzer’s luxurious new space near The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester in White Plains.
Recipes: They’re what distinguish this food issue from our previous ones. You’ll find them throughout the book, with more on our website and in WAG Weekly, our e-newsletter.
Call it the Aunt Rita and Aunt Dottie effect. Last year when we wrote about Stanley Tucci on the July cover, they immediately went out and bought his cookbook so they could make some of the dishes he talked about.
So when you see my Aunt Rita and Aunt Dottie, thank them, will ya?
Georgette Gouveia is also the author of the new novel “Water Music,” the first in her series “The Games Men Play.” For more on the book, series and related blog, visit thegamesmenplay.com.