When they closed both Mets a week or so ago, I knew that my days as a social butterfly were numbered, and with grim news from friends who were already expressly sequestered at home in Italy and France I knew, as we all did, that life was about to change very muchly for Vogue’s much-traveled gadfly.

I’m lucky enough to have an apartment that was lovingly crafted for me by my great friends Roberto Peregalli and Laura Rimini of Studio Peregalli in Milan (where they are currently hunkered down under the strictest rules), but it was only during this past week or so that I realized that I haven’t actually spent much time in it. In fact, I can count on one hand the nights I’ve dined in in the last year—and by “dined in” I mean “ordered in.”

For an obsessively social person, out almost every night of the year, often in points exotic, this is clearly going to be a time for contemplation and recalibration.

Perhaps my new solitary life should begin in the kitchen, thought I. Painted an antebellum poison yellow, with Fez tiles underfoot, a scalloped pressed glass shade overhead, and a series of technical drawings from a turn-of-the-century Cairene tentmaker on the walls, it certainly looks very pretty. It’s a pocket-sized Downton, and the redoubtable Mrs. (Beryl) Patmore would not be out of place here—although whilst she might recognize a pantry full of Worcester china, she would be baffled by both the batterie de cuisine and the contents of my fridge: a bottle of Ruinart (even though I haven’t touched alcohol in nearly three years), Perrier and Evian bottles, probably rather stale chocolates, and a freezer full of 1930s hats (hopefully having any hint of moth frozen out of them).

I took myself to Whole Foods, which was confusing on every level. “Read the ingredients,” a wise friend counseled—after I had returned. “Keep a running shopping list.” Nevertheless, my fridge finally looked as though someone actually lived in the apartment. The freezer was stocked full, too, but its actual use remained something of a mystery. It turns out I had a very hazy vision of how long it takes things to thaw. Several menus have had to be put off for a day.

I hied to my library of elegant cookbooks, none of which, it must be admitted, have ever been consulted by me for practical purposes. I thought that Some Favourite Southern Recipes of The Duchess of Windsor, 1952 , might set the tone for elegant dining a l’un, but I wasn’t in the mood for Virginia boiled tongue—and where would I find the ingredients for terrapin á la Maryland in the Washington Square Park vicinity? Next stop: The Gay Cookbook—The Complete Compendium of Campy Cuisine and Menus for Men…or What Have You, 1965, with chapters engagingly titled, “What to do with a tough piece of meat” and “canapes, hors d’oeuvres and aphrodisiacs.” Although wildly amusing, I knew these wouldn’t really help.

Source Article