Thursday, November 17, 2011

Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams

As a child, I loved Saturday morning television. Unlike most children, I didn't watch cartoons; they always got on my nerves. My Saturday morning TV viewing started with Style with Elsa Klensch, truly the best show that has ever aired on CNN. Nobody can pronounce "Thierry Mugler" and "Yohji Yamamoto" with as much flair as Elsa. After Elsa was over, I believe that I had an hour's break before my other favorite show aired. Can you guess what it was? It was that guilty pleasure of the 1980s, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Now I admit that the show could be a little cheesy at times, but I have to say that it made for good entertainment. How else were you going to see the homes and yachts of your favorite television (or better yet daytime television) star? I actually don't think that I ever really liked the decor of any of the homes featured, but that was beside the point. And really, if that show doesn't sum up the 1980s, then I don't know what does.

My sweet friend Jean just gave me her copy of
The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Cookbook, published in 1992. Let me tell you, this cookbook is a real treasure. All kinds of rich and famous people are featured as are their favorite recipes. As you might expect, Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky are in there as are Tova and Ernest Borgnine. (Come on, you know you love Tova and Ernie.) But others like Valentino, Marylou Whitney, and Alain Ducasse are also featured. I have not yet tested any of the recipes, but they actually look quite good. Cold Avocado Soup, Hot Pepper Jelly Cheese Puffs, and Poached Salmon on Saffron Sauce are all on my list to try.

Who knows? This cookbook just might get me one step closer to champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

I guess it comes as no surprise that Dina Merrill's table is my favorite, what with the Porthault linen and the lettuceware.

Barbara Taylor Bradford serving up Veal Casserole.

The late Eva Gabor who was quoted as saying "Dahling, you can have anything you want in life. I am the living proof." Gabor's specialties included Chicken Paprikash and Hungarian Goulash.

Do you remember Jean LeClerc, the soap star? He seemed to be on the show all of the time! Here, he is taste testing some berries and creme fraiche.

That's Gary Collins and Mary Ann Mobley eating some of Marylou Whitney's famous chicken sandwiches.

Yet another goulash! I actually like Ivana's silver basket serving dishes.

Sally Jessy Raphael...because I couldn't resist.

A table set by Anoushka Hempel.

A young Alain Ducasse in Monaco.

And last but certainly not least, Joan Collins in her kitchen preparing Scottish Salmon and melon. Her other favorite dish is Spaghetti Bolognese.


  1. What a fun Blast From The Past! Marylou Whitney seems to be on the party pages less after her marriage to the 40 years younger tennis champ but still active in philanthropy.

  2. Wow, I suddenly feel like my hair is too flat and my shoulders too natural. I loved that show too and the recipes sound interesting without being too dated.

  3. So much fun. Yes, that show was a guilty pleasure. :)

  4. We have a huge collection of Dodie Thayer "Lettuce China" on sale in our shop, Brass Scale in West Palm Beach. It is such a show stopper for folks who sit it.
    Nice to see Dina Merrill's table with it used in the Palm Beach!

  5. Oh my, Elsa Klench, I used to love that show, I wonder what she is doing now??
    It is so funny you mention this book, someone gave me a signed copy oh so long ago, in it I found one of my very favorite recipes of all times ~ Marla Maples Lemon Caper chicken. It is so good and healthy. I add tomatoes and artichoke hearts along with the capers. This is a winner for weeknight dinners or entertaining. I love the photo of Marla with Donald Trump, feeding each other grapes, they look so happy.

  6. Yes! Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous- I loved that show! It has reincarnated (notice I didn't say "evolved") into shows like Cribs and Celebrity Homes (minus the shoulder pads) Thanks for that walk through TV memory lane.

  7. I too loved Style with Elsa - that WAS a great show, I looked forward to it every week! and I still can't resist imitating Robin's awful British accent...its so...'downmarket' as they say across the pond, but he gave us some great visual bling!! ;--))

  8. what ever happened to Elsa? I loved that show too.

  9. I have this cookbook and I love it for the same reasons! Like most of my cookbook collection, I haven't cooked anything out of it and I bought it more for the entertainment value of reading it.

  10. So loved this post. This is the great thing about blogging- when you inadvertently find someone so similar. I felt exactly the same about cartoons, and Elsa. I'm sure my parents wondered about me though...Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  11. Jennings- Nice to know that I wasn't the only one who didn't care for cartoons!

  12. Love the book
    Hate cartoons
    Love you

  13. Husband threw out my beloved Lifestyles Cookbook in a house purge! Does anyone have Joan Collins' Spaghetti Bolognese recipe? One of my favourites but haven't had in 10 years!