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Jennifer D'Abo at Home:
Jennifer d'Abo At Home is subtitled "Recipes for Stylish People in a Hurry", which probably disqualifies this reviewer from comment. Who can these stylish people be? Fashion editors? Society hostesses? Peter Mandelson? At any rate this very smart production, "assembled at the repeated requests of her many friends who have enjoyed and even marvelled at the dinners and lunches she so graciously presents in her own home" (as the publishers tell us), rather begs the question of why stylish people in a hurry should be doing their own cooking in the first place. For pity's sake, what are servants and restaurants for? Can it be that Jennifer d'Abo is short of a bob or two and is doing it for the money? She certainly looks worried in the cover photograph, rather fretfully posed in the Chinese Room of Blake's Hotel (so stylish it makes your teeth hurt).
What about the recipes? How do they rate for stylishness? Truth to tell, most are rather humdrum little dinner party or lunch dishes, perfectly good but nothing out of the ordinary. But they are lifted by association. Beetroot Terrine With Sour Cream and Chives, for example, a very simple jellied borscht, is transformed by the knowledge that was created for the wife of the US ambassador "because she liked beetroots and England". Or Curried Melon Balls (melon, curry powder, mayonnaise), admired by Kenneth J. Lane, "the most famous and talented designer of costume jewellery, the best host in New York". As for Cod With Egg Sauce: "My son always eats it at Swinley Forest Golf Club".
Conceivably useful, therefore, as a repertoire of quick meals, if that's what you need, although you might have to give your guests a bit of background information. Or if you're one of Jennifer d'Abo's many friends you'll have bought it already. --Robin Davidson [via]