Bitsy's Bookshelf: The Wasp Cookbook

by Joseph Russell · August 6, 2008

alexandra wentworthA few years ago, a family friend slipped us a copy of A Taste of the Somerset Club Cookbook, an unintentionally hilarious peak into the veal demi-glace and pungent lobster-stocked kitchen of Boston's venerable old-boys club (Planning to pair your sauce poivrade with venison? "See if you can obtain some venison stock from the club"). In The WASP Cookbook, dyed-in-the-wool prepster Alexandra Wentworth goes further, giving us the stories behind the nummies, the eggnog, and the Easter ham -indeed, the recipes themselves are often somewhat of an afterthought.

Wentworth has divided the cookbook into seasons, and the seasons into subsections like Head-of-the-Charles Picnic, Raquetball Brunch, Opening-Up-the-Summer-House Dinner, and Blessing of the Hounds.

Whether advising us that her "Gardener's Salad" is "best if bought from local farmers; ask your gardener where" or admonishing that "every WASP must have a picnic basket that's at least sixty years old. If you don't have one, buy a new basket and bury it in the ground for a year," Wentworth's tongue-in-cheek commentary makes for laugh-out-loud reading. While Bitsy doesn't have any real need for this delicious compendium, she holds on to her (crumbling, dog-eared) copy for nostalgia's sake. TWC also makes a great housewarming gift -if you can bear to part with it.