A post from fellow blogger Little Augury reminded me of this recipe which was published in the book Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ball It is the story of Capote's party for some 500 of his most influential and aristocratic friends given at the Plaza Hotel in 1966. At the expense of dating myself, I remember that party and all the hoopla surrounding it. Every day we opened the New York papers to yet another saga in the evolution of this grand event. Who was invited, who had left town, who was wearing what, and on and on... The party made headlines not only for its lavish details but also for all the enemies poor Truman made by not inviting them to his party. It is a most entertaining book and a perfect one for lazy summer afternoon.
Capote with Kay Graham, the honored guest
Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow
Two of Capote's swans Gloria Guiness and Babe Paley with Bill Paley
Truman Capote loved the Plaza Hotel. He "frequented Trader Vic's for Polynesian fare, the Palm Court for Tea an the Oak Room which had the old moneyed atmosphere of a gentleman's club for lunch. His favorite dish was the Plaza's signature Chicken Hash, an uptown spin on a dinner classic, refined by the use of chicken instead of corned beef." from The party of the century
The Plaza Hotel in the 60's was a one stop gathering place for both young and old of a "certain" class. I remember staying at the hotel with my grandfather en route to boarding school interviews and having lunch in a little veiled hat at the Oak Room. We had a suite at the hotel (we were still under the delusion Castro would stay but a few months) with two connecting bedrooms and a living room so large you couldn't see the concert piano at first glance. Later on, I remember taking the train into the city and after an afternoon of shopping at Best & Co. where my grandmother kept a charge account for me (still delusional) making our last stop at Trader Vic's to enjoy one of those umbrella topped Polynesian concoctions and spare ribs. It wasn't until later, when I was married, that tea at the Palm Court became de rigueur after a day of serious shopping at nearby Bergdorf's and Bendel's. But the best, oh yes the very best, was a two month stay at the Plaza while I was "studying" for my Series 7 exam with Merrill Lynch. That is too long a story and definitely not for this blog! All I can say, is imagine arriving "home" everyday to the tunes emanating from the Palm Court!
One of the great things about the book is looking through the guest list, too long to publish here.
Do get this book if you haven't read it. Now that I have it in my hands I think I will give it another read. Thanks Gaye for reminding me! great excuse for putting down my current reading Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance by Nouriel Roubini, which is very good but definitely not for fun.
But on to the Chicken Hash.....By the way, the other entree was spaghetti and meatballs. Thank heavens Truman Capote became famous as a writer. I don't think he would have ever made it as a party planner!
Recipe For Plaza Chicken Hash
4 Cups finely diced cooked chicken (white meat only)
1 1/2 C heavy cream
1 C cream sauce (bechamel)
2 tsps salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/4 C dry Sherry
1/2 C Hollandaise Sauce
Mix chicken, cream, Cream Sauce, and seasonings in a heavy skillet. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often for about 10 minutes. When moisture is slightly reduced, place skillet in a moderate oven 350 and bake 30 minutes. Stir in Sherry and return to oven for 10 minutes. Lightly fold in Hollandaise Sauce and serve at once. Makes 4-5 servings.
There must have been an excess of cream at the Plaza's kitchen on the day they invented this sauce. Can you imagine, heavy cream AND cream sauce AND Hollandaise for that small amount of chicken? makes my arteries clog just thinking about it. Needless to say I have never tried this recipe so proceed at your own risk!