After Dinner Note:
“What do you do?”
2 January 2018

¶ Major Hoot: At a party at Clay Felker’s, Tina Brown, then new to New York, commits a slight faux pas.

Everyone at the party was so famous but unfortunately I had never heard of them. I said to Shirley MacLaine, “What do you do?” She gave me a manic, hostile stare and went on talking to Ed Epstein about how he should research a book about flying saucers.

 (DBR link.)

¶ Cracked open a tin of MarieBelle Aztec Hot Chocolate, a deluxe product that Kathleen bought a long time ago at Dean & Deluca. It has been sitting around, unopened, and I wondered at the instructions, which called for boiling water, not hot milk. And since when does half a cup of water fill a mug? Nevertheless, Kathleen liked it. She said that it was a little thin, and I was prepared to make another cup with milk, but it turned out that a good deal of the chocolate shards had not quite dissolved.

¶ Remembering the bean slicer that I had years ago at the lake house, I searched Amazon and found it. It looks almost exactly like the Leeuwenhoek microscopes that a bunch of us bought by mail from an outfit in Cambridge, Massachusetts back in the Sixties. Putting it to work with some green beans that I’d bought a week earlier at Fairway, I discovered that the bean slicer doesn’t work well with beans that aren’t really fresh. The slicer has a little blade, reminiscent of a guillotine, for topping and tailing, and it doesn’t work well with old beans, either. But with nice, fresh, firm beans, the slicer is a dream. Cheap, too. The microscope, in contrast, was expensive, and something of a hoax.

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