you look like a fabulous chicken

In 1962, writer Liz Smith had dreams of being discovered as a newer sexier version of Estelle Parsons. Hanging out with her friends Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton gave her plenty to write about…..

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“While we wait for Elizabeth to have Alexandre do her hair, I overhear a secretary ordering lingerie from Henri Bendel. Someone is always ordering lingerie around the Burtons. You visualize a world of hotel suites with lovely once-worn panties, bras, slips and body stockings left behind and delighted maids exclaiming over the windfall. Richard, on the other hand, claims to have only six sets of drawers to his name. He declares either he or his wife washes out a pair nightly.

lingerie made from discarded cans

Elizabeth is wearing a coffee-colored suede coat trimmed with a dramatic flounce of fox at the bottom and a matching explosion at the top. Richard is very Southern Californian in a white cardigan and wraparound sunglasses. Alexandre has on something by Cardin, and there’s a bodyguard who is neither introduced, nor distinguished by tailoring. We pile into a robin’s-egg-blue Rolls to go two blocks. All in all, we are as likely to escape notice as an orange tie on St. Patrick’s Day.

nurse’s uniforms by Pierre Cardin

Grand entrance into David Webb’s jewelry emporium on 57th Street. ”I am omniscient and triprescient,” Richard murmurs, as the place dissolves into elegant pandemonium. People are springing to attention as if we were wearing stocking masks.

Elizabeth says to the salesman: ”Well, look, Andrew, what will these three pieces be with my spectacular discount?” She indicates leopard, zebra and serpent rings. ”Never mind — send them to the hotel, and these, too.” She points to a $2,500 lighter and a $29,000 shell purse…..

Zebra Handbag $4995.00

Weeks later she accompanies them to a party in Paris.

The Burtons enter in a crush. Elizabeth is wearing glittering emeralds and white egret feathers worked into her hair with diamonds. As she wedges her way past, I whisper, ”You look like a fabulous chicken.”

She blows a feather out of her face: ”You mean I look like a chicken’s behind.”

Elizabeth

She wiggles her fingers and says, ”Bye, bye,” as she goes down the hall like a delicious snowdrift on legs……

Want to eat like the Burton’s did? Here’s their recipe for Chipped Beef a la Krupp Diamond:

Chipped beef

Flour

Butter

Milk

Curry powder

Hard-boiled eggs.

Shred the chipped beef, dredge in flour. Saute in melted butter in a hot skillet. In a saucepan, make a white cream sauce using three tablespoons of flour and a little milk. Add several pinches of curry powder to this. Serve over the beef. Add a few hard-boiled eggs to dip in sauce, or slice them and place on top. (Elizabeth’s verdict: ”We eat this at high noon; 11 a.m. if it’s ready!”

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Published in: on July 25, 2010 at 7:17 am  Comments (36)  
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