NSO conductor as short-order cook

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • October 14, 2005

by Karen Feld

The first National Symphony Orchestra cookbook was published 25 years ago. Now, to observe its 75th anniversary, the NSO has compiled a second one. Maestro Leonard Slatkin, whose Cantonese lettuce burger is featured, tells me he loves to cook. “What I do as a professional is about re-creating,” he explains. “Cooking is creating, improvising, spur of the moment. It’s like writing a piece of music and being able to play it in the same day. It’s either immediate gratification or immediate frustration.” So take your chances and see which way it goes with the more than 300 recipes in the book.Realtors’ parallel universe

Although I grew up right here in the nation’s capital, until glancing at several postcards which landed in my mailbox last week from Washington Fine Properties, an affiliate of Sotheby’s International Realty, I never realized how many Washington neighborhoods have “rolling hills,” “running brooks” and “hundred-year-old trees.” Interestingly, advertising copy for homes in Spring Valley, Wesley Heights and Kent all read the same: “Famous for its rolling hills, running brooks, hundred-year-old trees.” Gee, at least try some different euphemisms, dear agents.

Speaking of real estate, investment banker Marc and Jacqueline Leland of Georgetown have a $12 million contract on their country estate near Gunston Hall in Virginia.

Waning era of celebritydom

We hear that Texas-born Aileen Mehle, aka Suzy Knickerbocker, the very clever octogenarian gossip columnist who chronicled society like no other for more than half a century, is ready to cut back. Though in recent years her outlets have been fewer in number, devotees were able to read her regularly in Women’s Wear Daily and W magazine. Suzy, who is said to have been discovered by Truman Capote, will no longer write her column but will be writing longer articles for W in her new role as contributing social editor. Suzy’s M.O., in her own words, is to “kick them in the pants with a diamond-buckled shoe.”

Studio’s artful gifts

“This play is so universal – about control, power and money,” said Laura Pels about Marie Ndiaye’s “Hilda” at the Studio Theatre fall benefit. “Everybody tries to control.” She produced the play in Paris and is taking it to New York. “It’s different here because the American culture is different. But it’s about the same need for people to own other people, and most of the time we don’t want to be owned.” French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte and his gracious wife, Marie, hosted Studio supporters at their Kalorama residence before the show. Studio Theatre honcho Joy Zinoman praised her co-producer Pels, calling her a woman of “taste, flair and boldness of vision.” There was praise for Zinoman’s contribution to the performing arts scene in Washington as well. Supporters attending included Liz Cullen, Susan Butler, Ken Dreyfuss, Bill and Dorothy McSweeny and Bernie and Shirlee Koteen.

‘King of Comedy’ on Dino

If you’re still curious about the backstory behind the breakup of comedy team Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Lewis will talk about the duo’s rocky 50-year relationship and his memoir, “Dean & Me: A Love Story,” at the D.C. Jewish Community Center on Oct. 30. At least we’ll be privy to one side.

Out with a night out

It’s not easy to go to social events in this city anymore. Police officers wait outside some venues – Decatur House across from Lafayette Park is one – so they can pull women over immediately after they get comfortable behind the wheel after re-adjusting the seat from the valet parkers, and ask them if they’ve had as much as one glass of wine. Beware, ladies: Handcuffs and fingerprints are next. … And then there are valets like the one who lost my car at an opening on 14th Street the other evening. We had to move on to Arena Stage and I asked them to deliver the car when they found it. Hours later when my car hadn’t arrived, I got this explanation: “Our attendant didn’t know the city, so we had him follow a taxi.”

Chin up, Chuck

We wish recently retired Washingtonian Editor at Large Chuck Conconi a speedy recovery. He’s been under the weather with kidney stones – not a fun way to enjoy retirement.

Horse whisperer preparations set

In case you’re wondering about that big tent that’s going up in Pentagon City tomorrow morning, it’s for “Cavalia,” the amazing Canadian horse spectacle that opens Oct. 26.

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