Book Review: Alexandra Wentworth's 'Wasp Cookbook'
Eat, eat, eat,” implores Alexandra Wentworth, gesticulating wildly at some cucumber sandwiches. For a fleeting moment, the 29-year-old actress, recognizable from her stint as Jerry Seinfeld’s irritating girlfriend ”Shmoopie” on the ”Soup Nazi” episode, sounds like the prototypical Jewish mother.
Hardly. In fact, Wentworth has just dashed off a primer called The WASP Cookbook (WarnerTreasures, $12.95) that’s devoted exclusively, if perhaps oxymoronically, to preppy cuisine’s greatest hits. And this blue-blooded blond sure knows her mimosas. She minds her peas and onions. She’s eaten creamed chipped beef!
”I was this,” she confesses, clad in a pink cashmere twinset, over high tea at Manhattan’s Carlyle Hotel. ”I ate this food. I was a debutante. I went to Cape Cod for the summer. My mother’s name is Muffy.” Her mother was also social secretary to the Reagan White House for a time. Must have been something in the water, because Wentworth decided soon after boarding school to join those outré thespian ranks.
”My parents thought it was a phase,” she sighs, fingering her pearls. They thought again when they saw her positively Puritan work ethic: impersonating Cher on In Living Color, chatting up Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, and even securing a regular perch on Jay Leno’s couch (”I’m kind of his Teri Garr”).
So why return to the Docksider fold and document the finer points of … toast points? ”It had never been done,” says Wentworth. ”Mostly because the food is so bad.” Not that the recipes she culled from prep-school chums’ mums — and their cooks — don’t work. ”It’s just that some of them are not so good. WASPs don’t use spices, they don’t use garlic, they don’t use any of that stuff … People that aren’t that familiar with WASPdom say to me, ‘God, you have a lot of recipes for cocktails.”’
But of course that’s the goy of cooking.