How and when? In 1959 Andy partnered with decorator pal Suzy Frankfort for the Wild Raspberries cookbook. Only 34 copies were made; no publisher picked it up. Happily the Warhol Foundation re-issued copies in '97.
Illustrations by the artist, recipes collected by Suzie and calligraphy by Andy's mom. Wildly impractical and somewhat dated (Belmont Park's Sheep's Trotter Poulette anyone?) the recipes are mostly do-able, at least conceptually.
Despite the stunning vulgarity of ingredients (not to mention the improbable seasonality — soft shells are long gone by white truffle season), Warhol's recipe for Oysters a la Harriman is indeed a worthwhile endeavor.
But which Harriman played muse to this heavenly concoction? I'm ruling out Averell. I can't imagine he ran with the Factory crowd or paid much attention to where food came from. Chef made it, footmen served it, it tasted good, what else would he need to know?
It does seem very Pamela Harriman, but the lusty climber didn't snag old Av until 1971. With two failed marriages (Randolph Churchill, Leland Heyward) and busy being the good time gal for the likes of Jock Whitney, Prince Aly Kahn, Stavros Niarchos, Baron Elie de Rothschild and Gianni Agnelli, why would recipe collection be a priority? Being introduced to Hitler by Unity Mitford was so much more amusing.
The 1950s Mrs. Harriman, Marie (née Morton) was no slouch either, having traded up from Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney. But she didn't spend all her time looking at the ceiling. The Marie Harriman Gallery on 57th St. catered to the van Gogh, Matisse and Gauguin collecting crowd. The timing and art connection match up so we can confidently thank Marie for this gem.
Prepared for an intime supper pour deux, Steve couldn't but help channel the glamourous Princess: "Rainier dear, how are things going down at the Casino? And what are we going to do about Caroline?"
But just as compromises were made at the Grimaldi Palace in Monaco, so too did we make adjustments at 78 Springy Banks Rd. The called-for shavings of six raw white truffles were beyond our reach. Appearances being everything, I'm blaming their not yet having come into season. Instead, white truffle oil played proxy and delivered the required aromatic earthiness.
One last thing — don't be dissuaded by the lavish ingredients. Oysters a la Harriman is a light, lovely, delicious treat. One need not be a socialite, famous artist, titan of industry or Serene Highness. The hoi polloi will find deep satisfaction here as well.
Click here for recipe for Oysters a la Harriman.
Scroll down for a peek at some of the ingredients: