The front page story in the NYT today about the death of Elaine Kaufman brought back a swirl of memories of this remarkable woman.  But my favorite memory is of the day New Southern Cooking was celebrated in New York.  It was a heady day when New Southern Cooking was clasped to my bosum, an amazing feat, my first hard back book.  I was stunned and in a state of disbelief that the years of work had come together after one hard push in the last year.  I was President of IACP, or on the Board, I'd have to look that up to verify which, and there was simultaneously a meeting of in New York.  I was there with a representative from White Lily, who was sponsoring my cooking show, and we were also doing rounds of media promoting the show, which had been out for several months.
Peter Kump was having a party of sorts for me at his cooking school.  Kate Almand, my right hand, a country woman from Georgia, was cooking there while we were rushing around, and did biscuits and grits, among other things, I believe, from the books.  Julia Child came and towered over everyone there, physically as well with her inimitable personality.  She was so gracous about the book, and even mentioned it later in her round up of best books on Good Morning America.  Julia was always generous and kind to me and I was always awkwardly grateful. The party was the happiest in memory...I was in a glorious daze.
We went back to the hotel afterwords, the old Barbizon hotel for women, and changed, checking out of the hotel then, and the White Lily ffriend and I were to go to Elaine's where friends Stuart Woods, Barbara Nevins and Nick Taylor were eating and had invited us to join them.  Outside the Barbizon was a line up of people trying to get taxi's in a miserable rain.  We told the doorman we were going to Elaine's, and he said, "Well, those men are going there too, indicating some rather good looking men."  Somehow we all piled into the cab, including, of course, our lugguage and my huge publicity poster thing of New Southern Cooking. Squooshed into the back seat, coats smelling of wet wool, one of the men said, "you must feel like I did with my first platinum record."  I hadn't the foggiest idea who they were, but the White Lily lady, from Tennessee, did.  IT was the Gatlin Brothers of country music fame.  But I got it that they were no slouches.
When we arrived at Elaine's, the Gatlin brothers grabbed our suitcases and I clutched my poster board, and burst into Elaines with a gust of wind and rain.  Stuart Woods was a habitue and always sat on "the line", the tables against the wall reserved for regulars and he was as startled as Elaine at the bell boys carrying our bags.  The restaurant was compelled to turn and stare by the ruckus we made.  We made it to Stuart's table, Elaine fawned (if one can use that word about Elaine) over the Gatlin Brothers and got them a table as close to the front as possible. I went up a considerable notch in Elaine's eyes -- she never forgot it.  Sitting there, about to order, Elaine brought a bottle of champagne, which cost an arm and a leg there.  She informed me the Gatlin Brothers sent it. Ah, never did champagne taste so good, no osso bucco to follow.
Arnsenio HAll, Woody Allen, and goodness knows who was there that Saturday night.  We mixed and mingled, table hopped, drank, and, well, frankly, I felt I was Queen for a Day.   God Bless you Elaine, wherever you are.