From N.Y. Newsday…Barbara Davis gala

Friday, July 2, 2004

Liz Smith
Meals and a book fit for the King

‘Never eat more than you can lift,” said Miss Piggy.

HEY, I WANT TO GIVE a rave to the new Bill Clinton book. No, no, not that one – not the big one that is making history even as we speak. I haven’t read his memoir and apologia, or whatever, because I have only one life to live, and I am already reading a massive book about “The Reformation.” I should be through with this history of what divided the Christian church in about a year or so.

The Clinton book I’m touting is “The Clinton Presidential Center Cookbook” from Sedgewood Press. This is a collection of recipes from Bill’s friends, pals, former associates and people as variously named as Elizabeth Taylor and Mary Smith. (No, not me, although that is, indeed, one of my names.)

This culinary work is easy to hold and good to look at, and the recipes are simple. There’s the one for Hillary Rodham

Clinton’s famous chocolate chip cookies, which won her the Family Circle prize over a number of Republican ladies. The book will benefit the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Ark., and it is almost as much fun to read as the Elvis cookbooks. (There are five or six of those, and even Bill’s collection opens with an Elvis recipe for a peanut butter and banana sandwich.) Here’s a clue about the tone of the presidential cookbook: it boasts two recipes for “chocolate gravy” to be served over biscuits – one is from the beautiful Norris

Mailer, wife of Norman.

Madeleine Albright, James Carville, Al and Tipper Gore, Sophia Loren, Thurgood Marshall Jr., Mary Steenburgen and Barbra Streisand are a few of the famous who contributed. UAW VIP Bruce Lee gives us creamed corn au gratin. But I liked best the recipes from just plain folks with double names, like Mary Lynn, who tell us how to fry chicken with mayonnaise. Add to that, Molly’s skillet chocolate pie, Don’s corn dogs, Carolyn’s Texas sheet cake, Maw Maw’s prune cake, etc. The former president’s favorite chicken enchiladas are also included. Bill has a winner here at $24.95.

ELVIS FANS will enjoy Pamela Clarke Keogh’s “Elvis Presley: The Man, the Life, the Legend.” There are great pics of the young and beautiful Presley. Even the later jumpsuited Elvis is respected, image-wise. (No really “fat” shots.) Witty text from Keogh, who admires all of Presley’s gifts while admitting to his peculiarities. Reverent and tongue in cheek, this one’s a “keeper” … WHILE WE’RE in a bravo frame of mind, how great was Robert Osborne’s chatfest with Patricia Neal on Turner Classic Movies Monday night? What a woman. So funny, joyful and honest – really honest. Not the crafted candor of so many “stars.” Watch for this sit-down when it runs again … ELIZABETH TAYOR hasn’t called it quits totally. She let photographer Bruce Weber snap her for French Vogue. More surprising, she sat for an interview! And, she’s on the guest list for Barbara Davis’ annual Carousel Ball in October.

SPEAKING OF Davis’ Carousel fete, beauteous Halle Berry will get the “Brass Ring” Award from Oprah Winfrey. This is a night of nights in Hollywood.

And get this stellar lineup: Nicole Kidman, Barbra Streisand, Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Neil

Diamond, Téa Leoni, Bette Midler, Elton John, Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Marisa Tomei, Rebecca De Mornay, Harrison Ford, Sting, Nicolas Cage, Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams. That’s how it stands right this second.

Among the many exciting, valuable gifts to be auctioned to help fight juvenile diabetes will be a magnificent thoroughbred. Kidman says she does not mind in the least. I’m kidding! It’s actually a horse, but Nicole’s long legs have won her the show-biz race, that’s for sure.

EXPLAIN YOURSELF: The other day I referred to Judith Exner, late of JFK fame, as a Catholic. Judith was a devout and troubled believer who never failed to emphasize her pain in being denied the sacraments. I was trying to describe her as she often described

herself to me. No slur against Catholicism was intended. We have all fallen short of glory.

ENDQUOTE: “Morning came on Christopher Street … it was a riot, no doubt about it. There was a certain beauty to the aftermath. It was a very extraordinary kind of beauty, something to make art out of later.” That is a remark from a participant in the Stonewall riot of June 27, 1969, quoted in David Carter’s remarkable new book “Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution.”

Now that the annual Gay Pride March – spawned from that astonishing night – has come and gone, I hope at least some of the gaudy participants will sit down with this enlightening history. In the summer of ’69, even in “sophisticated” New York, you could be arrested, jailed, fined, beaten and worse for simply dancing with a member of the same sex in a cruddy bar owned by the mob.

The courage of those men and women who wouldn’t go peacefully into the paddy wagons should not be forgotten. And, no offense to the legend, but – as author Carter makes clear – fans’ mourning of Judy Garland had nothing to do with it.

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