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A pair of Nancys inspire kin to produce a lovely book

Entertaining in Style: Nancy Astor and Nancy Lancaster

By Jane Churchill and Emily Astor

Hardbound pp. 160


(Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., New York, 2022)

In short, this book follows two Nancys: Nancy Astor and Nancy Lancaster; they were both Americans who moved from Virginia to England, where they decorated manor houses in innovative ways and entertained in a style that inspired what we might call the “Downton Abbey” set. Jane Churchill and Emily Astor descend from the Nancys. Nancy Astor, Winston Churchill’s famous foil (remember the poison quip), was the first woman elected to Parliament; her niece, Nancy Lancaster, was a celebrated interior designer.

They both grew up in Mirador, their elegant childhood home in Albemarle County, Virginia. Upon discovery of Nancy Astor’s copy of The Mirador Cookbook, the co-authors had a burst of inspiration for a collaborative book, filled with period and modern photographs of cooking photos from recipes and the places where the two Nancys entertained.

If you are keen to put on a hunt breakfast, look no further than “Scrambled Eggs in Smoked Salmon Rolls” as an option. They offer a version of venison stew that looks rich and enticing; their “Fried Quail with Onions” includes a bit of brandy, so that may be a new take for game cooks. Dessert options are plentiful, and you will find out how to tell your guests they are dining upon “Lady Cranborne’s Chocolate Mousse.” Indeed, rather. Many of the cocktail options are not likely to fly in old Charleston, as most locals stick to the standards, but you may risk the wrath of sensitive sorts by serving up “The Maiden’s Undoing” — but explain that Dorothy Parker would suggest one or two at the most.

For those seeking tasty delights for their guests, this book will more than satisfy; however, though this volume is not filled with deep history about the people and places, it does give more than a whisper about the two Nancys and their personal lives and interactions with those we might call “fancy people.” If you are seeking detail about old houses and British history, this is not for you, but it will satisfy the cravings of those who enjoy entertaining in a certain style. Persons who follow Country Life will be more than quite at home in these colorful pages.


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