Nicholas Roosevelt, a cousin of the great Teddy, was a cello-playing diplomat and Herald Tribune editorial writer who retired to Big Sur and a house suspended so dramatically above the Pacific you saw from certain windows only a great expanse of blue, and had the feeling you were flying at 20,000 feet at least in a 7-something-7.
Only the food was marvelous, because Nick adored to cook and, in fact, wrote a couple of cookbooks, sensible, witty, even feisty little tomes. I didn’t agree with every one of this gentle aristocrat’s recipes, but I know that his raspberry ice cream — we call it Glace Partington because Nick’s house was on the Partington ridge, near Henry Miller’s — has been a favorite in our house for many years. Its flavor is delightfully intense, with a “long finish” calling up those tenacious chords at the opening of Jascha Horenstein’s recording of Haydn’s 104th.
I’m sorry Nick didn’t live to see the era of garlicked or pesto-ed mashed potatoes: writing in 1956, he observed with an urbane sigh that potatoes are prepared too often “in a spirit of resignation rather than of gustatory anticipation.” Reading on in Creative Cooking, faithful disciples can’t help pausing to drink in the palpable richesse of a Partington staple Nick writes about with something close to passion, a risotto finished with plenty of chicken livers and mushrooms cooked in butter. Add some chopped parsley and there you go . . .
Hello, I’ve just found in my copy of Creative Cooking a publicity picture of Nick surveying his ocean, bushy eyebrows at attention, binoculars at the ready. To the hilly Amalfan north old Highway 1, which must each winter pass through the needle’s-eye of terrible storms, looks like a narrow string of Christmas tinsel trying in its sinuous way to encircle a giant slope of green. Listen — you can hear the shooosh of the surf far below.
Take 1 box of frozen raspberries, put the contents in a blender or food processor with a teaspoon of honey and blend until smooth. Now add slowly 1/2 pint of whipping cream and blend with continued smoothness your objective, then pour the mixture into a freezer tray or serving bowl and freeze. After an hour take the developing ice cream out and stir it, then return it to the freezer until it’s solid.