Saturday, 3 July 2010



I’ve just found a new heroin. I saw this amazing birthday photograph of a hundred year old woman wearing a cool turban and chunky jewelry and just had to find out who she is. A quick google disclosed that it's a photograph of Lesley Blanch, who sadly is no longer with us. She departed this mortal coil in the South of France, just short of her 103rd birthday in 2007.

Described as a scholarly romantic, she studied painting at the Slade in London, edited Vogue, illustrated novels, wrote and travelled. But you can read all the academic information at Wikipedia, her biography on her website tells you all the interesting things about her exotic life. I'm just going to share a few little snippets beginning with her father reading poems as a child about far away Arabia and Kashmir and her mother reading the Koran in bed at breakfast time. Oh and an intriguing visitor who would breeze into her nursery, swathed in furs, bearing gifts. He had a resemblance to Nureyev and intrigued her with romantic tales of Russia. These things fuelled her passion for travel to exotic places like Russia, Kashmir and the Middle East.

I just love the sound of an article she wrote for Harper's Bazaar entitled ‘Anti-beige, A plea for the Scarlet Woman.' And can't wait to read 'Round the World in 80 Dishes, The World Through the Kitchen Window' which is apparently 'seductive and piquant like its author' and 'From Wilder Shores, The Tables of My Travels' which is a mixture of travel and cookery book describing some memorable meals that she experienced, ranging from those eaten at Rothschild's dinner tables to others in Turkoman tents. I've just managed to order an old copy online from a green bookstore, Abe Books in London for £3.14 including postage! I'm really excited and can't wait to cook my way through it, or at least try.

What a cool lady. I think she may have surpassed Louis Bourgeois as a role model.....but I don't think anyone can replace Meryl....

2 comments:

  1. Just found this post. I, too, love Blanch. Thought you might like to see a couple of posts from my blogs.

    http://lucindaville.blogspot.com/2009/09/lesley-blanch.html

    http://cookbookoftheday.blogspot.com/search?q=lesley+blanch

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  2. Thanks for your comment Lucindaville, sorry I've only just found it. Lesley Blanch sounded like such a fun person with an amazing life.

    I got an email from Abe books after I placed the order saying they'd made a mistake and didn't have it in stock...but I've recently re-ordered and it's just arrived. I can't wait to try out some of the recipes.

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