NEW YORK - I hosted a breakfast and tour of the Brooke Astor Estate exhibition for the Women’s Forum this week. The Women’s Forum is a wonderful organization of 450 women leaders from all sectors – finance to fine arts - whose mission is to advance women’s leadership, particularly through an Education Fundand through a Board initiative, which helps expand corporate and civic Board participation for women leaders.

Property from the Estate of Brooke Astor.

In planning for the event, I asked Meryl Gordon, one of Brooke’s biographers, what she ate for breakfast. Her reply: “Brooke Astor's Maine housekeeper, Alicia Johnson, told me for the book that she used to eat fresh fruit, eggs and sometimes Cheerios for breakfast.”

Well, we didn’t have any Cheerios, but Liz Neumark, a fellow Board member and CEO of the catering company Great Performances, who also happens to run Sotheby’s café, created a wonderful breakfast for us. Artfully set on two tables in front of the mural scale photography of her Westchester estate, Holly Hill, and surrounded by all of Brooke’s marvelous objets d’art, we felt like we could have been her guests. “Astor Court” fruit skewers, “Briarcliff” pastries, scones with clotted cream and preserves, and French macarons in vivid colors were devoured prior to our tour by Sotheby’s furniture specialist, Alistair Clarke.

 


And speaking of macarons, wouldn’t Mrs. Astor have loved Laduree on Madison Avenue? I bought all my summer hostess gifts there – from cookies, to teas (I love Marie-Antoinette, flavored with rose petals, citrus, and honey), jellies and honeys, sops, and my personal favorite, a jar of salted caramel butter spread. The gift wrapping alone makes me swoon.