Deeda with her late husband, William McCormick Blair Jr, as newlyweds in 1961. They sit beneath René Bouché’s portrait of Deeda.

Style icon and medical philanthropist Deeda Blair knows a thing or two about entertaining. Now she has literally written the book. In Deeda Blair: Food, Flowers & Fantasy (Rizzoli), she shares decades of knowledge, generously opening her little black book of sources, from where to find the best domestic caviar (Tennessee) to an unexpected spot for table linens (Manhattan’s garment district). The book features stunning photos of her life in pictures, including portraits by Cecil Beaton, Horst P. Horst and Andy Warhol. They’re accompanied by stories of both hosting and being a guest all over the world.

Central to the narrative are six fantasy meals that include menus, table settings, and floral arrangements inspired by the people and places that have informed the evolution of Blair’s own style and experience as a hostess. Among those are the many she’s visited, including the Pavlovsk Palace in Russia and Hubert de Givenchy’s chateau in the Loire Valley.

The menus echo Blair’s personal style: timeless and classic. Recipes are tied back to locations she’s traveled to or lived in. The luminous atmosphere of the Haga Pavilion in Sweden inspired a picnic-style meal: her spin on Ottolenghi’s harissa roast chicken and her grandmother’s aspic. The book is dedicated to both her late son, who suffered from bipolar disorder, and to her husband, and will donate its proceeds to the medical grants overseen by her initiative, Deeda Blair Research Initiative for Disorders of the Brain.

  • Deeda Blair: Food, Flowers & Fantasy (Rizzoli). Photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo.

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