The way the story goes, back in [WORD ILLEGIBLE] she was in the family room [WORD ILLEGIBLE] was in the breakfast room the news came over television [WORD ILLEGIBLE] was divorcing her.

When Betty Talmadge walked into breakfast room to ask Sen. [WORD ILLEGIBLE] Talmadge if it was true, he is [WORD ILLEGIBLE] to have replied quite [WORD ILLEGIBLE] that it was. When would he be [WORD ILLEGIBLE] she inquired. He wouldn't be [WORD ILLEGIBLE] replied. And it remained that way [WORD ILLEGIBLE] stand off - for awhile. The judge [WORD ILLEGIBLE] that both could live in the pre-Civil War white-pillared mansion in Lovejoy Ga., although only the senator could live in their Washington condominium.

Now a somewhat messy and drawnout year of lawsuits and countersuits later each of the Talmadges has been awarded a final divorce decree after 35 years of marriage. Not yet decided and awaiting a jury trial to do so is what happens to their property (her lawyers say the senator is worth $1.7 million his lawyers say she is worth $1.2 million).

For that reason, perhaps, Betty Talmadge's Washington reunion yesterday with other U.S. Senate wives at a Georgetown luncheon in her honor shed little new light on the breakup. Rather she joked that elsewhere she tells people that in Washington's "intellectual circles," at least, she is known as "the pig intellectual."

As it turned out, it had nothing to do with male chauvinists, though she has known a few of those, too, but with a cookbook, titled "How to Cook a Pig." She co-authored it with Jean Robitscher, who was at the luncheon, and Carolyn Carter. Jimmy Carter's cousin by marriage, who wasn't.

"I'd done everything in the world to a pig except cook a whole one," said Talmadge of the title which had been suggested by Robitscher's husband. And indeed she had, building up a country-ham business into a multi-million-dollar family asset by the time it was sold in 1969.

In the book there is a chapter called "After the Dishes Are Done - What Then?" which Talmadge insists was begun two or three years before her own real-life dishes were done.

"I didn't know how appropriate it would be." It sums up a message to women, 85 per cent of whom, she says, "are going to have to go to work at some point in their lives."

"Don't worry about self-confidence. The best way to get that is to get on with what you want to do," she counsels in the book, and then in person, she volunteers that she sought psychilatric help for 13 years "off and on." "What he did for me was help get my emotions out of my decisions."

What Talmadge called "a roomful of biased friends" - Marvella Bayh, Joy Baker. Ellen Proxmire, Gretchen Byrd. B. J. Bentsen, Loraine Percy, Martha Hansen, Peggy Stanton, Nancy Jordan, among others - dined on "Georgia buck" (eggs Benedict) at tables centered with pig cookie jars.

"We know how to cook a pig - or for one," said hostess Hatfield, without mentioning any names.