Watch your Peas and Queues with Katerina la Vermintz
My dears. It has been a while. Today I have delved into three new tomes for your edification (and perhaps for mine also, we shall see we shall see): Hungry Girl – Recipes and Strategies for Eating in the Real World by Lisa Lillien; The Essential Best Foods Cookbook – 225 Irresistible Recipes Featuring the Healthiest and Most Delicious Foods by Dana Jacobi; and The Food You Crave – Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life by Ellie Krieger. In other words, I have studied books in the category of “How Not to Be a Fattie”.
Now it must be revealed to you, dear reader – that too much reading can cause intestinal distress (by which I mean to infer though I would never say it aloud! hunger). It was my delightful duty to read these books and report in these pages their contents but it is true that afterwards I needed a chocolate chip cookie. A big one, too.
I rather like chocolate chips. Maybe more than peas.
Can you imagine what would have happened at a formal dinner with Talleyrand if our peas had been chocolate chips (they had not been invented at the time, sadly) and it fell off your fork down the front of your dress?
My dears. I will let your thoughts dwell on this atrocity.
My petite soeur timidly asked of me when I espoused the idea: “Good for the waistline; bad for fabrics?”
Mais non! Non non non! My dear! We cared nothing about the fabrics! Why indeed we used to use the hem that draped from the end of our sleeves as what you now call “napkins”! So really useful, you know – for they were always falling into the soup anyway! (And really – that’s what ladies maids are for, to constantly tend to our clothes hair and corsets. One has to keep these people employed somehow.)
The Notorious Scandal I spoke of above would have been so different with a chocolate chip! Let us place a chocolate chip where once the pea stood, and muse upon it together.
Dinner one night. A fine turn-out. Chocolate chips for dinner -so fashionable. Forks at the table, and we did have to use them for the chocolate chips to prove just how hoity-toity we were! Our reputations were made and ruined on these things.
The evening had started badly anyway. Grievous social errors were made. We were short a man (why we needed him, I don’t know but we were short him anyway) and the seating was made impossible. I was seated *immediately* next to that little slut Marie Antoinette and you know how she is – always looking for trouble.
The manservant passed the chocolate chips and served them to our plates. We giggled pleasantly with a lilting tune and reached for our forks. (Dreadful things, two-tined forks.) As we raised the first bite of ever-so-gently balanced chocolate chips to our pouting lips, Marie stuck out her elbow and purposely hit my arm. Dreadful! The chocolate chips went everywhere, including one little round hot one that spilled directly into my finely-powdered decolletage!!!!
For one split second that seemed like eternity there was utter silence at the table.
Then with a fine whoosh of his own gold-encrusted fabrics dear old Tally-Ho (I speak now of Talleyrand you understand – this is my pet name for the dear old fellow) jumped up and ran to my side and stuck his own fork directly down the front of my dress in a courageous attempt to retrieve the recalcitrant chocolate chip.
Oh! How it tickled! In my effort to not let out a raucous bray of pleasure, in attempting to keep my laughter to a lady-like little titter, I choked and my head went forward with a jerking motion. It hit Tally’s wig and fell down into a dreadful mass of sticking plaster and iron pins (this is how we needed to keep it set in such fashion).
Tally gave up on the notion of using his fork and just stuck his entire fat hand right down the front of my dress. He did retrieve the chocolate chip. It was not worth eating.
That, is why I hold no great respect for forks. Give me a good silver spoon any day.
Ahhhh. Memories. So sweet.
Back to the books we must go! I browsed these books to the point where afterwards upon reading the line “Recent House Polls” in the newspaper it appeared to me as “Parker House Rolls”.
Hungry Girl is enjoyable if you like little twinkling lavender-colored stars stamped all over the page in the most delightfully perky way aiding in directing the eye to the recipes which include many things with no or low fat that are mass produced in little packages screaming in fear of – – – (shhhh say it softly) – – – fat.
It would not be amiss to draw on the pages of this book in colored pens the name of your future husband and you linked: your first name, his last . . . in the old girlish tradition once well admired now sometimes done in secret and not willingly admitted . . . all in little hearts, with flowers drawn here and there.
In short, the book actually frightens me a bit. But if I were a happy-go-lucky teenager who didn’t know how to cook, it would be FAB!
The Essential Best Foods Cookbook (with the other multiple words attached to the title) by Dana Jacobi was the best of the lot, and not just because the title seemed slightly Victorian to my mind. Excellent recipes, some new combinations that are not seen everywhere else, with intelligent and thoughtful advice on eating things that are good for you, given by the author.
Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave is bright and colorful, encouraging and happy. The recipes are simpler than in the Jacobi book and more mainstream, running the tide of popular foods “most asked for” perhaps.
I’m torn about this book – though it is useful and durable in what it offers. It may come down simply to a matter of personal taste.
My dears. Doesn’t it always.
For further reading:
Healthy Living with Ellie Krieger
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