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The five minute faux foodie must remember but a few things in society: deportment; etiquette; and a few useful phrases. We will briefly offer suggestions that may help if you are one of the many who aspire to this mantle.

Deportment: At the start of each day you must train yourself to put food first in mind. All other thought must be pushed to the side for later thought. What you will wear is not important nor are any business meetings. The weather is important only in that your menu will be planned upon it in certain ways. Sex is not important. It can wait till you’ve had a foaming cup of cappuccino and some chocolate. This should take you one minute each day to push other thoughts aside. Train well. As with all things, the training will prove well worth it!

Etiquette: Foodies come in various groups. You will find those who fill their time with foams and exquisite artistry at great expense. Others like to cook for themselves. Some groups focus solely on fast food or on pizza in foodie ways. Do not shudder in pain or disdain when you meet a foodie from a group other than yours. Remember, you are all foodies no matter how it is expressed! It may take one solid minute to learn to hide the sense of alienation you have upon meeting a foodie from a different group. One minute per day. It must be done.

Useful phrases: These change each year and must be learned. ‘Sustainable’ is your primary concern this year. Other words important to bandy about: ‘local’; ‘organic’; ‘grass-fed’; ‘sel de fleur’; ‘sourcing’; ‘porky bits’; and of course ‘exquisite’ is always useful. Learn your terms. One minute per day. Non non non! It is of course ‘fleur de sel’. Forgive me, my mind wandered – something about chocolate was at the edges, eating up all other thought!

Organic? Or not: The philosophy of being a foodie is one to come to terms with or you will be unable to carry yourself with the proper rigor. Each foodie must decide for themselves whether ‘foodie’ is a natural thing to be – something quite fine and natural that organically grew from the soil of the fertile cooks and diners before us or whether the ‘foodie’ is something created as a improved human being by, of course, the improved human beings who created it as a concept and way of being. This will take one more minute each day of study and thought.

If You Must Cook: If you must cook as a five minute faux foodie, remember to keep it simple. If you can buy the best and just put an expensive knife to it then lay it out nicely on a plate, that is the best idea. The financially-challenged foodie will have to find other means that take no time. Go to grains. Lentils, green French lentils, are always a good idea. Make sure you leave the container within sight for your guests when they walk by the kitchen. One minute for menu planning, if you must cook.

Dear readers, I do hope that those who aspire to the five minute faux foodie life will take heart from these modest injunctions and will jump in the pond with all the other foodies! You are worth it, even if you only have five minutes a day and are faux! Do not give up this chance, for after all – what else is there to do?

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It has been brought to my attention that in certain circles the social attainment called being a ‘foodie’ is being discussed. This comes as no surprise to me for it is a most fascinating conundrum. I myself had left off discussing the term after one well-placed blogger wrote that the term did not need to be talked about anymore. It was not that I believed her, but rather that her decisive injunction had been picked up by the Press and reported as if it was important. Oh! I do admire the machinations of those who hire PR people!

But I am encouraged that I may speak just slightly of the Foodie. After all, in recent memory I have read a most brilliant discussion of whether a foodie can rightly be called a ‘fan’ of food on the ASFS boards by the luminaries there, and just today the estimable Rachel Laudan mentioned foodies in a post on her blog.

My area of expertise is etiquette, of course. If you have had a pea dropped down your frontspiece by men such as Le Rochefoucauld and his merry set etiquette is a requirement. I only most devotedly wish to assist the weary reader in these areas. Therefore I propose now a small and I hope delightful series of notes on how to become a five minute faux foodie. Most of you do not need more. Nor do you have the time for more what with Twittering and cellphones and trying to define and sell your brand whilst inbetween quoting the finer self-help quacks in the business today.

The hour is late. The cat waits for her food and dusk is falling. I shall have to continue tomorrow in these instructions. But do, please, have hope. We all can be five minute faux foodies and may enjoy the admiration of the masses. Instructions will follow.

Oh! Do forgive my terrible lack of comment for I do wish to say Happy Bastille Day to All!

A tout l’heure!

My devotions,

Katerina la Vermintz

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The Saveur 100 is a quite marvelous list of Things Foodie. If you think it impossible to try all one hundred in a year for reasons of time or money you might be right.

But more important, in choosing which ones you really should try – is your horoscope sign. The food you choose must fit you or quelle horreur! I know from my own experience that chipmunk is not made for cats of my sign. Let’s not go into details.

The fact is, if you do not listen to the stars, the same thing may happen to you! The foods you dine upon need balance your system, and the constellations tell us how to do that. Or, rather, they tell me!

It is approaching dusk now, and I do not have much time to dictate this report.

Aries: With your dominant keyword of “I Am” co-residing with the element of fire, ‘Everyday Heroes‘ by James Villas (#26 Saveur 100) will cool your flames and salve your need for a show-off dish that also warms the tummy. The recipe for Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Raclette, Herbs and Prosciutto is a masterpiece that can be quickly prepared so that you needn’t waste much of your precious time, yet you will be looked upon by others as a superhero-style cook.

Taurus: You are represented by the words “I Have”, Taurus – and the earth is your element. Mix it up a little bit with this ‘Foundations of Flavor‘ entry by Clifford Wright – a well-respected author. Harissa (#35 Saveur 100) will get you popping and sprightly, which is always an excellent thing for a Taurean to aspire to, particularly in the middle of winter when the warm quilt on the couch may be beckoning so very much.

Gemini: “I Think” is who you are, Gemini. At least we think that is who you are. Your element is air, of course. Anyone can see that. To your airy nature it will be important to add oil, from ‘Pantry Essentials’. Tourangelle Roasted Pistachio Oil (Saveur # 15) will have you sliding merrily through life as you drizzle it upon hot boiled baby potatoes (so cute!). This oil has an ‘intensely nutty flavor’. Well, so do you, dear Gemini – and a delightfully nutty flavor indeed!

Cancer: Cancer, your keyword is “I Feel”. Funny for a crab, but nonetheless there it is. As a water sign you will need an anchor to set your sights upon this year in what you eat. ‘One-Dish Feasts‘ offers this in the Soulful Supper (Saveur #84). Perloo is the name of the dish. It is a close relative to jambalaya. Please don’t worry about the shrimp in the recipe. They did not feel a thing. Neither did the kielbasas or the little grains of rice. A sturdy dish for a superficially sturdy zodiac sign who nonetheless prefers even a bit more sturdiness, often.

Leo: Lionhearted Leo, my cousin. Purrrrrr. Fire is your element. Your keyword is “I Will”. Your sensual nature will be well-fed by ‘Poet of the Everyday‘ John Thorne (Saveur 100 #24). After checking your mane hair one last time in the mirror, do run out and buy a copy of any of his books. Your lion-heart will be filled with just the sort of things you like: ideas, words, and to-do lists from the ideas you find.

Virgo:I Analyze”. Yes indeedy you do, Virgo. Mew mew. Yet as an earth sign you also are quite serious about proceeding with giving form to what you analyze and decide upon. Would you like to make your own ketchup, dear Virgo? It could be the most perfect of ketchups. You could make it exactly and precisely the way you, and only you, expect ketchup to be. ‘Do It Yourself’ Homemade Ketchup (Saveur 100 #37) is a good place to start. Undoubtedly it will not be quite right, the recipe. But after all, that is what you are here for – to correct it! Purrrrrrr.

Libra: Air sign Libra, your words are “I Balance”. Goddess knows you try to. It’s quite possible that you may need to go shopping in order to do so. ‘American Bounty’ (along with me, bien sur meow meow) will tell you exactly where to go: ‘Pomegranate’ (Saveur 100 #79) in Brooklyn. They have every. single. thing. you would ever. want to eat. And besides, it’s in Brooklyn and we all know that all Librans simply adore Brooklyn.

Scorpio: Water sign Scorpio who says “I Desire”.  There is something within the Scorpio spirit that calls for Sofrito (Saveur 100 #62) by Oswald Rivera. A ‘Foundation of Flavor’, it is serious enough for you to take it seriously yet it will lighten your sometimes world-weary sense that nothing is as it really should be.

Capricorn: “I Use” is Capricorn. Bound to the earth, there must be something found to serve the purpose and serve it in the correct manner. Yet the wind calls the Capricorn out to the wild. ‘Great Home Cooks’ may answer the call with ‘Swedish Venison Burgers’ (Saveur 100 #28). It is worth gnawing upon.

Aquarius: As an air sign whose keyword is “I Know”, there is not much that gets by you, dear Aquarius! You will gather friends and enemies alike around the table while making complete and full annotation of any juicy bits of gossip that feed your curiosity. To do this in an exemplary manner, you will need a ‘One-Dish Feasts’ entry. ‘Lasagne’ – Golden Standard Vegetarian Lasagne even! fits your needs to a T. (Saveur 100 # 36). It will make everyone, including you, very happy.

Pisces: “I Believe” is your keyword, water your element. One might think that sweet as you already are, Pisces, more sugar would not be needed. But I assure you, the stars are calling your name with this sugar. ‘Pantry Essentials’ has an ‘India Tree Sparkling Sugar’ (Saveur 100 #4). It comes in different colors (the one shown is turquoise!) and it is even crackly. Which you should like a whole lot. Purrrrrrr. Rrrrp?

Twilight is here. I must go. Remember, let the stars lead you to your destiny. Whatever it is. Whatever it may ask you to put in your mouth.

I am a cat. I know these things.

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I am Moira’s mother. Prrrrrp. She is right. You must listen to the stars.

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If I can’t have too many truffles, I’ll do without truffles.

Penny-pinching has infiltrated every part of life if one takes as generic starting-point that of Colette and her crowd.

Over-truffled turkeys are Out. A hint of truffle oil, disparagingly dabbed here and there accompanied by a bit of heavy breathing, is In.

Trips to the Continent for months on end, scraping and bowing while dining with le Compte and his bevy of mistresses, are Out. Dining at home and worrying over how to stretch the untruffled turkey bones into a decent stock for gravy, are In.

But we’ll always have Paris.

After all, there is Le Monde online, and there is le blog attached to it.

It’s the In thing to do. Just imagine all the energy use in the food system you’ve saved!

Enfin. Clickey here for Clin d’oeil gourmand. You will be transported, tout de suite! a Paris.

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TimesOnline has posted a food quiz quite ornamental to ascertain whether your foodie knowledge is all shining and bright.

The Christmas Food Quiz includes some good questions:

5. Who invented the notion of a frothing soup in the manner of a cappuccino?

a Alain Chapel

b Gordon Ramsay

c Ferran Adria
6. Which chef created a Xmas menu last year where dishes included Babe in a Manger and Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh?

7. Which chef quipped “the discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star”

a Apicus

b Brillat Savarin

c Carĕme
8. What game was originally played with champagne corks rather than balls?

a Table tennis

b Squash

c Billiards

It’s worth taking a gander at (to see if they can roast your goose or not).

Cheers!

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Holiday gift-giving. Three little words.

How often two little words of response come to mind!

It’s funny how gifts (meant to be things of grace) can become more like things of measurement.

And when measuring begins, in comes arithmetic.

Arithmetic:

‘Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,’ the Mock Turtle replied, ‘and the different branches of Arithmetic – Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.’

Nevertheless, like lemmings, we must persevere. The path must be followed! ~ the race is on and hopefully it will not lead over the cliff.

Here are some ideas for things to put in boxes under the tree. They just may bring delight. It’s even possible they might end up being the lucky gifts not destined for the Dreaded Closet of the To Be Re-Gifted.

Mathematically, from the most expensive to the least:

1. A pair of MBT shoes. Happy feet make happy cooks. There is no shoe on earth that makes happier feet. Granted, one has to plan one’s other clothes around these shoes rather than trying to fit them in with most any usual outfit one would want to wear or risk looking like Yertle the Turtle, but it is worth it. The shoe for kitchen people, without question.

2. A huge electric griddle with warmer pots attached along the sides to melt fondue-y things. There is one on Amazon which is designed for eight people. Just imagine the elbow-bumping, cheese drips, sibling bickering, and friendly angling for the best spot on the griddle for one’s personal skewer this electronic marvel could inspire!

3. A stacked insulated bento thingie to bring lunch into work. Fashion-forward foodie, YEAH! Plus very practical and wonderful.

4. The Nanny Ogg cookbook. I’m sure I don’t have to explain this.

5. A collection of various misos, wrapped in a basket. Smart and useful, inspiration-oriented.

6. Pismaniye (Floss Halvah). Heaven.

7. Edible Gold Leaf. Nice stocking stuffer.

Seven ideas.

If none of them work, the only other thing I can think of is to put together a Sauerbraten Kit.

I bet they wouldn’t dare re-gift that.

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Moira Tuscanaro

Moira Tuscanaro

Catty Corner with Moira Tuscanaro

As a cat, I must say I admire Gwyneth Paltrow. She is cool, elegant, sleek, and can even smile like one of us – which we cats like to see. And she can act, which is so very much like us too!

Today I learned there is more to Gwyneth than just these things to admire. People Magazine bellowed out the headline below with a

thorough article to follow

Gwyneth Paltrow Just Says ‘No’ to Personal Chefs

I have nothing against personal chefs, myself. I’ve even known a few! They have been kindly sort of people, always carrying food about here and there. But to “Just Say No to Personal Chefs” is a lifestyle choice ( of course we cats do not have lifestyles we merely have lives and nine of them to boot) and lifestyle choices must! be respected.

Then I happened across even more current news about Gwyneth!

News about her life (and lifestyle!) is everywhere – and honestly, I can see why. The New York Times reports that not only does Gwyneth now have a job talking about food while driving all over Spain. . . . but that she even got to be on the Oprah show to let everyone know about this fun activity!!!

Ms. Paltrow, the 35-year-old star of films like “Shakespeare in Love,” was admitted to the group, and the show, “Spain … on the Road Again,” is already a game-changer for public television in terms of attention. Even Ken Burns, PBS’s biggest star, didn’t get a segment on “Oprah” for his epic World War II documentary series last year; Ms. Paltrow and Mr. Batali, however, nabbed an entire hour of exercise talk and Spanish cooking on Wednesday.

All this may not be understandable to some of you women reading.

You may be asking “How does she do all the cooking for the family as she tells us in the first story (and all without a personal chef!) yet also travel around the world at the exact same time doing television shows and talk show performances?”

You may even be saying to yourself “Why is it that I struggle with finding the time to even do the grocery shopping and make the family meal each day when I am not even traipsing across Europe with a couple of old bald guys getting paid good money to be filmed while we talk, laugh together, and eat things???

You may be wondering how this all can be.

As a cat, I do not wonder.

I know how to be in two places at the same time. My mistress will vouch for me on this one. I can be laying my decorative fur all over her clothes while at the same exact time, not be found anywhere at all, if she is looking for me. It is a talent.

And I am even willing, as Gwyneth is, to travel across Europe being the singularly attractive one wherever I go. As we cats so often are.

For I am a Cat and this is our way of things.

Gwyneth apparently has discovered our way of things. I admire that.

But really though I am not sure whether to purr to meow.

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