Posts Tagged ‘Katerina la Vermintz’


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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Greetings to all! It has come to my attention that my esteemed colleagues, Catty Moira and Barry the Dog, believe they are the meow and woof of cookery philosophers, and that is why I am appearing here today. I am busy, busy, busy! and it has been most difficult since I am still stuck permanently in this yogic position but the truth of things should be known so I have found a scanty bit of moment to spare to allow for the dissemination of philosophic correctness.

First, my particulars. I have lived forever. And a day. There is more knowledge about the manners of the table in any one speck of my soul than in any of Brillat-Savarin’s (I call him Brillie) interminable sentences.

I have dined with the best of the ages. And a Philosophy has been formed. It is this: Beware of cookery. It can be dangerous. Fraught with difficulties no lady should ever have to face. Particularly if they are stuck in a yogic position. If the lady is stuck in a yogic position the best thing to do is to eat raw foods and allow your live-in boyfriend and children to fend for themselves.

You will not initially want to believe this, I do know that, ma petite. Talley-Ho (Talleyrand, to you) often told me that a picture is worth a thousand words when he wanted to show me his etchings, and after having seen his etchings, I’ve become quite taken with the idea! Allow me to show you a few pictures of the most easily found dangers in cookery. Then, Dear Reader – you will Decide For Yourself.


Mais oui! Le shock electrique! You will be fried! And if you think this can only happen in the new industrial kitchens I have news for you! Regardez ici!!!!


In summary, I will say to you: Learn these words – ‘Take-Out’. You will be doing your business community a service while saving your own skin.

A tout l’heure! Till the next time destiny twines our paths.

Katerina la Vermintz


Dangerous Illustrations provided by brepettis – from Thirty Ways to Shock Yourself on flickr

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by Katerina la Vermintz

I happened to chance upon my dear friend Captain Country the other day. Many people may be acquainted with Cappy from the famous recipe he claims to have invented after being sent home from his posting in India: “Country Captain”. Dear Cappy was never much one for fact versus fiction, but these days one can find the cause of that in the fact that he lives in the Tyson’s Corner Mall.

I am nonplussed by the fact he should choose to live there, but he claims that it is pleasant . . . and that in addition it is a very comforting place of abode as one only has to look at the throngs of crowds filling the place endlessly just like so many faux designer lemmings – to be sure that the economy is doing quite well and fine, merci bien!

It can be difficult to talk to Cappy these last years – and difficile to savez whether that is due to his time in the infantry – or whether the cause is the primal therapy he undertook some time back. He is prone to letting out a wild shriek now and then which can be quite distressing. Nevertheless, he is a good old fellow and one must keep up with old acquaintances.

He took me to dine at a place he called a Mongolian Barbecue. It called itself a Mongolian Grill on its neon sign. I was shocked to find nothing recognizable about it from my days spent in Mongolia when I was a yak-butter-maid.

The most fascinating thing about the place were the little plastic wood bowls with which the customers parry with each other – each one trying to pile noodles in the bowl to the highest level without spilling over. The clear winner during my visit was a man whose noodles balanced at least six inches in a tower much like the hairstyles Marie (Antoinette, bien sur, the little slut) and I wore some years ago! A fine game this noodle thing was indeed! It fit the frenzied mood of the mall so fulsomely!

But here are some differences. Rely upon the information generated by the world-wide-web I must, for I will not deign to type out information from these heavy books that give sources. You must believe or not, at your own risk.

This is an authentic Mongolian Barbecue. Note: No noodles, no griddle thingie, no plastic wood bowls.

I must say that all in all it was jolly fun to see Cappy again though, and whatever this “Mongolian Grill” thing is, it was rather good.

If you have children, beware of taking them to have this Mongolian Grill thing. They will like it and want more and more. Then you will need make it at home and my dears. The splatter on the stove. You may want to faint. You may want to call for your ladies maid. You may have forgotten, she is no more. No no no. No more.

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Katerina 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”.

My report:

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:
Dana Jacobi.com
Healthy Living with Ellie Krieger
Hungry Girl.com

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Books and Media by Katerina la Vermintz

Cooking Light Complete Cookbook- A Fresh New Way to Cook

This is a large book, a colorful book, newly released this April. To my surprise it is also a ring-bound book, just like the old Betty Crocker bibles – which gives it an initial air of practicality without pretension. Happily this lack of pretension does not lead to recipes for casseroles using canned cream soups or “ethnic” dishes reeking authenticity on a minus rather than a plus level.

There is something for everyone in this book, from pad thai to fettucine alfredo. And though these recipes are designed to be “light”, they work as real recipes for real food without the strange lurking oddness that some “diet” recipes may have.

The fact that the book is ring-bound is actually a plus, in the kitchen. No need to try to keep the gorgeous book with glorious photos open on the counter somehow stacking cans and coffeepots and forks on it to keep one’s place. Just click click and out comes the page which can sit nice and polite and flat on the counter for use by the cook.

Calorie and nutritional analysis is provided for all recipes so that menu planning within this category of thought is easy – even pleasant – considering the wide variety of choices in each section.

Whenever I peruse a cookbook I seek the section on peas. Why? Because eating fresh peas with forks in France was quite the social enterprise in the late 1700’s or so, and I so loved that time. The forks had two tines. Peas were the “new” thing. Forks were the new thing too. At least with peas. We wore our hair up on top of our heads like small pyramids and we wore our dresses very low cut. I was there.

Can you imagine what happens at a formal dinner with Talleyrand when your pea falls off your fork down the front of your dress? My dears. I will let your thoughts dwell on this atrocity.

In the Cooking Light Complete Cookbook there are six recipes for peas (and though not all the peas are green they all are good). As one of my many mother-in-laws used to say “That’s enough for any pig.”

A bonus offered with this volume is the “Dinner Tonight” cookbook on CD-Rom, tucked nicely into the front cover.

Allow me to resume my yoga now. And to all of you . . . may you


Using the Cooking Light Complete Cookbook just might help.

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KaterinaKaterina la Vermintz is uniquely qualified to comment on books and media for foodvox as she has been around since the beginning of time. In her role as an aristocrat in past ages, Katerina supped, socialized, read, and stuck her nose into everybody’s business (and has endless tales and silly gossip to prove it!). Like Moira, Katerina is a yoga devotee but the form she practices does not ever allow her to show her tummy.

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