Your RDA of Irony

In Style With Catherine de Medici

January 5th Obituaries

On this day in 1589, ten thousand French foodtasters were thrown out of work. Catherine de Medici died and the people no longer felt terrified of eating. Ironically, Catherine was credited with introducing haute cuisine to France. Of course, the ulterior purpose of delicious food is to disguise the taste of any surprise ingredients.

In his novels, Alexander Dumas has the Queen Mother finding the most remarkable ways to poison people. Jeanne de Navarre, the mother of the future Henri IV, shouldn’t have worn those gift gloves from Catherine. Henri of Navarre receives a book from his loving mother-in-law. Unfortunately, so the novel relates, King Charles IX sees the book and is the first (and last) to read it. Guess what the sticky substance on the pages was? At least, Charles wasn’t Catherine’s favorite son.

You’d have thought that Catherine would have applied her culinary skills to the St. Bartholomew’s Massacre. She probably couldn’t trust French waiters to get the orders right. “Was Admiral Coligny supposed to get the poisson or the poison?”

From my video archives, here is a visit with the 16th century’s inspiration for Martha Stewart:

Catherine: Why hello. Today I am planning the wedding of my daughter Margaret to Henry of Navarre. And nothing and no one will be spared. I may cut throats but never corners. Helping with the invitation list is my friend–and great gossip–Nostradamus.

Nostradamus: The Pope can’t come, so there is no point in sending him an invitation.

Catherine: With Nostradamus you don’t have to bother with RSVPs. Now designing the wedding dress is my son Henri.

Henri: It is so beautiful I wish I were wearing it. Perhaps when I am king….Knowing Margaret, though, no one will believe that she should be in white.

Nostradamus: When the groom says “I do”, most of the guys at court will think “So have I.”

Catherine: Changing the subject, we are having the wedding at Notre Dame Cathedral. Having a thousand people stand during a four hour ceremony might be a certain problem, but my friend–and paisano–Ben Cellini is here with the solution.

Cellini: Here is it: a solid gold chamber pot. Of course you will need at least five hundred for both necessity and mementos. It won’t be cheap.

Catherine: We can economize on the catering. You see, we are planning to massacre the Protestant guests. Believe me, it will be difficult enough getting Margaret to write any thank-you notes for the gifts; so this will eliminate half of that chore. And a massacre is certainly a more original entertainment than the usual band; even the Protestants might find it preferable to doing “The Hokey-Pokey.”

  1. Patrick Williams says:

    As a recovering Cathoholic, I would prefer massacre to ‘The Chicken Dance’, ‘The Hokey Pokey’, and any sort of line dance.

  2. Mary Ann Jung says:

    With The Spider Queen as wedding planner they should call it Arsenic and Old Lace! Thanks for the reminder that maybe my wacko family could be worse…

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