Running Free

Running Free

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kibble Loaf

I admit it. I am not the world’s greatest cook. Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, Julia Child (rest her Butter lovin’ soul) have absolutely nothing to worry about from me in terms of competition. But, if they knew they would probably shudder and refer me to the Food and Drug Administration for family endangerment – if they knew.

But they don’t. In any case, it all is nonsense really. I am not a good cook. My family knows that. My friends know that. Practically every friend I ever had knew that. Past tense being the operative word here.

Once these former friends tasted the (ahem) comestibles from my kitchen, well, those of you wise and vintage enough to recall the song from the Sugarhill Gang from the early ‘80s just might remember the following lines:

have you ever went over a friend’s house to eat and the food just aint no good
the macaroni’s soggy, the peas are mushed
and the chicken tastes like wood….

The above lyrics, from the 1979 hit called “Rapper’s Delight” pretty much summarize how most folks feel about my cooking. And I am right there with them. I wouldn’t eat my cooking either- if only I were rich enough to afford a live-in cook.

I give me credit for trying- again the operative word – trying. Take for example the other evening- a typical dinner in the household of DH and his mini me- also known as DS – (Dear Son for those of you just tuning into this riveting blog). I served up a dinner of vegetables- asparagus I believe, salad and meatloaf.

I got a bit creative this time since I can never remember exactly what the recipe calls for anyway. So I added a dab of this and a smidge of that and served it up piping hot to my ravenous boys. So follow along if you will and picture the following.

The scene:

[The kitchen table, low light, father, son and mother sitting down about to eat. Son says evening blessing, “Thank you for our food. Amen.” Short, sweet and to the point you might say.]

Son: Mom, did you do something different to the meatloaf? It tastes a little well, strange.

Mom: No, not really.

Dad: Seriously honey, what did you add to it? It does have a different flavor. (Here he tries to swallow a mouthful – it appears to be somewhat painful.)

Son: Mom, is there kibble in this meatloaf?

(DH tries to not choke on his asparagus as son spots out these words.)

Mom: No, there is no kibble in here.

Son: Mom, did you put some of Hercules’ cat food in here? It does have a certain texture to it tonight I mean…

(Son and Father are in hysterics by this point over the possibility that I have indeed put kitty kibble into the evening meatloaf.)

Mom: Well, I can see that this is another successful meal.

Dad: Now honey, don’t take it personally. We still love you.

Mom: Indeed, I did not see you nor hear you for that matter jumping to my defense which by default makes you as guilty as said son.

Dad: But I didn’t say a word.

Mom: Perhaps that is the problem. Perhaps you could have asked our son to be well, less well, more grateful anyway.

Son: Hey that’s it Mom, our evening grace will from now on be:

"Thank you for our food and may we not be served kibble again. Amen."

I think I will end this scene here, with 'moi' grinding the evening meal down the garbage incinerator.

[Son and Husband are still laughing as they stick two spoons into a half gallon of chocolate ice cream and head off to watch an episode of the Disney show, The Suite Life of Zac and Cody.]

Sweet life indeed....

copyright 2008-2009 all rights reserved.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kitty Litter

Six weeks ago I was a perfectly average domestic diva. For the record, I coined this phrase in 1998 the year my son was born and actually had taken out the domain names including, - and then my DH said that I didn’t need them- had I only kept them…but I digress.

As I mentioned, a mere month and a half ago I was just doing my best to juggle housework, meal preparation, family outings, swim practice for an eleven year-old and the usual collection of things that take up time. I was plenty busy with daily life. It was rather routine, but comfortable. No complaints really.

Did I mention that was six weeks ago? Let us refer to that period of time as BP for ‘before pet.’ Now here I am six weeks later with a four-legged creature of the feline variety that has taken up residence within our house. Let us call this period of existence the Now Pet (NP.) This now ten month-old kitty named Hercules Apollo for his Herculean strength, has inserted himself smack dab in the middle of our daily life.

As a matter of fact he is more than comfortable and has made himself right at home. So much so that as soon as he hears a pot or a dish he comes running into the kitchen to see if perhaps there is a sweet nibblet available for his enjoyment. I know he comes running because around his neck is a crystal collar with a bell that jingles as soon as he takes a step. I would not be good with a stealth kitty under foot. Would not be a good thing – for him or me- or the family now that I think about it.

When said kitty hears me in the kitchen he can almost be assured that he will indeed be given a bit of something more than his rather drab and boring bowl of round brown pellets – the recommended diet from the veterinarian. So, he will often get a piece of chopped up deli ham or turkey on a plate that was part of our wedding registry (I digress once more). Hyacinth from “Keeping up Appearances" would be proud of me I am sure.

Kitty has his own little placemat with color coordinated bowls for water and dry food and then there is the lovely small china plate that holds special treats. Among his favorite are tuna, turkey and ham. He also enjoys a teaspoon or two of vanilla yogurt, but will not turn up his nose at blueberry yogurt for that matter.

Speaking of turning up one’s nose, he has developed quite the skill and does indeed register his dislike when I proffer him with salmon. After a sniff and a lick he turns his kitty eyes - two sparkling orbs – and implores me to take it away. If he really is displeased with the offered vittles he meows.

Imagine - it isn’t enough that we took him in when he was cold and hungry, that we provide him food and shelter, but now he has the audacity to meow when he wants something different. Like a petulant child. Indeed I say.

As life with a pet continues, I find that I think of kitty when I receive an interesting piece of mail that might provide entertainment for him. His hours are more like those of a movie star and he usually naps until well after noon unless I prod him awake for a bit of exercise.

I have created a few stimulation zones and try to insure that there are new and fun things for him to explore. His latest enrichment item is a Trader Joe paper bag in which I place toys from his treasure box - I am assuming that every kitty has a treasure box n'est pas?

Of course the whole kitty litter thing is an exercise in patient and humility. I try and change it daily. I don my mask, double bag and my scooper and get busy. It is a lovely site. Often Hercules will observe me from the doorway of the guest bathroom which is where we decided to place the kitty’s special throne.

He sits on his back legs with his front white mittens placed neatly in front of him with his head cocked to one side as if he is trying to figure out what it is I am doing.

“I am cleaning up your poop,” I explain. “I thought I was done with diapers but it seems I am not,” I sigh and he comes and nuzzles against my leg.

It is his way of saying thank you. At least that is what I imagine.

This is my life in the NP era….

copyright 2008-2009 all rights reserved.