08 August 2008

BBB & WCB: For Sher

On 20 July 2008 the foodblogging and catblogging worlds lost a dear friend. Sherry Cermak of What Did You Eat passed away of a heart attack. She was lucky enough to have found Bob, the loving man who became her husband. She was an attorney, a wildlife rehabilitator, an avid foodie and a lover of cats.

She was a member of
The Bread Baking Babes, a ragtag group of people who, like The Daring Bakers, complete a monthly baking challenge. The BBBs held a memorial food event for her that was open to everyone on 27 July--I wanted to participate, but that was the day after the first anniversary of My Darling One's passing and I was very emotionally drained and didn't think I could post something coherent that would do her spirit justice.

This weekend's Weekend Cat Blogging event is also a memorial event with a food theme, and is
Hosted by the House of the (Mostly) Black and White Cats. I'd participated in a couple WCBs in the past, and well, I know I've been remiss in updating you guys on my furry companions, so I thought this might be a good time to do that.

I went through her site, looking for a recipe to create and post--not just for me, but also for
Paz who was interested in sharing this post with me--Sher was in her thoughts as well, but Paz's recovery bed is keeping her from the kitchen.

Sher's site had a bit of everything, but it was pretty clear she really liked meatballs. When I saw her mushroom balls post cross my screen, it just seemed to be the right thing to do: not only do I love mushrooms, but Michael did as well.

Sher's page suggested pairing them with a spicy red sauce. I decided to serve them with roasted tomatoes on a bed of rice.

I used cremini mushrooms as I couldn't find portabellos. Since I don't have a food processor, I used the medium side of my box grater to mince the mushrooms. I know it's a bit labour intensive for some, but for those of us who don't have the gadget, I thought the grater worked very well. I used a ricer to extract the juices (if you don't know already, save the mushroom juice and then boil it down a bit. When cooled, you can freeze it or just refrigerate until you next make a beef soup, stew or meat sauce--it adds a really nice depth of flavour). The mushroom balls came together really easily and quickly....and they were easily and quickly eaten--as snacks and as supper.

With regards to my sweet little kitties...when I moved into the condo, I came to a difficult decision. Because of the extra costs of home ownership, I wasn't sure if I could afford to keep the kitties, so my parents came to the rescue and said they'd keep them for me. Yay! We know that
Beanie and My Dear Little Cardamummy are quite close, and my dad and Zeus have a certain affinity (as well as uncanny mutual resemblance), and well Hagia is just a good girl so I wasn't too worried.

Unfortunately, a couple of months into the arrangement, I noticed that Hagia wasn't happy. She'd gotten thinner and was looking rather rumpled. Quite a change from my usually well-presented little vampire-fanged grey tabby.

Well...it turned out that Beanie's bullying ways came out very strongly and stopped her from eating and kept her hiding under beds and mostly out of sight. She came out to see me and she just didn't look right...so after many conversations with my parents, I scooped her up and moved her in.

She's quite happy and can eat when she wants and not worry about being pounced on by a cat two and a half her size. She's found a few favourite spots in the condo--under the loveseat in the TV temple, on the second floor landing...and of course, on the couch, next to me as I type...she's usually a little more chatty and headbonky than this, but she had a very tiring day being a cat:

The next major event occurred about two weeks ago. Beanie honed in on poor Zeus...same story as above. But instead of Zeus coming out for a couple of minutes a day, as Hagia did, he disappeared for days at a time. Zeus is a very timid and easily picked on by the bully boy. Add to this he's a stress eater and he put on a lot of weight in a very short span of time.

Well, it all came to a boil an d my father had to break up two pretty nasty cat fights--poor Zeus was made into chutney (as my parents would say). Quite surprised that my father agreed to it, but I think he realised it was no longer fair to Z. I got the call the next day, asking if Zeus could come over here and join his sister.

How could I say no? That would just be mean.

Zeus arrived and spent the first three nights locked in my powder room, scared out of his wits, crammed between the back of the privy and the wall. My parents came to visit him every day (they've actually visited him here more often then me, since they returned from India). I don't know who was more upset about he turn in events, Zeus or my dad...really. Mummy said Daddy was crying along with Zeus...and Daddy never cries.

The next night Zeus seemed a bit happier--still very stressed, but a bit happier...the happiness would be temporarily lessened as I decided he needed a bath...weeks of hiding out in my parent's basement left him with a certain waft. He'd never been bathed before so I had the exbf do the honours. They were both quite good about it.

Zeus now has free roam of the condo. There's a wee bit of hissing still, but the siblings are able to stay underneath the same loveseat together for hours at a time (yes, they come from a hidey, paranoid line)--very good sign, I think. He spends a lot of his life hiding from me (nothing new there) but when he hears me come down the basement steps, he gets quite social and hides behind a fortress wall of laundry baskets to see what I'm doing, in hopes he'll get a little scritch. His favourite spot is the corner behind the fireplace, in a towel-lined cardboard carton. I'm convinced he's dropped at least a pound. I couldn't help but take a photo of Zeus in the laundry sink after his bath. The other photo is him in his carton behind the fireplace.

And before you ask...Yes, Beanie does miss Zeus a heckuvalot...even though "gramma" feeds him lots of his beloved chicken, he doesn't know where his brother went. No, he didn't miss Hagia at all and his ears still go back when you mention her name. He just doesn't understand that he's much bigger than the others and they don't always want to "play." It seems to be genetic...his half-brother is much the same way. And yes, I have a feeling Beanie will be blogging again...


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NKP said...

I guess kitties are like kids. In the end we don't really own them - we just have to do what is best for them at the time.
How wonderful that you have your extended family to help with the babies, they sound like good people.
I am glad the kitties are happier now and appreciate your candid post in honour of Sher.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post and tribute to Sher. I think she'd really love your version of her mushroom balls recipe AND the cat story. I'm so glad Zeus is much better as are the other kitties. Thanks so much for sharing the post on my behalf. Much appreciated.


glamah16 said...

Great post. You ahve your hands full. Those cats are like people. But it seems like a wonderful experince. As for the mushroom meatballs, a must on my to do list!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great tribute to Sher! I'm sure she would have loved that post!



Mickle in NZ said...

This post is a lovely way to remember two very special people.

And thank you for the pussycat update. Huggles from Michelle and silence from Zebby-cat - he's sound asleep and NOT snoring

Astrid (…and the kitties too) said...

Awww what a heart touching story about your cats. We hope they are doing better - time heals!
And they are lovely ones too!

we miss Sher too and we also liked her Mushroom meatballs, they are yummy, aren't they?

Kashim & Othello

Kalyn Denny said...

What a lovely post and a nice tribute to two special people. I know that Sher would have loved hearing about the cats. (And how sweet you are to help Paz to participate.)

Robyn and The (Mostly) Badass Cat said...

That was a super tribute, Jasmine! And we're so glad the kitties are doing better with their new arrangement. Yay for you lookin after them. Pepi used to play way too rough with all of us too, but we taught him. hehehe
Fanks for joining WCB this week!

Annemarie said...

Ah, the famous wet Zeus. He does seem to have taken it very well. Lovely post, Jasmine.