Friday, August 13, 2010


A cat food commercial playing over the sound system at Wal-Mart last week purred about cats dreaming of meaty, moist, delicious Brand X cat "dinners." I smiled, thinking "Well, they definitely got that wrong!" Some folks may think cats dream of saucers of milk or of chasing mice or bobbing for fish in a fishbowl. J.R.R. Tolkien once said something to the effect that, when cats dream, they are chasing gazelle. Anyone who owns a cat can testify - Tolkien had it right. Every cat, in his own little mind, is really a lion, ruler of the savannah.

Our cat Elizabeth looks like a small, rather plain domestic tabby. But watch her for any length of time and you realize she is really a ferocious lioness. At least that's the case when she is self-aware. Other times, she is a very silly kitten, despite her years. Like when she chases a BB around the house, batting it across the hardwood floor in a frenzied fit of hysteria. She likes to herd a BB up to one of the floor vents. There, sitting calmly at last, she slowly rolls the BB over the grate, pushing it delicately with a tiny paw, and then watches in smug satisfaction as it rattles out of sight. This game never gets old.

But back to the lioness. Lacking an African savannah populated with antelope and elephant calves, our kitty contents herself with hunting the smaller residents typical of a Tennessee hayfield - mice, voles, lizards, birds. She often shares her kill with the rest of the pride, leaving a tiny carcass on the front doorstep to be discovered by one of us as we head out the door. Blech! This summer, we have noticed a distinct preference for things blue. Blue birds. Indigo buntings. Which got me to wondering - are blue-colored birds just easier to catch than, say, sparrows - or - are they more fun to stalk, or perhaps tastier than drab little mice? Any thoughts, cat owners?

In closing, here is a recipe for scrumptious cat-head biscuits. This was breakfast at my house this morning....

Cathead Biscuits
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. butter, chilled
1 c. buttermilk
1 Tbsp. butter, melted

Combine the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt, stirring well. Cut in the 1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour buttermilk evenly over mixture and stir gently until dry ingredients are just moistened. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 10 - 12 times.

Shape dough into 2-inch balls, and press with knuckles. Place biscuits on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Brush tops of biscuits with melted butter, and bake 2 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Yield - about 1 dozen. (Note: I usually roll these out and cut them with a biscuit cutter...but then they don't look like catheads!)

Serve hot with butter and jelly...or fresh bluebird, if Kitty is just back from the savannah. Just kidding!

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