03 July 2007

Food, glorious food

Food is a somewhat contentious issue here at home.

My mother...well, there's just no sense going there. Sometimes she's really on, and sometimes, she's oxtail stew.

My mother-in-law cooks satay and pot roast quite well. She won't eat anything I cook from a plate that I give her, but she will eat what I cook off everyone else's plate. The exception would be the Christmas goose. She and the spouse fight to strip the goose of its crackling skin as soon as it comes out of the oven. It's quite a sight.

My father-in-law will not eat poultry (unless I make him fried chicken), leftovers and most vegetables.

The spouse tries very hard to hide his vegetables. I have to tell him that he doesn't get dessert unless he consumes them. He also eats fish "with long teeth," as the Germans say. If I wanted to punish him, pickled herring and broccoli would be a perfect meal.

The son refuses to eat savory sauce of any sort. His pasta must be dry, and gravy is reviled. He also won't drink milk, which I suspect is a latent reaction to a milk allergy that I didn't recognize.

The daughter, who has outgrown her milk allergy, does not like bread. Nor does she like shrimp or ham. Of all the family, she has the most take it or leave it attitude toward food.

I dislike pasta, a familial staple, and I loathe cooked tomatoes. I also don't care for fried food or mayonnaise. I don't eat chocolate. I like chocolate, but if I eat it, I develop a strange compulsion to eat everything in sight. The cat hides when I eat chocolate.

Now, the cat, he is formidable. The cat eats edamame. The cat eats muffins. The cat eats biscuits. The cat eats hummus. The cat eats mayonnaise. The cat eats tofu. The cat eats butter. The cat eats any form of meat. He will not eat lettuce, although I enjoy decorating him with it when I am washing salad greens, but he likes to play with green onion tops. Who knew? Food must be hidden from the cat because he will climb on the counters and steal things. Or worse, lick the butter. Mostly, he likes gow and around 9:30 every night, he runs from person to person yelling, "GOW!" No one dares say "gow" at any other time of day because the cat will expect gow now.

Gow is fairly disgusting. In English, gow is Royal Canin Urinary S/O diet. The cat gets very expensive special food because he launched himself out the window as a kitten and successfully injured his kidneys. The expensive food serves to keep him out of the expensive cat hospital where he goes for expensive treatment for UTIs. This has worked out well, and he certainly likes gow, but we can't stand the smell. Then again, wet cat food...meh.

For obvious reasons, including neutered male cats' tendency to gain stunning amounts of weight, we limit the table scraps he receives, which doesn't please him. At dinner, he sits, looking pathetic, between the spouse and I, with his right paw lifted in what looks like a canine offer to "shake." But this is his begging position. We have no idea where he learned it, as he came to us as a 5-month-old rescue, who'd been dumped by owners not once, but twice (in itself odd, because he's an immensely sweet-natured cat, though his nightly recitation of "GOW! GOW! GOW!" is sufficient to drive one to distraction).

When not eating, thinking about eating, bathing after eating or asleep dreaming about eating, the cat enjoys chasing bugs, or as they are more commonly known here, boogs. He stalks them, pounces and plays. Earwigs are not a favorite because they have a terrible tendency to fight back, and I've had to remove an earwig dangling by its pincers from the cat's nose. This does not stop him from killing them with gusto, however. Waterbugs are apparently inedible and only good for batting practice. Moths, however, are delish. Spiders are a very special favorite because...oh come on! They taste good! Except for the legs. He carefully removes all legs before neatly scarfing up the body.

I get to clean up the legs, of course. It's enough to put me off my food.

Go listen to some good music: "Food, Glorious Food" from the musical Oliver!, book, music and lyrics by Lionel Bart.