Sunday, December 9, 2012
The Kitchen Witch
Females have long owned the kitchen. For thousands of years, women have stood possessively around fires stirring pots while all eyes circled around her. Men would look furtively towards their meals bubbling over firelight, casting hungry glances at the females who guarded the meat as if they themselves had hurled the spears into the hearts. Women ultimately owned the quarry of the hunt, not the men. Queens of sustenance, they drove the men to wait passively until fed.
So why am I surprised that Singer has been stalking and surveying the kitchen? Saylor was my little housewife-in-training. She always watched me in the kitchen, preparing the meals. She noted the smells politely and watched hungrily when I lifted the savory roasts from their pans, the steam filling the room. Her head swiveled from the stove to the counter to the table. She would gobble up the tasty morsel tossed to her and wait for the next piece. Maybe it was because she was so well-fed, she never begged too much while the food was so plentiful. Sorry for her food allergies, I prepared each meal for her with bits of Cheerios, oatmeal, canned dog food (prescription) and her regular dog food. She was overweight, yes, but happy with her food courses. And content to just watch me in the kitchen.
But Singer, she’s something else. We have barricaded Dakota’s eating area but she still finds ways to paw around it and move the cat food to the floor. She does this when we are at work, so I make sure Dakota eats his food before we leave. Then if he doesn’t finish, the dish is moved up to the refrigerator. And nothing is left on the counter or oven to cool! I should know this by now, having left a pan of brownies to cool one day last summer and coming home to find the empty pan in the corner, licked clean. I spent a frantic night trying to make her throw up, but she was fine. The next day, the vet’s office called me to see if she was okay. Singer never showed any sign of getting sick, not even queasy. Now Singer gathers spoons that have dished out cat food from the sink and lovingly licks them clean, leaving them in my path to the bedroom. That’s all she gets, and she wants me to know it. She wants me to find them. She knows they have to go in the dish washer, but she's also telling me how deprived she feels.
This morning she was especially sneaky. I made cinnamon buns and left them on the stove to cool, and went back to the living room to read the paper with my coffee. I called her and she obediently came in the living room. Dakota took his place on my lap, I threw a lamb ear to Singer, knowing she was jealous of the attention. But she just sniffed it and gave me a passive look. Then, while I was deep into my reading, she sneaked off to the kitchen and I heard her. “Singer!” But she took too long coming back, and she was chomping on something delicious when she finally came, not looking at me. “You knew I couldn’t get out to the kitchen fast enough with Dakota on my lap, you little witch!” She doesn’t like to be scolded. She laid down at my feet. A few minutes later, she tried to sneak back, there were some more cinnamon buns left, after all. “SINGER!” She stopped short at the threshold and meekly took her place on the couch.
Jeff came in. “I heard you were a bad girly—counter cruising,” he told her in a soft voice. She was curled up into a tight ball on the couch and didn’t move. He kissed her head. “Even though you’re a bad girly, we still love you.”