Men, boys, cats and food
Date: Jun 23rd, 2006 12:22:46 pm - Subscribe

My life is filled with males of two different species. I live with my husband, Mike, my son Griffin who is 12 and two male felines, Bustopher Jones and Harmon El Gato. There is a lot of male-ness in my home what with a budding child in the throes of puberty and my wonderful and handsome husband. I am just the maker of all food, maybe slightly resembling a goddess when everyone is hungry and mewling about, but normally, I am Mom, wife and Cat Mama.

I have already talked at length about how my child eats (see 'Children don't come with feeding instructions') and to talk about the cats eating habits, well that's no big deal; they eat their dry stuff when they want, and after our dinner they start urging me to get out their once-a-night treat of yummy Fancy Feast mixed with their vitamins. Those plates are wolfed down in about a minute flat, I would never call them finicky. I could fill the plates with anything, and as long as it smells good they will eat it. Harmon is overweight and Bustopher is not. Harmon eats like a normal cat, Bustopher rubs his paw over the dry food in the bowl and licks the dust off. It's a wonder he gains any weight at all. Harmon has lived with me all his life and Bustopher was a stray that lived in a shelter for 1 1/2 years before I took him home. He has huge separation issues, is really really needy, must have play time and interaction with you every day and does whatever it takes to get your attention. Harmon knows everything will be fine, that the bowl will always be full and if he falls over on his back in front of you that you will stop whatever you are doing and rub his belly until he is nearly catatonic with bliss. They are night and day and I adore them.

Mike has been in my life 5 years and is the husband that I used to dream about as a little girl. He is kind, considerate, outrageously funny, extraneously helpful and a great dad to Griffin. He is my biggest fan, my most vocal cheerleader and the one I go to when I can't figure anything out. He treats me like a queen and I love him more than I ever thought possible. He is not a meat and potatoes guy, in fact, dislikes beef, will only eat boneless, skinless chicken and thinks vegetables are to be worshipped. I'm all for this except when I want a big juicy porterhouse, which thankfully isn't often anymore. I trust that when I make something new that two things will happen: #1- he will eat it, even if he doesn't like it. And #2- he will honestly tell me what he thinks of it even if he doesn't like it. I can usually tell what he thinks when he is eating something new, and when I am not sure, it becomes clear to me if he never touches the leftovers that he wasn't overly fond of the meal. Not long ago, I came to discover that one dish I make quite often was not something he liked to eat. I wasn't aware of it and was rather cheesed off that I didn't know. His explanation made sense to me, and I have been more relaxed about what I cook ever since. He told me that although food has to be good, sometimes to him it's about sustenance and that there are days when he eats, his main goal is only to fill the hunger. It doesn't have to be wonderful, to die for food on those days. It just has to be edible. The dish in question is edible, but not a favorite, therefore becomes something that is sustenance, not a dish to adore. It was kind of hard to accept that at first, since everything I eat has to be something I adore and want to eat. I don't think you should eat food that you don't like. Mike hates eggs, hates the smell and even the thought of them. I won't ever make them for him due to this fact. There are very few foods he actually hates, and he will eat many, many things that aren't his favorite. It's sustenance, that's all. I can ask him for input when I am trying to decide on a week or two worth of meal plans and he just smiles and tells me whatever I make will be fine with him. It's a different mindset than me, and is fine. It makes for more harmonious meals since I already have one person who tends towards moaning and teeth gnashing when there is something on the stove that he doesn't like. But he's 12, and has to be difficult, it's part of being his age. Mike's role in the kitchen, outside of being my critical palate, is the chief bottle washer. I can make a colossal mess while cooking, and without a word after dinner he will set forth cleaning it up. Most of the time I clean as I go, but some meals sneak up on me like a power boat wide open and you have no time to quickly wash the flotsam left behind. Mike speeds through dish duty as if I cranked up the controls to hyperspeed. He hates a mess more than he hates doing dishes. I love that he works with me that way. When he takes over the kitchen on the rare nights that I am simply not willing or able to be creative, I reciprocate by cleaning up his mess. Food is not an issue in our relationship. I never have to worry about him bringing home Burger King meals, buying too much junk food or snacking on potato chips in bed. (remember the ending in the movie 'Fargo'?) However, if there is ice cream in the house, watch out. Willpower is not his strongest asset. Thankfully, the convenience store close by installed a soft serve machine, and for a couple of bucks we can get a big dish of deliciously flavorful soft ice cream. But Mike likes to say "I don't need anymore belly" and instead urges us all on our bikes for a long evening ride. One more thing to love about him- how he encourages me.
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