Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This morning

Our kitty is a youngish cat, and I frequently feel guilty that I am no where near entertaining enough for her. A few weeks ago, I mounted a suction-cup hanger on our kitchen window. We live on the third floor of an apartment building that is elevated above grade, so we are pretty high up here. Almost immediately, birds found the feeder. We have had woodpeckers, house finches, starlings, house sparrows, chickadees, nuthatches and goldfinches up here. Right after I mounted the feeder, I held Kitty up so that she could see some chickadees on the perches. Ever since, the feeder has been an entertainment center for her. Carolyn says Kitty lunged for the birds once, and collided with the glass. I was concerned that Kitty sitting in the window might dissuade birds from feeding, and startle those who did feed there, so I bought a large houseplant for the table and flanked it with some amaryllis plants. Now she sits on the table, obscured by the plants, watches for the birds. She is more successful when she sits under the table and looks up at the feeder from there. Every time I see her seek out this entertainment, it makes me happy.

A number of years ago, my parents drove through North Carolina on their way back from Florida. My mom loves all things Biltmore, and they stopped in at the Biltmore Estate. Her description of it makes me long to visit there. My parents, knowing that I like to pick up honey when I travel, bought me a jar of tulip poplar honey. It has comb in it, so I have avoided it. I know a lot of people like to eat the comb, but I have always suspected that the wax would contain contaminants from agricultural chemicals, a suspicion that has been substantiated through recent research delving into the causes of colony collapse disorder. Even so, I cracked open the jar this morning and was delighted at the flavor of this dark and thick honey. In fact, it was a bit familiar - an aftertaste of anise. Having recently written about the Parisian honey I had that had an aftertaste of anise, I wondered if Paris had a large number of tulip poplars. That honey wasn't dark enough to be pure tulip poplar, but that plant could have contributed to the flavor profile. I found some historic references to tulip trees being sent to Paris by George Washington as gifts, but no word on whether they are in range for the Opera House bees It is just as likely that the anise note I am detecting in the Parisian honey comes from the many chestnut trees in that famed city of trees. Chestnut honey has an aggressive flavor and is also dark. It is one that puts people off honey in general, if they do not know they are tasting a special varietal honey. It and other honeys are wonderful additions to savory dishes in place of alcohol, if one has none or is avoiding it. The more savory tasting honeys provide sweetness, but also another dimension of flavor to meats and stews. Hmmmmm - I have a lamb roast thawing and a jar of plum preserves I have been saving. Think I'll unroll the roast and stuff it with some dried fruit, plum preserves and some honey, herbs, onions and garlic.

1 comment:

RuthieJ said...

You are a good kitty mom, Kathleen!
I'm amazed that your kitty doesn't chew on those plants though--mine would have them all shredded.