Cooking for the kid and the cat

I was not blessed by any amount of talent in the kitchen. I'm not good at cleaning it, stocking it, or cooking in it (unless the microwave counts. My microwave popcorn usually gets pretty outstanding reviews). But even better than culinary skills, I was blessed by something far more valuable, a son who is not a picky eater.

Silas certainly doesn't just eat indiscriminately, he's also not particularly hard to please. Over the years I've picked a couple things up, such as the fact that he doesn't like polenta, he prefers full lettuce leaves to a mixed salad, and he likes his hamburgers without any cheese on them (what is that about? Who doesn't like cheese on their burgers?).

Aside from those few exceptions, Silas usually is willing to eat anything that has come out of my kitchen. Actually, he's probably just shocked to see any food coming from my kitchen since we usually head over to my parents' house to eat. I'd even go there at 7 a.m. to have breakfast before school, except I think that although my parents love and adore me, they would still judge the way I look in the morning.

Silas is willing to eat things with sauce on them, steamed vegetables, mushrooms and basically all the other things that his cousins will usually push away without even trying. I'm not sure how I got to be so lucky as a parent, except that maybe some higher power was taking pity on the fact that I don't know how to cook chicken and regularly burn my eggs in the morning.

On the other hand, my cat, Socrates, has a very delicate digestion (which is the nice way to say it). Basically, everything he eats causes him to vomit on my couch or on top of my brand new book (this is the less nice way to say it).

I tried every brand of dry cat food that Shop'N Kart had to offer, and the only results I got were slightly different colors of vomit on my couch. Socrates is the greatest cat I've ever owned, which is the only reason I did not simply banish him to a life of being a pukey outdoors cat.

One of my favorite things about Socrates is the fact that he's always excited to go to bed. Nothing makes him happier than the sight of someone heading toward a bedroom. He gets so excited and bounds up into the bed and snuggles under the covers faster than I can claim the good pillow.

Socrates also is the most social cat I've ever had. I live in a row of townhouses and all the neighbors adore him. He wanders into houses, naps on couches, and snuggles onto the laps of people I've never exchanged more than two words with.

Last summer, a couple of my neighbors were moving and before they left they asked me if they could have my cat, since they would miss him so much. Unfortunately for them, I also would miss my cat, so he stayed home with me.

One of my least favorite things about Socrates is that, just like Silas, he is not a picky eater. Socrates will eat anything he can reach. He rips open bags to eat my fresh bagels, tries to nibble off Silas' applesauce, and at this very moment he is attempting to drink my ginger ale. I can understand why he wants the ginger ale, he's probably due to throw up at any moment now.

The only thing that has helped Socrates' fragile tummy is switching him to a diet of canned cat food. As long as I keep him on a diet of things such as Gravy Lover's Chicken and Seafood Medley, my couch and my brand new paperback novels, are safe from his gastric contents.

Of course, this means that I probably spend more on Socrates' food each month than my own.

It also creates embarrassing shopping trips such as the one last week where I bought two bottles of wine, extra strength Tums, and 17 cans of Tasty Treasure with Chicken and Cheese. I still can feel the cashier judging me.

Zoe Abel is hiding the food from Socrates and microwaving something for Silas to eat for dinner. You can contact her at

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