A Regal Birthday

Lorelei Lee is a princess on her birthday (and every other day as well).

Lorelei Lee is a queen on her birthday (and on every other day as well).

Happy Birthday, Lorelei Lee! Today my personality-filled cat turns 18. I think we’ll wait a few days to register her to vote, but it’s a milestone worth marking.

I remember reading many years ago (I THINK in a book by feminist historian Gerda Lerner, but I’m afraid I can no longer find the reference) that the domestication of dogs is seen by some scholars as a milestone in the development of the human psyche since it springs from altruism.

At some point humans moved from relying on dogs for protection and hunting to bringing them into the home as pets. The dogs had no function other than to give and receive love–so the people who cared for them were operating from a need for sociability and empathy rather than survival.

The domestication of cats, although not mentioned in the work I vaguely recall, must have taken even more altruism. Dogs bolster our egos. When Truffle gazes at me with her big hazel eyes I know that I am her beloved protector.

In contrast, when Lorelei Lee gazes at me with her big blue eyes I know that I am supposed to get her whatever she wants–preferably pretty darn quickly. With one feline glance I am reduced from beloved caregiver to abject slave.

The domestication of cats is therefore a little more complicated than the domestication of dogs. True, cats do sometimes fulfill a household function; before her retirement (which stemmed from impaired vision) Lorelei was a fierce killer of mice and large insects.

Mainly, however, cats teach us to live with uncertainty and with creatures who are significantly different from us. I accept Lorelei Lee’s demands and quirks and even what we euphemistically term her “love bites” because she is part of my family even if I’ll never completely understand her.

Despite their martial spirit, I would argue that the domestication of cats may therefore have been a bigger milestone in the development of the human race than that of dogs. True, dogs promote world peace by example, showing us how to be patient and loving.

Cats, however, promote world peace by behavior therapy, forcing us to become patient and loving. So today I celebrate Lorelei and her challenging yet endearing sisters and brothers throughout the world. May we continue to learn their life lessons with grace and humor.

I’ve been trying to think of an appropriate recipe to post for LL’s special day. Like everyone in our family she’s partial to cheese so I’ve decided on blue cheese dressing. Who can resist that signature combination of fat, salt, and creaminess?

We humans eat this concoction as a veggie dip or on a salad. Lorelei will have a small amount tonight on a morsel of asparagus. (It’s good on broccoli, too, but asparagus is coming into the garden, and anyway it’s Miss Lorelei’s favorite vegetable!)

Snappy Blue Cheese Dressing/Dip/Whatever

Ingredients:

3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 clove garlic, finely minced
3/4 cup sour cream or yogurt
a few drops of Worcestershire sauce
salt to taste (you don’t need a lot since the cheese is salty!)
freshly squeezed lemon juice as needed (about 1/2 large lemon for the dip or for Lorelei’s asparagus; more for the dressing)

Instructions:

Combine the cheese and garlic; then stir in the sour cream or yogurt, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Finish with the lemon juice. Chill the dressing for at least 1 hour before you use it. 

When I served this with salad I gave guests lemon wedges so they could add extra lemon when they dabbed the dressing on the greenery. You may also mix in the lemon juice yourself and toss this creamier dressing directly into the salad bowl.

Makes a little more than 1 cup of dressing (the ingredients lose volume when you combine them).

Here's the dressing before the extra lemon juice is added......

Here's the dressing before the extra lemon juice was added......

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9 Responses to “A Regal Birthday”

  1. Ginny says:

    Happy Day, indeed; love what you wrote, T.
    Thanks, G.

  2. commonweeder says:

    What an insightful and charming anthropological lesson. The Blue Cheese dip looks yummy, too.

  3. Grad says:

    What a gorgeous cat! Lorelei Lee and I share a birthday (wish I was 18, though). My 14 year old cat isn’t feeling well. She’s on 3 medications and the best way to give the pills to her is hidden in a piece of cheese!

  4. tinkyweisblat says:

    Happy post birthday! I hope your kitty feels better soon. Lorelei likes to take pills in the Greenies pill pockets for cats………..

    I’ll pass on your words of admiration. She loves to be told she’s gorgeous.

  5. C. Elizabeth Van Dyk says:

    have not joined you since I have been in AU until this week-my son had a corneal transplant and grannie had to be there!
    So- Happy Birthday to Lorelei Lee from me and also from Lily and Sabrina- my two Siamese beauties….
    All the best
    evd

  6. Cats are wonderful. Thanks for the recipe too. 🙂

  7. Mardi says:

    Gorgeous picture of Lorelei Lee. The dressing sounds yummy, too!

  8. tinkyweisblat says:

    Thank you, thank you! She was a wonderful cat–even if the crown didn’t stay on her head very long. (Well, she WAS a cat; that’s the point of my piece.)

  9. Margie says:

    I think my Cairns are a combination of both. Plus, I am definitely trying the dressing/dip. Anything with blue cheese sounds delicious, but this recipe sounds particularly yummy. Thanks.

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