Friday, April 08, 2005

Cat blog Friday # ?

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Kuro, the bonito junkie

For those of you unfamiliar with bonito, here is a definition I cribbed from another web site: "It is one of the most important fish in Japanese cuisine, it is rarely eaten as the entrée of a meal. Instead, the dark, oily fish is carefully dried and shaved into very fine, intensely flavored flakes known as katsobushi. These salty flakes are combined with kombu seaweed to make dashi, the base stock for most Japanese soups and broths. Dashi is present in so many Japanese foods that the cuisine would hardly be the same without it. The strong, clean fish flavor of katsobushi makes it a wonderful seasoning for wakame seaweed salads, for seasoning chilled tofu, and for sprinkling over steamed or sautéed vegetables"

We began feeding the flakes as a nighttime treat to Kuro thanks to an offhand remark of my Japanese friend, Jay. He said that when he was a little boy, so enamored was the family cat of the stuff that they used to mix it with rice in order to get kitty to eat the latter as a daily diet staple. Well, went my logic, if bonito is enticing enough to cause cats to devour rice in place of the usual meat or fish, can you imagine how much they must like it all on its own? Little did I realize that I was on the threshold of turning myself into an enabler and Kuro into a kitty kat junkie.

Every night at exactly 7:20 Kuro's restlessness begins. In the back of my mind I begin to hear the strains of Lou Reed singing, "I'm waitin' for my man, 26 dollars in my hand. . .." My beloved kitty Kuro (he's the best!) knows that my dishing out his 7:30 treat of the Japanese dried, flaked fish is only a few minutes away. He even comprehends the word "bonito" and one dares not pronounce it at any other time of the day. But at around 7:29, all I have to do to get a rise out of him---he's already pacing back and forth---is to to pronouce just the single syllable, "Bo," to set him off yowling.

A bit of googling with the search words "bonitio" and "cat" demonstrates just how far behind the curve I was when it came to the "B" word. 121,000 hits! Many of which define the stuff as "fish flavored air," or "cat caviar." If you have some curiosity about your cat and the substance (in the sense of "substance abuser") don't fall for the web sites that sell very small portions packed up for kitty at ridiculously inflated prices. Instead, head off to your local Japanese food emporium and pick up a big womping bag of the stuff---that will last for a couple of weeks---for three or four bucks. At least it's not as expensive as---in the immortal words of J Peterman---"riding the white pony."

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