Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Old Postcard Wednesday--A Kindle of Kittens

Back of postcard reads: Series 1002 (6.Des.) Printed in Germany. I searched several variations on possible artist names (enlarge to see signature) but could not find any information..
"Clowder" is the correct term for a group of cats. It is an old word for "clutter," an apt name for a gathering of cats that has, perhaps, overrun a farm in response to a plague of mice or rats.

A group of kittens or young cats had a special name: they were called a "kyndyll," or "kindle," of kittens. This is based on the old definition of the verb "to kindle," which described it as "bringing forth" or "giving birth to young." So a kyndyll of cats was simply a group of felines that had, not so long ago, been brought into the world. [Source: Kinross Cattery website, emphasis is mine]

It's no secret that I love cats, and I sure love this one. Willow hasn't shown up here at my blog for awhile and those of you who remember her as a kitten will be amazed at the
s-t-r-e-t-c-h  of her full-grown cat body. She still has her little beard that you can see just above her identification tag. Willow's eyes aren't actually this green but I didn't edit the shot because I thought they looked spectacular, like gems.

I picked up a few of these catnap squares (she is lounging on one) for the couch at Petco years ago and the other cats simply loved them and simply curled up and simply slept on them. Not Willow. She pulls tufts of the stuff out with her mouth and makes cozy patterns, as if having a need to make a nest out of the thing. Ultimately they are full of holes and need to be replaced, which is a bit ridiculous as these things aren't cheap.

Willow isn't neurotic about her grooming like some of my cats have been. She seems to have "cleaning days," in which it is an all-out advance with her tongue and paws to attend to every part, from inside ears to tip of tail, and then to be done with it for a few days. I have not tried the nifty ideas below and am not sure I ever will. Maybe.......

Nature has adorned her with a most beautiful coat, of the softest, silkiest fur and loveliest of colours; and she spares no pains to keep it clean and smart. I firmly believe that the cat is very proud of her appearance, and likes to cut a dash -- here again, by the bye, she resembles the female of the human family ...

If you want to have your cat nice and clean, treat her now and then to a square inch of fresh butter. It not only acts as a gentle laxative, but the grease, combining in her mouth with the alkalinity of her saliva, forms a kind of natural cat-soap ...
If you wish to have a cat nicely done up for showing, touch her all over with a sponge dipped in fresh cream, when she licks herself the effect is wonderful.
~William Gordon Stables (1840-1910) Scottish writer, from Cats: Their Points and Classification, 1877

OR you could just use the butter and cream to try this recipe from Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient with Recipes. At the book's Amazon page I noticed a box that says:  Tell the publisher! I'd like to read this book on Kindle ........which sort of brings us back to the definition of a group of kittens where we began.....

Brown Butter Ice Cream

Source: Fat by Jennifer McLagan


1 cup / 250ml whole milk
1 cup / 250 ml whipping cream
1/2 cup / 100 g sugar
1/2 cup / 115 g unsalted butter, diced
1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 egg yolks
1/8 tsp fine sea salt


- Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan and add about half the sugar. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

- In another saucepan, place the butter over low heat. When the butter is melted, increase the heat to medium. Watch the butter carefully, using a spoon to push aside any foam to check the colour of the milk solids. When they turn brown and you smell a sweet, nutty aroma, remove the pan from the heat, add the lemon juice, and transfer the butter to a bowl to cool until it is no longer hot to the touch.

- In a large bowl whisk the egg yolks, the remaining sugar, and the salt until light in colour and thick. Whisk in the cooled browned butter, adding it slowly and whisking vigorously so that the mixture is emulsified. Once all the butter is incorporated, slowly whisk in the cream and milk mixture.

- Pour the mixture into a clean pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture into a bowl and cool quickly by placing it in a larger bowl or sink filled with cold water and ice. Stir the mixture often. When it is cool, cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, churn the mixture in an ice cream machine following the manufacturer's instructions.


Ben said...

I'm more of a dog person myself :) but those kittens in the picture at the beginning were really cute. That was a very interesting etymology you described about the word Kindle. I didn't even know that that's what the designation was for a group of kittens. Very cool.

Amy said...

Lydia, Willow is truly beautiful with such long silky legs - I've never heard of the butter trick before nor the kindyll/kindle of kittens. Great post!

Looking to the Stars said...

Good post, didn't know any of this. I like cats but am allergic so we have dogs :)
Willow is soooo beautiful, what a sweetie!

Lydia said...

Ben~ I love dogs too. It's a different kind of love with each and I admit to loving cats best. But my dogs don't feel slighted I'm sure!
I think that the word kindle was on a vocabulary list we were tested on in grammar school...

Amy~ "Silky" is just a perfect word for her legs. Strange the rest of her fur has become just normal texture. I actually am giving the cats liquid vitamin supplements nightly to see if it improves their coats. Maybe I should try that butter trick!

Looking to the Stars~ She sure is a sweetie. I mean, she is really really sweet!
I'm allergic to cats too, but the eight years of shot therapy worked wonders. I absolutely cannot be around one of our strays who sleep in the garage. I love him but there is something in his fur that chokes the breath out of me. So I know, being allergic to them can be a really serious thing.

Kim said...

Willow! Look how big she's gotten! And that stretch! She's such a beautiful cat.

My cats love those catnip pillows. They roll all over them for awhile and toss them around.

the watercats said...

what a dekightfully sublime to ridiculous post ;-D
Weirdly, we don't have a cat, mainly because the farm up the road is crawling with big, hardy, ferral farm cats who would probably shred a domestic to pieces.. and our dogs hate them! I love the kindle of kittens thing. just one of those perfect collective nouns...

Melinda said...

Had to comment on Old Postcard Wednesday. I love cats too--and am such a cat person. I plan on getting a couple very soon! Animals add life and love to your home.


Lydia said...

Kim~ Thanks for coming over to see her, Kim. I think she's beautiful too. Am going to look for the pillows you mentioned.

the watercats~ How big must those feral farm cats be?! I have in my mind an image of something bordering on scary!

Melinda~ O good, I'm so glad you will be giving a sweet home to some cats. That is marvelous for human and feline alike. :)

Jennifer said...

Oh, so much to respond to here, but I think I will focus on Willows long, lovely arms, moving on to a cookbook celebrating fat (with an amazing recipe) and then circling back to giving kitties butter. There are three cats in the room with me (is that enough for a clowder?), all sleeping, and I'm sure they would approve of this post.

Lydia said...

Jennifer~ Absolutely, you have a clowder. A room with three sleeping cats (I'm envisioning the new design in your living room that you showed in one photo)is a perfect room. My clowder inside - Feather, Shiva, and Willow - totally agree.

Sweaver said...

Just discovered that I have a clowder:
Mae 13 years, Lili-12, Marcel-1, Benci-1 (needed a playmate for Marcel the stray kitten.

Your Blog is an unlooked-for treat. Thanks!



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