“Hey, Allen and Kiki, This is the holiday season, so let’s talk about food.”
Kiki was there in a flash. “I’d rather eat food than talk about it.”
“Well, I thought it might be interesting to talk about how to make some things.”
I felt soft whiskers brush my arm as Allen appeared on the arm of my chair. “Are you going to show us how to make toona?”
“Or chicken? That would be good, too,” Kiki added.
“Well,” I said, “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I was going to talk about making some people food.”
“Can we help to make it?”
“Ummm, probably not a good idea. You two are very generous about sharing strands of your fur everywhere. I don’t really want to include random cat hairs as one of the ingredients. I just thought you might like to hear about some easy things for people to make.”
“I think I’m going to take a nap.” Allen pawed over onto the middle of my lap and curled up. “You and Kiki can talk about making people food.”
“During the holidays, people often like to make cookies and other sweet treats.”
“Allen perked up one ear, just in case he was missing something.”
“Treats?” Do they have toona in them?
“Not usually. One very easy thing my mother used to make, along with ten other kinds of cookies, were Graham Cracker Brownies. She made them even when it wasn’t a holiday because they were so easy to make. They have only two basic ingredients, graham crackers and sweetened condensed milk.”
“Hmmm, milk might be good,” Kiki was trying to stay interested.
“The milk is not to lap up. Kiki. It is to mix with the graham crackers.”
“That sounds yucky,” she replied.
“Well, maybe to a cat, but I and a lot of other humans think they are yummy.”
Allen inserted a sleepy comment. “Humans eat weird foods.”
“They are very easy to make, so if the time ever comes that one of you is advising a human on how to make something tasty and easy, here’s what to tell them. You mash up 24 graham crackers into crumbs by rolling them with a rolling pin or putting them into a blender, or you can buy them already in crumbs and measure 2 cups of the crumbs into a bowl.
“Then you open a can of sweetened condensed milk, and add it to the bowl, then stir it until the crumbs are all moistened and mixed in with the liquid.”
“I still think that lapping up that milk would be a better idea.” Kiki murmured.
“Actually, Kiki, drinking cow’s milk can make a cat sick. I’d like my kitties to stay healthy. Let’s get back to the brownies that we are going to make for humans.”
“Bor-r-r-ing,” Kiki mumbled as she turned away.
“When that mixture is all nicely blended, then you can add other goodies if you want. My mother always added a cup of chocolate chips and a cup of nuts – walnuts or pecans. One time I added shredded coconut and nuts, and that was good, too. You could probably add anything you wanted – M&M’s, or little peanut butter cups, or pieces of candy cane.”
“or toona?” Allen woke up again.
“Yikes, you guys have a one-track mind. Somehow, I don’t think these brownies would be so good with tuna.” At least tuna probably wouldn’t make them sick. But in brownies? Now I am thinking yuck.
“So, once everything is mixed up, you spread the mixture into a greased and floured cake pan and bake it at 350⁰ for about 25 minutes or until the edges are getting brown and pulling away from the sides of the pan. After you take it out of the oven, you let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then turn it out onto a cooling rack and cut it into pieces.”
“Well, then, if you’re a human, you eat it. Or you put it on a pretty plate and serve it to your friends. Or you put the brownies into a container or a Zip-Loc bag until you are ready to serve them.”
Allen was fully asleep. Kiki was rolling around on little side table, batting at a little crocheted bear.
I, on the other hand, was getting very hungry for a graham cracker brownie.
“Kiki, there’s another interesting thing that can be made using that milk that interested you so much. It’s Homemade Ice Cream that doesn’t have to be churned.”
Kiki stopped what she was doing. “Cream? That sounds better even than milk. Do you think cats could eat that?”
“Maybe a cat could have a little sample to lick, but probably not much more.
You start by pouring a can of sweetened condensed milk into a large bowl.”
“and then you lap it up.” Kiki’s eyes were gleaming. Already she had forgotten what I had said.
“I think that more than a lick or two might not be too good for kitties.”
“Bummer,” mumbled Allen, reaching out from his soft bed on my lap and licking his paw.
“At this point, or perhaps really before you start, you need to decide if you want this ice cream to have a special flavor besides vanilla. If you do, you could add 3 cups of pureed fruit to the condensed milk and stir it all together.
“Another idea is to add 2 tablespoons of instant coffee powder, or maybe cocoa mix, broken-up cookies, or mini chocolate chips. There are many possibilities. I haven’t tried them all, but if you are brave, you could think of it as a kind of chemistry experiment. Try different things and see what happens.”
Kiki looked perturbed. “But I’ve heard that some chemistry experiments explode. Would that happen? That would scare us cats a lot.”
“Somehow, Kiki, I don’t think anything someone might put in ice cream is likely to explode. You would be safe.”
“In another bowl, you whip up 2 cups of heavy cream until it forms soft peaks, and add 2 tablespoons of vanilla.” The mention of cream still had the kitties hanging around.
“Gently fold the whipped cream into the condensed milk mixture.”
“Spread the mixture into two pint-sized freezer containers or a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Cover and freeze until firm (about 8 hours.)”
Together, my two furry critters asked, “And are you going to make some of that ice cream? We still think you should give us some.”
“Well, maybe just one drop to taste it. It sure does sound good,” I agreed.
I think I have probably gained five pounds just thinking about these goodies.
“But I still think it would be better if you added some toona,” Allen shot back as he jumped off my lap.
Tuna Ice Cream…sounds pretty bad to me…Sigh…
By the way, credit for the Graham Cracker Brownie recipe goes to my mom, Virginia Kirby, and who knows where she got it, probably from one of her friends, way back in the 1940’s. Unfortunately, she has not been around to ask, for almost 30 years.
Credit for the No-Churn Ice Cream goes to an article in an old Better Homes and Gardens magazine some time in the past 10 years, but I can’t tell you when because I saved only the article and not the whole publication.
So, I guess that’s all for today, my friends. Maybe we’ll be back soon with news of some more easy things to make, maybe even one of them with tuna (not a tuna dessert, I promise.)
We hope you have a terrific week and look forward to “meeting” with you next time.