Thursday, Mar 23, 2017
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Bilyeu

Eating like 
a Hobbit

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I have a cat named Hobbes, which is short for Hobbit.

We named him that because, when we found him wandering in our neighborhood back in September, he was a little skinny thing who was crying from hunger. He devoured the only appropriate food we had for him that late evening: an entire can of tuna. Then he begged for more.

Even when his food bowls — wet and dry — were full, he begged for more. He continues to ask: “Please, may I have some more?”

We could have called him Oliver.

But we called him Hobbit because he likes to eat breakfast. And second breakfast. And a mid-morning snack. And brunch, followed by lunch, second lunch, and afternoon tea. He wants “linner”: a lunch/dinner combo. He likes supper, dinner, an evening snack and a midnight snack.

He eats more than a growing teenage boy.

Of course, Hobbes put on a little bit of necessary weight after coming to our house. But he hasn’t gained too much weight, as he’s very playful and burns off those extra calories.

And sometimes, he even snubs his food. It may not be the particular can that he’d fancied and told us he wanted. (Since he doesn’t speak English despite being quite vocal, we never know what he’s ordering from the menu). Or, perhaps, his meal is not at “mouse temperature,” which one site we’d looked at for information noted that cats prefer.

Essentially, what my cat does is eat like I do. He grazes through the day.

I wake up hungry. I don’t, however, sit on the bedside table and stare, using telepathy to encourage someone to get her lazy backside up from under the covers to plop some food on a plate for me. (One guess which member of my household does, indeed, do that before giving an incomparable look of “Gotcha” when you roll over and make eye contact.)

But, despite waking up hungry, I don’t want an enormous breakfast of eggs and pancakes and toast and hash browns and whatnot. I want a snack, essentially — something like a muffin to go with my coffee. Then, a bit later, ideally some leftover pasta, possibly some cheese and fruit, maybe a grilled cheese sandwich.

Later on, there’s lunch. And, perhaps, an afternoon snack ... a little something, as Pooh bear would say, like a cookie or some fruit just to tide me over. Dinner, of course, is a proper family meal.

And then there’s a late night snack, something to carry me through until Hobbes wakes me up again with his stare-down.

It may be my metabolism. It may be that I eat just enough at odd times of the day to sustain myself and to take the edge off my hunger, rather than having large scheduled meals at regular times.

Other people say, when perusing a food magazine, that it makes them hungry to look through the issue. Other people say, when watching a show on the Food Network, that it makes them hungry to see what’s being made or eaten.

This is how I spend virtually every waking moment of my life: consumed by food. I’m immersed in recipes, pictures of food, questions about ingredients, writing about cooking, food-themed movies ... a day-long onslaught. And it makes me hungry.

But Hobbes, of course, is not a food writer, reader, watcher, or learner whose appetite is nudged all day long. I think he just likes the comfort of knowing that he has a meal waiting for him, in addition to the kibble that’s omnipresent.

Whether that’s a hold over from his days wandering the neighborhood before he came to our home, or simply a way to have his personal servants do his bidding, I’m not sure. It’s likely a bit of each.

Nah, he’s a cat — it’s likely just the latter. He knows that, since Mom is someone who likes to feed others, he’s got the perfect patsy.

He found his way to the right home.

Contact Mary Bilyeu at 
mbilyeu@theblade.com 
or 419-724-6155.

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