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From the Archives: Salad Days, and a Certain Tortie in the Salad Bowl

cats and garden
The garden stewards, Namir and Cookie, and the controlled chaos of my garden in spring.

On this day in 2009, Namir watches for critters while Cookie supervises my harvest, or perhaps she’s planning on a sip of my coffee, in the controlled chaos of my garden in springtime. Cookie’s determined expression as she walks toward me means she had been away for “a while” and it might have been too long, the human may have been distracted by the task at hand and Cookie needed to set things to right. I adore Namir’s alert expression as he watches likely a little rodent he’d like to kill, yet he stays loyal and by my side. If you look closely at the side of his neck you can see a square shaved patch. He’d been in the emergency ward a few weeks before for congestive heart failure, and in truth he had a little less than two months with us.

First thing in the morning is the best time to harvest salad greens, especially if they are the first of the year, so I took my coffee with me and my garden cats supervised the entire operation. I managed to get a precious clear and candid shot of the two of them before they realized I was photographing them from my position of leaning over the greens and picking with one hand while I brought up the camera and took the shot with the other. Don’t worry about all the stuff in the background—once the garden was in and producing and the sun was high and hot, the three of us started on the hoses and buckets and carefully organized things in the shade under the deck.

As we have Shakespeare to thank for so many wise and perceptive phrases still used today, the phrase “salad days” has little to do with a mix of greens with dressing, yet it does have to do with themes of youth and “greenness” as well as an application to the photo above. The phrase first appeared in 1606 in Antony and Cleopatra as Cleopatra compared her current passion for Marc Antony to her former love for Julius Caesar, declaring her earlier dalliance to be the indiscretion of youthful naïeveté as in her “salad days” she was “green in judgement”. Through the years the salad shifted from the fleeting inexperience, innocence or foolishness of youth to a later time of life when a person, group, organization or concept is or was (usually the latter) at the peak of ability or popularity, as in “the good old days”.

So above we have a cavalcade of meanings, literally collecting the short-lived salad greens at the peak of their youth, and I also remember both the fleeting moments of joy with these two in the peace of my garden as well as “the good old days” when Namir and Cookie were both still with me. So much in one picture, and a place to start and let my mind wander, coming back to this moment.  

. . . . . . .

Cookie Dough in the Salad Bowl

So even though this series of photos were taken in June of 2011, Cookie was famous for this for years, and this very bowl was the destination for those salad greens once they’d been rinsed and trimmed and dried. Once we took the tortie cat out of the bowl, that is. This is the theme for May in my 2013 calendar In the Kitchen With Cookie —the photos and the recipe are below along with information on ordering the calendar; even though it’s nearly half way through the year, you can always use the recipe and look at the photos.

tortoiseshell cat in salad bowl
Cookie Dough in the Salad Bowl

These photos are a sweet memory of one of Cookie’s most endearing habits—climbing into just about anything she could fit into, especially something round like her, and having a bath and a nap to try it out. I loved her natural curiosity and eagerness to explore the unknown and her simple happiness at fitting herself into a new thing, whatever unconventional cat container that might be, especially in the kitchen. And Cookie had good sense because for all that I get out the pots and pans and bowls and I cook and can food and make large batches of soup and so on, she never even came close to being hurt in any way as some would worry. Another cat I would have discouraged. Cookie could get away with anything.

Yes, she’s sleeping in the salad bowl. Judging by the other things she’s chosen to curl up and nap inside, she seems to like round things; perhaps it’s because Cookie has always been a little round thing herself most of her life. That’s what you get for choosing the name “Cookie” (she really did, read Cookie and Me, Our 18th Anniversary!)

tortoiseshell cat in glass bowl
Cookie Dough swirls in the bowl.
tortoiseshell cat in salad bowl
Where’s Cookie?

There were no salad greens in the bowl; under Cookie’s supervision I had begun making a salad from the last of them and washed and rinsed the bowl, dropping a little dishcloth in the bottom to soak up the last of the water, then the phone rang.  I set down the bowl and answered, coming back a few minutes later to continue my salad, looked around the room and wondered where Cookie was since she’s nearly always on the cabinet where she also eats.

Then I looked a little more closely at the scene and discovered Cookie Dough in the salad bowl. You have to know that Cookie Dough was one of the first nicknames I found for the roly poly little speckled kitty, especially for her propensity to curl up in round things and look like a lump of cookie dough, chocolate chips and all (her first name was Chocolate Chip Cookie).

Because I was out of salad greens and didn’t want to disturb her, I left her there. Every time I went to put the bowl away until I went to the market, Cookie was in it, so, of course, I continued taking photos!

And from the back she really looked like Cookie Dough, or perhaps a nice dark bread dough, rising in the bowl. This reminds me of the cartoon by B. Kliban entitled “How to tell a cat from a meatloaf” (check for ears and tail).

tortoiseshell cat in glass bowl
How to tell Cookie from Cookie Dough (check for ears).

Cookie is always patient with me and my camera and sketch pad and other such things, but sometimes she just wishes she could get in a good nap.

tortoiseshell cat in bowl
The Tortie Look, translation not available on a family-oriented site.

But the truest test of any container in which Cookie might fit herself is whether or not it’s good for a bath. Not quite like the Renoir “The Bather”, but round and soft-looking nonetheless. Love the little pink paw pads.

tortoiseshell cat bathing in bowl
The Bath.

. . . . . . .

May In the Kitchen With Cookie

Yes, she’s sleeping in the salad bowl…


I rarely use salad dressing, but use mixed colorful greens with lots of flavor and texture, a variety of fresh vegetables, olives and feta cheese, and dress each salad individually with the juice from half a lemon (or a tablespoon of bottled), a tablespoon or two of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Here’s the two-page spread for May:

The two-page spread for May "In the Kitchen With Cookie"
The two-page spread for May “In the Kitchen With Cookie”


image of cat calendars
2013 desk and journal calendars!

Read more about “In the Kitchen With Cookie”
and “Compositions in Black and Green”

Click the image of the calendars to go to my “calendars” page to read more about each one including what photos are featured on each page and, for In the Kitchen With Cookie, which recipe is featured. I’ve provided a book-flip slideshow so you can browse the pages too.

Both calendars are $5.00 each plus shipping. I’d love to know my cats were in your home! Well, virtually, at least!

Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

© 2014 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Bok Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!





From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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