Cat Bearing Gifts
by Shirley Rousseau Murphy is part of her mystery series that features talking cats (literally talking in human language, not just in 'cat'). I am intrigued by this group of felines who have not only gathered a group of humans who cater to them (I wish I was fed as well as they are) but who are the most adept of sleuths as the criminals in their small town would never dream that the cats staring at them are actually taking note of their actions. There are quite a few stories in this series which started with just a couple of cats (Joe Grey and Dulcie) and the humans they associate with plus a bewildered police chief who gets telephone calls from an informant or two that he can't identify. Over the years, those who know about these special cats have increased and more mystical elements have been introduced to explain their origin. A talking kitten was added to the mix and many of the humans have found their own mates. I have missed a few stories in the series but each story can stand alone and the most recent one features even more interconnected humans and talking felines. One naturally has to suspend belief (I am still picturing them using cell phones and scratching my head) but there are such nice descriptions of the various characters, both two- and four-legged, that each story draws me in nicely. This is not my favorite of the series and that may be due to the fact that I am behind and haven't read the past few books so there are more characters that I am not familiar with but I enjoyed revisiting some of my favorites.
A few weeks ago, I tried making potato and ham soup and learned about making the flour mixture for thickening the soup. I tend to experiment in the kitchen (unlike the hubby who likes to plan everything meticulously) so the third time I made this particular soup, I diverted some of the roux (flour/butter/milk mixture). I had purchased some lovely large button mushrooms, and unlike the technique used by most chefs...I don't just brush the dirt off, I actually skin the mushrooms...sliced them and boiled them with a little chopped onion and chicken bouillon. I took about 1/3 of the roux that I was supposed to add to the potato ham soup and poured it into my mushroom concoction. It was fantastic! I will probably have to experiment more with proportions because my only complaint was that it wasn't thick the way I typically enjoy cream of mushroom soup but I still think it was quite tasty. Slowly, I continue to add to the repertoire!