Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Of cats, nursing and how-to books

I am fostering a wonderful Mama cat for our local Humane Society. This is the fourth Mama we are fostering and I absolutely love it. These mama cats are usually strays or abandoned and by going to a private home rather than the shelter, they have a nice, warm, safe, quiet place to give birth. The kittens can then also get used to house noises and be socialized before going to the shelter to be adopted, once they are weaned.

I am still in wonderment over the whole process, even after four litters. I love watching the kittens nursing happily, while Mama lies there purring gently, also looking quite content.

Mama cats know exactly what to do. Nobody ever told them a thing, they just know. When they give birth, they cut the umbilical cord, they clean the kittens who somehow know to find their way by smell (their eyes being closed) to Mom to start nursing. Mom cleans everything up.

I also observed that Mom lies on one side to nurse, and the next time, she switches to the other side. How does she know to do that?

She didn't read parenting or how-to books. She didn't take birthing or breastfeeding classes. And, gasp, she didn't even consult a lactating expert!

Could it be that us humans have lost the ability to rely on our instincts and learn instead to rely on books to tell us how to do everything? It seems so if you walk through your local bookstore: there are self-help and how-to books for virtually everything these days. Same thing with information on the Internet. There's a website for everything. Information overload!

The kicker? There's even a parenting expert who wrote a book on how to learn to rely more on your instincts to raise your child.

My instincts tell me I don't need that book. So there.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pet Peeve of the Month: Recipe Overload

You can basically buy magazines about anything these days. Today, at the book store for example, I saw a magazine completely dedicated to Poker. A whole magazine. On Poker. And there are magazines about knitting, sailing, racing, motorcycling, travelling, painting, sewing, gaming, computing and so on and so forth.

These highly specialized magazines target very specific audiences, who delight in being able to read and learn about something they are passionate about.

So tell me why then, every magazine ever printed in the world has to have recipes in it?

When I buy a decorating magazine, it seems fair to me that its whole content should be dedicated to decorating. Same goes for fashion. When I want to know what is the new in colour this fall, I don't want to know how to make petits-fours! I'm really not interested.

Yes, you know what I'm going to say next: if I wanted recipes, I WOULD BUY A RECIPE OR COOKING MAGAZINE!

I don't know why every magazine publisher thinks we're desperate for more recipes, but let me tell you, there is a gazillion recipe books out there, I think we're good as far as recipes go. Besides, everybody I've ever known ends up using the same tried and true 10 or 12 recipes over and over again.

So to anybody out there who is in the magazine business, take note. Stop using recipes as page fillers and give us more substance, more of what we're actually after. (I know, I know, what about all the ads, but that's a necessary evil.)

Magazine readers of the world, you don't need to thank me when your next issue of Cigars Monthly arrives in your mailbox, without useless recipes you don't want in the first place and more pages dedicated to your favourite subject. Enjoy!