Photography by. Bernadette Mira
I grew up with the sheer luck of having at least seven cats at different times through out my childhood. Living in the country these cats tended to roam around the house and in the outside world, which led to most of them ghosting away and never coming back. Yet, there was always another cat to take it’s spot. All of those cats weren’t officially mine and at times I longed for a cat to be only mine that I could take care of.
Yet, there was one exception. A cat we had named Cheeseball who belonged to my middle sister, seemed to grow fond of me over the years. Like my estranged family they ignored most of the pets we had around the house so I watched over Cheeseball like he was my own.
I remember taking photo shoots of Cheeseball, like he was a dashing model posing for every shot. Surprisingly he was quiet patient when it came to me taking photos of him. There were many mornings that I would come out of the bathroom shower and have him greet me at my feet. But if I didn’t pay every bit attention to him he would bite at my legs until I gave him a pat or kiss.
After moving away to go to musical theatre school in New York when I was 20, Cheeseball ended up running off to the neighbor’s house, because my family didn’t take care of him. Every time I would come back home to visit I would long for him to come over to the house, yet he never would. There were many moments when he would just stare at me from afar. It was hard watching him from a distance and not being able to reach him. I miss him still. I’m sure he is off in cat land somewhere chasing the sun and eating to his heart’s content.
I still long for a cat though. A kitten to raise. Maybe it’s because I can’t have children…? I don’t know, but I hope that I can be a mother figure to a kitten one day and give it all the affection in the world. Taking care of something and watching it grow is the most joyful I have ever been.
Blackberry Fig Jam
Makes one 16 oz. can
1 cup of blackberries
2/3 cup of finely diced figs (about 3 figs)
3 tbsp and 1/2 tsp. of granulated sugar
1 cup of water
1 tsp. of cinnamon
1/4 tsp. of nutmeg
1/4 tsp. of coriander
1/2 tsp. of lemon zest
juice from half of a lemon
1/4 cup of cold water
2 tsp. of cornstarch
- In a medium sauce pan, add the blackberries, figs, sugar and water and set on medium to high heat till it starts to simmer and the sugar dissolves. Stirring frequently for about five minutes.
- Lower the temperature to low heat and add the spices and lemon zest.
- Stir for two minutes until the spices dissolve.
- Raise the temperature again to medium heat and add the lemon zest. Let the jam simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After ten minutes, add 2 tsp. of cornstarch to the cup of cold water and stir completely until the starch dissolves. Then add the starch mixture to the jam.
- Stir the mixture into the jam. After a while the jam will start to thicken. Continue to stir for five minutes or so.
- After five minutes set the jam mixture off to the side to cool for ten minutes.
- After ten minutes, use the immersion blender and blend until the chunks of blackberries have liquified.
- Gently pour the jam into a heat safe container, such as a maison jar and close with a tight lid and set in the fridge to cool.
Enjoy this jam along side a creamy hunk of brie and toast.