Saturday, March 31, 2012

• 2nd Rodent Recipe Challenge: Broccoli

Midnight at the Oasis. It's a great name for a recipe, don't you think? Unfortunately, the concept scared Maggie, my hamster. I created "Midnight" for the Rodent Recipe Challenge, brainchild of Inky the Hamster Mommy. The ingredient for March was broccoli.

My original plan was to julienne a colorful medley of vegetables—broccoli, carrots, red and yellow peppers—and drizzle something on top, perhaps baby food. Hamsters like baby food, probably because of all the sugar in it. But that seemed like a lot of work.

I got Plan B when I looked at Onion's march entry. Halves of hard-boiled eggs were the oases. Broccoli, the palms. Voila. Maggie was fond of both ingredients. I placed the plate in his (yes, Maggie's a boy) play area, knowing he could smell it. Was it the plate that disturbed him? The bulbous green protuberances? Or was it his human mom, kneeling in the midst of everything with camera in hand, tensely waiting for the perfect shot? And yes, I was humming Maria Muldaur.

My baby huddled in a corner, scratching his back on magazine spines. Feeling guilty, I turned off the camera. The point was for Maggie to enjoy the food; I needed to leave him in peace. As we do every night, he ran about as I scooped out dirty bedding from his cage and refreshed his water.

When I came back, Maggie was nibbling on the "oasis" I'd placed in the section of his area that's most private. I took one quick shot and turned off the camera for good. A little egg and broccoli—deconstructed—went in his food bowl for later.

Maggie requested something less structured for April.

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