The internet says science is not sure
how cats purr, probably
a vibration of the whole larynx,
unlike what we do when we talk.
Less likely, a blood vessel
moving across the chest wall.
As a child I tried to make every cat I met
purr. That was one of the early miracles,
the stroking to perfection.
Here is something I have never heard:
a feline purrs in two conditions,
when deeply content and when
mortally wounded, to calm themselves,
readying for the death-opening.
The low frequency evidently helps
to strengthen bones and heal
Say poetry is a human purr,
vessel mooring in the chest,
a closed-mouthed refuge, the feel
of a glide through dying.
One winter morning on a sunny chair,
inside this only body,
a far-off inboard motorboat
sings the empty room, urrrrrrrhhhh
by Coleman Barks from Winter Sky
Sunday, October 5, 2008
14 tablespoons unsalted butter; divided, cut into 14 pieces, and softened
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided
7 tablespoons dark rum, divided
3 large, ripe but firm bananas, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
1/2 cup whole milk
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease eight 8 ounce ramekins and set them on a large, rimmed baking sheet.
2. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup of the brown sugar and cook while whisking constantly, until the mixture is thoroughly combined - about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and whisk in 2 1/2 tablespoons of the rum and a pinch of salt. Spoon a generous tablespoon of the sauce into each ramekin.
3. Arrange banana slices, on top of sauce, in a concentric circle around one banana slice placed in the center of each ramekin.
4. Whisk the remaining rum, milk, eggs, and vanilla together in a medium bowl.
5. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the remaining 1/3 cup of brown sugar, flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, and zest together. On low speed, beat the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs - about 1 - 3 minutes.
6. Beat in all but 1/4 cup of the milk mixture, then increase the speed to medium and slowly beat in the remaining milk mixture until the batter looks slightly curdled - about 15 seconds.
7. Stir the batter, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to make sure the texture is consistent. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared ramekins - using an ice cream scoop makes this job easier. Tap each of the ramekins to release any air pockets in the batter. (you can wrap the ramekins now and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. If you refrigerate the batter, be sure to let the ramekins sit a room temperature for at least 30 minutes before baking.) Bake the cakes on the rimmed baking sheet, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out with few crumbs attached - about 25 - 30 minutes.
8. Run a small knife around the cakes as soon as they are removed from the oven. Carefully invert the cakes onto individual serving plates and the cakes should release on their own within 5 minutes. Remove the ramekins and enjoy with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
***Bananas Foster is a New Orleans dessert and is traditionally flambéed. These are great for a party and do not introduce the hazard of fire nor the pressure to perform a recipe before your friends.
Recipe adapted by Cristina Paul