I know Cats the musical has gone out of style. But whatever you think about basing a musical on people dressed as cats, you could do worse than using the charming poetry of T. S. Eliot. My sister and I saw Cats when it first came to Toronto in 1985 in the beautifully refurbished Elgin Theatre. All these years later, I’m amazed by how many snippets of songs I remember:
“And when you hear a dining room smash
Or up from the pantry there comes a loud crash
Or down from the library comes a loud ping
From a vase that was commonly said to be Ming,
The family will say, ‘Now which was which cat?
It was Mungojerrie AND Rumpleteazer’
And there’s nothing at all to be done about that.”
“Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity
He’s a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity
You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in a square
But when the crime’s discovered, Macavity’s not there!”
But the cat that inspired this week’s post is the oldest – Gus the Theatre Cat:
“Gus is the cat by the theatre door
His name, as I ought to have told you before
Is really Asparagus, but that’s such a fuss
To pronounce, that we usually call him just Gus.”
(Also from memory. It’s no wonder I can’t remember why I went upstairs, if I’m using all this brain space for Cats lyrics.)
I was looking for a simple and seasonal recipe to round out dinner recently, and this asparagus salad was perfect in all regards. It’s incredibly easy and the flavours are so simple that the fresh asparagus shines through. In fact, this salad is so good, it might replace some of those lyrics you’ve been storing in your brain for 28 years.
Asparagus Salad with Balsamic Vinegar Dressing
(adapted from epicurious.com)
2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp good-quality balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp chopped fresh marjoram or 1 tsp dried
1 tsp minced garlic
2 pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Mix balsamic vinegar, oil, mustard, marjoram and garlic.
Cook asparagus in large pot of boiling water until crisp-tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again. Add asparagus and bell pepper to dressing and toss to blend. Sprinkle with pecans and serve.