January 3, 2014
Woke up to frosted windows, a first time sight in this country house. The old plastic thermometer hanging on a back porch post read 46° (8°C) and the gloomy sky made it seem even colder. Didn’t stop the dog from diving through her door and hitting the yard at a run but she obviously realized something was different because not ten minutes later she was back inside curled up on the bed. Most times her early morning outside-inventory takes at least an hour before coming inside for a bowl of food.
One more day without thoughts drifting to a wider world where the view is filtered through Safari windows. The situation will likely be different tomorrow; a repair technician is on his way with all the necessary replacement parts. Meanwhile, I sit bundled on the back porch with a new dog cookbook, The Culinary Canine, figuring which of the thirty recipes will work for Farina. At first glance, one or two show a list of ingredients that this country kitchen can’t afford, but others show food that I already use frequently in stirring up the dog’s dinner. The dog owner who thinks dogs should never be given human food, that a bowl of dry kibble serves a dog’s needs just fine, then stop reading here. If the thirty-one dog owners, trainers and veterinarian who added recipes and opinions to this book are even halfway right, a dog will be healthier with a mixed diet that includes a whole lot more than kibble. But I realize there is another side to the question and I’m certainly not qualified to endorse either side wholeheartedly—just an ordinary guy who loves his dog and wants her to both enjoy her food and grow stronger because of it.
Let’s start with a few suggested ingredients in the making of fido’s dinner, or in some cases treats or snacks. Not one recipe but a scatter shot of several: half of a French baguette, a sweet potato, spinach, goat or lamb shanks, Spanish chorizo, parsley, blueberries, green beans, celery, quinoa, filet of bluefish… I’m more of a mind for something along the lines of chicken, carrots, rice and peas, so what does the cookbook offer along those lines? Here’s one…
MAXIMUS’S POACHED CHICKEN, BROWN RICE & BLUEBERRIES
1 pound chicken breast (skinless and boneless)
4½ cups chicken broth
1½ cups brown rice
3 medium carrots
(The original recipe specifies organic everything, but regular works fine out here in the country.)
Directions: In one saucepan, poach the chicken in the chicken broth until tender. In another saucepan, cover the brown rice with water and let it cook slowly. Juice 2 of the carrots and slice the other one. Cook the carrot slices in the carrot juice until soft. Drain the carrots and add them to the cooked rice. Cut the chicken into small pieces and add it to the carrots and rice. Mix and let cool. Serve topped with blueberries.
Sounds pretty human to me, and also very tasty. I would also pour about half a cup of the chicken broth into the mixture because I know my dog likes chicken broth.