My wonderful mother turned a happy and healthy 95 this week, which explains why I wound up eating dog food.
Several parallel stories, some speculative, need to be told in order for this to make sense. The first thing to know is that Beth is an excellent cook, and has a skill for turning a few random ingredients into something memorable.
We had been working on a home-improvement project over the weekend, which left little time for a planned menu. So Beth raided the freezer, where she found a partial bag of shrimp — the one you get at Costco with enough crustaceans to repopulate SeaWorld — and a pint of scallops that we get from a guy who drives to the coast for a haul of seafood every couple of months.
These she served over white rice that was in the house only because we had needed it to feed a sick animal some months previous. Neither of us are particularly big fans of white rice, because it doesn’t really taste like anything and it’s so expansive that after two forkfuls, you feel as if you have eaten the entire side of a wildebeest.
So we kind of picked out most of the good stuff, but there was still a considerable amount of leftovers. We put those in a piece of Tupperware (whose lid was apparently eaten by zombies) and threw it in the fridge and went back to work.
I make the dogs’ breakfast each day, which is a mix of half dry and half canned — the latter designed to make the former more palatable. It’s supposedly a “natural” product that in truth is just regular dog food with a few peas thrown in for show, to make you think it’s healthy.
As far as dietary habits, our two dogs are very different.
Left to his own devices, Pete would eat broken glass if you put it in his bowl. Addie, however, is as finicky as a cat. We have chickens, so she likes it when I substitute eggs for canned food, and she also finds it acceptable if I stir a spoonful of bacon grease into the mix.
Otherwise, she will leave her breakfast untouched all day. Unfortunately Pete, her half brother, adores Addie and takes every last cue from her. So starved as he might be, he won’t eat if she won’t eat. Which was the case on mom’s birthday.
On Tuesday, we were going to my brother’s house to celebrate, and come 2 p.m., the dogs still had not touched their food. So the options were: 1. Do nothing, and make their increasing hunger punishment for failing to eat. 2. Pack up their bowls and take them along. 3. Goose their food, so they would eat.
I ruled out No. 1 because psychological warfare isn’t terribly effective on dogs, and I doubted their ability to put 2 and 2 together, to wit, “next time we better eat our breakfast because we might not get another chance.” I ruled out No. 2 because it was too much work, and I knew I’d inevitably forget to bring the bowls home.
So my thoughts turned to the rice.
I pulled out the plastic bowl and began carefully spooning the rice into their dishes, being sure not to include any of the precious seafood. I returned the remaining leftovers to the fridge and went to give the dogs their enhanced dinners. Then I saw it. A fat scallop had escaped and landed smack in a mound of canned dog food.
Because dog food is rather viscous, you cannot just extricate a scallop without a little coming along for the ride. So the resulting dilemma was obvious. But when the scallops are wild-caught, expensive and exquisite, one must make choices. And anything with peas can’t be all bad.