This may seem an odd post as I’m heading off to Europe – but fabulous food pics are promised.
So finally I’m back … anybody there? I could make all sorts of excuses for my tardiness, like the crazy workload at semester’s end or the loss of my beautiful dog Tevye. In truth the dog’s death has thrown me entirely off course.
So how does this relate to food? How do our pets not relate to food? It’s what binds them to us, along with a place by the fire. In the case of dogs I do believe the deal is we feed them and they repel danger, as best they can. Tevye was a big dog and as long as no-one knew what a gentle loving soul he was, I knew I was always safe as long as he was around. He was also a hungry dog. I say this because I’ve been dog sitting for my daughter who is dog-sitting … you know how it goes! And this dog is not a hungry dog, in fact he seems disinterested in food which is a novel experience for me.
The worst place to be after losing a dog is in the kitchen. Tevye loved carrots. I learned about this from dear friend Emma who gives these to her dog Charlie for a treat. To a dog’s palate they must taste very sweet. Tevye loved his carrots and the faintest sound of the peeler was enough to get him into the kitchen, sometimes to be disappointed if I was peeling potatoes or zucchinis.
He died on a Friday and I’m not sure how I survived that weekend, I do remember it involved getting out of the house. By Monday I felt that it was time to cook a meal. I wanted to make a casserole. I braced myself, in fact I willed myself to peel a carrot. But how foolish did I feel looking down at that tear-stained cutting board.
Then there’s the pantry, which was the holy grail of dog biscuits and other treats. As if it were Aladdin’s cave he would spend hours staring through the glass panelled door – willing it to “open sesame”.
I’m okay with peeling carrots now, but can no longer cut the crusts off my toast. I don’t much like the crust, Tev loved it and if it had a hint of vegemite all the better. It was a highlight of his Uncles’ visits.
So I was coping better day by day. And then my daughter became ill and I made a batch of chicken soup. Chicken is generally still difficult because Tevye absolutely loved the cartilage from the drumstick and the fatty bits of skin I try not to eat. But a pot of chicken soup requires a chicken, and carrots. So the next day meant a mass of delicious scraps, devoid of much nutrition after half a day’s cooking, but filling for my hairy stomach on legs. I would happily remove the flesh from the bones and add it to his dry food.
But now there’s no Tevye to eat it. I’m not sure about bones in the compost so in the bin it went, while I gently wept.
I do love the book Stephanie’s Alexander’s Cook’s Companion. But it will never replace my canine companion. I know that one day another canine will keep me company in my kitchen, but it will be a while. “Too soon” as the young’uns say.