Cooking Breakfast for my Best Friend

… with love and loyalty
(c) 2017, Davd

“If you want love and loyalty,” i read from some Feminist source or sources, “don’t get a wife, get a dog.”

If any of you readers has a citation for that sneer, please provide. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were several variations in the wording, all confessing that women don’t treat marriage as loyally as good dogs treat their close human relationships.

(Let’s edit that “women” into “all too many women….” Let’s allow for the possibility that faithful, loyal, co-operative women exist, even by the millions. Let’s make a major project, of “seeing to it that” all children born from now on, are born to faithful, loyal, co-operative mothers1 — but let’s not forget what The Sneer is telling us: Millions of other women are not faithful, loyal, and co-operative.2)

My own experience fits with the Sneer: I have received love and loyalty from several good dogs3 during my 75 years, and i’m divorced (at her initiative), not married.

The main body of this blog is about giving more back to Fritz, my faithful, loyal, co-operative canine companion of these days, while recognizing that he’s not a human. It began, i suppose, with that old phrase “a dog’s breakfast.”

Fritz eats bones, and enjoys eating them. I don’t. He has a lifespan that i can hope will be more than one-seventh of the human lifespan, but won’t get longer than one-fifth. Many delights of my table wouldn’t interest him: Apples, broccoli, carrots, dill, endive, … and i won’t take you through the rest of the alphabet; you get the idea. I can cook up a real treat for Fritz’ breakfast, using mostly foods i wouldn’t eat anyway; and more mornings than not, this year and the past few years, that’s what i have done.

If i had a big, serious kitchen and big, serious stock pots, i might boil bones sometimes and make soup stock. It’s a good practice and adds glucosamine, a protein valuable to joint health, to your diet. In fact, it’s been more than two years since i had a big, serious kitchen, and i don’t get enough bones at one time to make that soup stock. I do get a few from time to time, and Fritz gets the flavour and glucosamine they produce.

The fat i trim off pork chops and some cuts of beef, sometimes even from chicken legs, would be bad for me, so goes the conventional wisdom. Fritz, with his shorter lifespan, probably doesn’t have time to develop clogged arteries from eating lots of fat, and he definitely enjoys eating it: I avoid a risk to my health by adding a pleasure to his breakfast.

Meat, especially meat that gets frozen for storage and later thawed for cooking, oozes “juice” that all too often is thrown away. I save that “juice”, if it’s at all practical to save it, and boil it the next morning with some fat and maybe some bones4, in a small cooking pot. If the bone, fat, or “juice” had started to decay, the boiling will kill any bacteria involved and minimize the risk to Fritz’ digestion. It also flavours the water, which is also important.

I boil Fritz’ dog food enhancements in a minimum of water, and when they have boiled for a minute or two, i take them off the heat and add about twice the amount of water they boiled in. That reduces the temperature to where i can put a finger or thumb into it without getting burned. I figure cooling the water that much, will prevent its heat from degrading any vitamins in the dry dog food [“kibble”] that i then put into the water.

Then i let the kibble swell and soften by taking up the water… a matter of 10-15 minutes in my experience, though if i’m busy paying attention to something else, the dog food and enhanced water can sit half an hour with no harm. Fritz often reminds me if i’ve let his special breakfast wait longer than the usual 10-15, which is a good (and true) indication that he enjoys it a lot more than he does generic, “nutritionally complete” dry dog food.

“Dry and wet are best for your pet” is a slogan i’ve seen fairly often recently. I began cooking Fritz’ dog’s breakfast months, probably years before i first saw it; and i’ve normally kept the relatively boring, dry kibble available for him after feeding him that special breakfast. If he’s really hungry, he’ll eat dry kibble; the special breakfast is — special. A treat… and also, more bone, meat [juices] and fat than dry dog food alone would provide him.

Reading the nutritional part of a [kibble] dog food bag, i see that minimum protein, fat, and calcium contents are declared; which implies to me that it would be good for the dogs eating that food, for it to contain even more. Making up Fritz’ special breakfasts, i add meat protein, animal fat, and sometimes, bone calcium and phosphorus that, i’m convinced, make the food more nourishing as well as more enjoyable.

It’s a small part of what i ought to be doing for my best friend.5

Notes:

1. Yes, this project will entail a lot of sexual restraint on the part of us men; and deserves to be the subject of a future blog.

2. How many millions of women are best described by The Sneer (as much less faithful, loyal, and co-operative than a good dog); and how many millions are faithful, loyal, and co-operative (worth marrying), i cannot usefully estimate, at least not yet.

3. I have met with dogs who were short on love or loyalty; and women (including my sister and grandmother) who had them in abundance. Overall, in this Feminist-so-far century, and for that matter in the second half of the last, faithful, loyal, co-operative women have made up a significantly smaller fraction of all women, than faithful, loyal, co-operative dogs have been, of all dogs. The Sneer has too much truth in it.

4. Chicken and turkey leg and wing bones, and fish bones, don’t go into the water; it’s a general rule not to feed them to dogs because they might have sharp ends that could poke a hole into a dog’s digestive tract. Not a risk to take.

As it cooks, meat juice tends to turn a tan colour and firm up. Stirring the pot as it approaches boiling, including scraping meat juice off the edges and bottom, will mix that meat juice into the water and make the dog’s breakfast more appealing through and through.

5. I do give him small treats when i eat meat (but not nearly as much relative to my portion, as his weight is relative to mine) and go walking with him when i would rather stay in out of the rain. Most important, i tell him, often, things like “I love you, my friend”, and the classic, the sentence i spoke to his predecessor and mentor George as we headed across Canada in 2005: I’m glad you’re here.

Marriage will be back where it belongs, when most men can honestly tell their wives, daily, I’m glad you’re here… and when most men hear that same sentiment from their wives without hinting for it. Meanwhile, there is all too much truth in The Sneer, and i don’t expect to see marriage back where it belongs before i die. I thank my Creator that i do have love and loyalty in my daily life; and it is only fair that i reward it with the work of cooking a special breakfast as well as with words.

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About Davd

Davd (PhD, 1966) has been a professor, a single father keeping a small commercial herb garden so as to have flexible time for his sons, and editor of _Ecoforestry_. He is a practicing Christian, and in particular an advocate of ecoforestry, self-sufficiency horticulture, and men of all faiths living together “in peace and brotherhood” for the fellowship, the efficiency, and the goodwill that sharing work so often brings.

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