Thursday, July 9, 2015

Rack Does Not Want His Food. He Wants Mine.

Up at 5AM, we go through our normal routine.

Rack has been getting more excited about exploring Wilton Manors lately.  He's been dragging me on a mile and a quarter and then some, almost two full KM walk each morning.

I could use the exercise, he could use the exercise, and it's great mental stimulation for him

Great, it's a win-win.  He is showing that he's less afraid of that monster five lane highway that is Wilton Drive since I specifically take him through there every morning to get him less afraid.

We get on the last block to the house and he's tugging to go home just like he's expressing his opinion by selecting longer routes to extend our pre-dawn march around town.

I got back and got delayed.  I had to make coffee, get some things running, a couple downloads, and other odds and ends.  His breakfast got delayed a bit as a result.

That grey brown stuff in a purple bowl is one of the highest quality foods we could find on the No China and No Grain Food List that I keep to religiously.  It's the color it is because it is soaked in water to soften it.  Rack is missing a "Pre-Molar" and without that tooth, dry food can be difficult.  Soft food is just a major headache and expensive as well.

But he doesn't like it.  Or rather, he doesn't seem to.  I was used to Lettie, my departed dog.  If I tossed a bit
of food in the air, she'd get it before it hit the ground.  To feed her by hand, I had to tell her to "Take Nice" or I'd feel teeth hit my skin.  That's more normal.  To give a "normal" feeder a pill, wrap it in a piece of cold cut and toss it over your shoulder.  It wouldn't hit the ground either.  In fact, the act of going into the kitchen meant you would have a dog on your heels before your hand touched the fridge door!

Rack, well, he's a ultra-beta dog.  I have to go out of my way to remember to praise him until his tail is wagging that he's done something right.  That includes eating.  His bowl is on a stack of bowls as a stand to put them at the right height.  The food is the right temperature, not too hot, not cold.  It has to be softened but not too soft. 

Yes, he is picky.  If I just toss it in a bowl and walk away, he starves himself.  A normally 50 pound dog, he hovers in the mid to lower 40s and when I tried that "take the bowl away" trick, he skipped three meals and went down to the high 30s in an eye blink.

No.  That's cruel.  I have to be involved.  Tapping the bowl, spinning it around, drawing his attention to his food, holding it under his nose.

That's the trick.  Eventually he eats it.  Grain free, all meat, no poultry. 

Then the praise, then he wandered off and hid.

I swear, he's part cat.

But I wanted Pork for lunch.  Specifically, Char Siu Pork, cooked in the crock pot.  Chinese Barbecue Pork.  Savory and slightly sweet.  It's the same recipe as the little bits of sweet pork you get in Pork Fried Rice.  The sauces take a little time to make but they can be made ahead of time, and the pork should really marinade overnight, but it isn't required.

I started out to the kitchen.  I heard the thump of a tail hitting the plastic of the crate.  Four feed padded almost silently into the kitchen and stopped.   I had company.  I was having twin brown eyes staring at me, turning into lasers to burn holes through my resolve not to feed, and my heart.

I'm a soft touch.  I admit it.

I started to make the first sauce.  Hoisin sauce.  It's a sweet garlic sauce.  Dark and deep brown, it's used in a lot of Asian Cuisine.  It is also quite expensive at the stores, so I found a killer recipe to make the stuff

Reaching into the fridge for the Soy Sauce, even Oscar the Parrot got involved.  "HELLO!".

No, you silly bird, you don't want any of that!

I did wander back, stepping around the speed bump that is Rack, and opened up Oscar's cage.  In reality, Oscar just wanted some Out Time.

Coming back into the kitchen, I stepped around the black and white cookie that was my dog, the canine Speed Bump, and got the honey out of the cupboard.

See a trend?  This repeated for each of the ingredients for the Hoisin sauce.  While the hoisin sauce is excellent on its own for recipes, I wanted Char Siu.  The spices were different. 

Rack was still staring.  I went to put the peanut butter away.  Rack's ears perked. 

"Show me what you want, boy?"

Rack stared at the peanut butter jar. 

"Oh here you go" I gave him a little peanut butter on the tip of the butter knife and went back to making sauces.

Tossing the Hoisin into the crock pot, I added the other spices to the mix to change it to Char Siu. 

Normally, this step of making the sauces and marinades takes about 10 minutes to complete.  20 with help from my Rack.

All that stepping around the furry speed bump would slow me down.

I got my sauce done with the addition of the last bit of honey and sesame oil and stirred it in the crock pot with a whisk. 

Rack was still staring.

I grabbed the pork that was on the counter and slid it into the crock pot.

At this point, Rack went into overdrive. 

"No, Rack, it has onions, you can't have any".

A McNab Dog, like my Rack, the McNab SuperDog (TM) is an amazing creature.  If you have never experienced it, you have to take my word for it.  You speak in English, he learns abstract concepts.  I told him before that "Onions will kill you, you can't have any" and any time he hears onions, he stops begging.  Like a light switch. 

Yeah, that smart.  Freaky smart.  I am waiting for him to pick up on the Spanish I am trying to learn.

Donde esta los calcitines?  Los Calcitines es aqui, en sus pies.

(or something like that.)

He left the kitchen at this point.  Went out to the front room, sniffing around clearing the floor of Oscar's food, wandering around the house in a Perimeter Search, and made himself scarce.

He understands Onions.  Smart boy.

I still had another bit of work to do clearing out all the spices and wiping up the counter.  He decided it was no longer time to beg.

So, being a soft touch has its benefits.  I get company of the best sort in the Kitchen.  Rack doesn't demand much, although he does beg for food.  I don't get told that I put too much onion in the sauce, or I'm overcooking something, or I need to add something to thicken the barbecue sauce instead of reducing it. 

I've heard all that before.  Too many cooks spoil the broth and get growled at by the Chef anyway.

But Dog, go eat your own food without any back talk first, OK? 

It's almost as hard as getting me to eat Olives. 

No.  I won't do it.  I'll call out for Pizza first!  Even crappy frozen pizza before olives.

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