A friend of Beloved’s was recently told to scale back on his dairy intake, reduce his sugar and avoid all things gluten. Or as Beloved put it, he’s been told to starve. Okay so that’s a bit drastic, but if you eat like Beloved and enjoy the food that Beloved enjoys, it could see, as though you’d starve.
You would think, based on Beloved’s response, that he was the one who was told to cut back. You see if he could, Beloved would live off of potatoes and scones slathered in butter. He would make a meal out of cake and buttercream. Oh sure he’d have some meat and veggies, provided he could have cheese with that, however butter would be a common theme. If he could, Beloved would have butter for all his meals and snacks.
And there is no denying that Beloved can have a sweet tooth that rivals the largest of sweet tooth around the world.
And now Beloved is trying to find a way to create a reduced dairy and sugar meal with no gluten. So he can have his friend over for a meal. Beloved is struggling with finding the recipes that will work and ones he still finds tasty too. The two meals he made so far have been, well, less than stellar. And let’s not even go near the desserts because not even the garbage was happy with his renditions.
Beloved’s sister has decided that we are once again dying for food, or at least he is dying for food from back home. Two large boxes were dropped off in the post today. Boxes that the mailman carried into my house, one at a time. Boxes that the mailman said were heavy. Boxes that said things like “fragile”, “this side up” and a long listing on the declaration from customs.
I’m pretty certain his family believes that if he doesn’t get food “smuggled” from home he will simply die. As if there is no other country that has food to sustain his health. Judging from the looks of Beloved, not to mention the way his buttons are on some of his shirts, I’d say he is amply sustained these days. (He went on a binge of trying new restaurants and insisted on tasting all their baked items at the same time. He has assured me the next binge he will go on is one called walking.)
I left the two boxes where the mailman had placed the, it was after all, as good a spot as any in the house. Beloved would no doubt open them up, remove the contents and then deal with the boxes once he got home, except the four-footed one was having none of this.
She is not the most patient of individuals in this house. But she lacks things called thumbs, which are crucial to opening boxes effectively. She settled for using something called teeth because she has a fair number of them. I figured the boxes would be safe because of how large they were.
I figured wrong though. Within a few minutes the four-footed one was spitting chewed up cardboard onto my carpet and she was proudly protecting the hole she had made in the first box. It wasn’t a large hole, but enough of one for her nose to wiggle into which allowed her to inhale all the different scents of food. Have you ever tried to keep a determined dog away from the source of delicious food scents? It isn’t easy!
That’s why the second box also ended up getting bitten before Beloved came home. I told him that the four-footed one was helping him by creating starter holes he could rip from. (He was not impressed with my logic.)
Thankfully the boxes have been dealt with, now if next time she could send some more storage space, like a whole other room…
Don’t carve a pumpkin this year they said. Pumpkins are so last year they declared. Frankly I wasn’t going to carve pumpkin this year regardless of what anyone said. And then, well then someone shouted that the turnip must be revisited.
You see in some countries where pumpkins didn’t grow, people carved the lowly turnip into grotesques. Well actually some carved them into very real likenesses to human faces. The color would be similar or at the very least nice and pale to represent the dead.
And so it came to be that I was more or pulled into a turnip carving class. For the record I wasn’t really in the mood to attend the class. And for the record I have friends that try to get me out of my house so I cannot become a hermit. (I’m okay with being a hermit, also for the record. Or at least a recluse.)
Carving a turnip is not as easy as it sounds. You must carve out the flesh to the very shapes you desire. And no you don’t hollow out the center apparently. At least that is according to the instructor who held up a very real looking human face captured mid-scream. this face was complete with some teeth and a reddish shade painted into its mouth.
So I should probably fess up right now I, never going to create a human likeness regardless of whether I carve a turnip or sketch it on paper. Mine is going to be more or less a loose interpretation of it, and you may just see the human aspect of it if you have really poor eyesight. Or have been drinking adult beverages for a period of time before viewing my handiwork.
Thankfully the class was only for two hours and we weren’t really expected to produce much, just get started and finish our product on our own for Halloween. So the fact I gashed and dug poorly into my turnip was to be expected. But when we were leaving the instructor asked that we show him our work in progress. He commented on everyone’s. My friend was told she had a nice start where as I was told that he could see I was trying different techniques. This came after he looked down his nose at my turnip.
I think I shall leave this project unfinished and enjoy my turnip the way I always do, as a food.
The vet suggested that the four-footed one should cut back on her treat intake. Now this is a bit like asking a human who happens to be rather fond of something. Something like cake, for example. Now let’s say that this human really likes cake. If is human could, cake would be on the menu for every meals and snacks as well. And if cake were in the menu every day for all meals and snacks, it’s highly likely this human would have at least one piece of cake a day. Every day.
The four-footed one, if allowed to, would consume treats all day every day. And she wouldn’t have to settle for the same this every time. You see her humans thought she’d like a variety of treats. Just to change things up now and then. Which in and of itself isn’t a bad thing.
The bad thing is her humans offering her that’s too many times. Not good. It has created a habit. When her human goes to get a cup of tea or a mug of coffee, she was getting a small treat now and then. Considering at times here are two humans who do this throughout the day and, well, just a perfect storm of treats.
Not that the four-footed complains about treats. She does complains about the lack of treats. I know because I’m the human who has to cut her treat intake back while Beloved is off doing his thing. And by the time he comes home I hope I have a training routine set down. Not for the four-footed one. For Beloved. So he doesn’t constantly reach for a dog treat each time he has a mug of coffee or a cup of tea.
A bit of water, a handful of barley, some peeled and thinly sliced apples along with a dash of cream. A bit of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. He stirred and left it all to cool before calling it just complete. It was, he promised me, far more delicious all pulled together than it sounded.
Of course he added heavy cream, a splash of whiskey and a dash of cinnamon before serving me any of this creation. It was, as he put it, a simple and humble treat that was slightly jazzed up. He said it reminded him of his childhood, slightly altered to a more adult set of tastes.
The four-footed one was pager to give it a try, but neither of us were inclined to share with her. She settled for homemade dog bone while I tried his childhood flavors minus the whiskey. It was, I must say, surprisingly good considering what was in it.
Beloved occasionally makes flavors from his childhood, ways with a warning about how humble or simple it will be. As if I need a reminder or even care that it’s of simple ingredients. What I do are care about, is that he chooses to share it with me. That he takes the time to make it for me. Because how else can you share your childhood with another when you’ve grown up in different circumstances in different countries?
While having a lovely meal with some friends, I couldn’t resist asking one of my friend’s what happens to all the cosmetic fillers people put in their bodies after the person has died. What I wanted to know is if there would be proof long after a person was deceased that said person had used fillers.
Now a brief aside here, all of my friends are used to these odd questions, typically posed while we are sharing food and/or drink. In other words it wasn’t completely out of the ordinary and everyone, well other than Beloved, was okay with this question. Beloved was repulsed by the question. Mostly because he had been enjoying his food and does not want to think of decay while he is eating. I know, he is odd.
I am still waiting for an answer to this question, by the way, as my friend didn’t know. But she promised to check with a few other doctors who do that work more than she does.
And this one, innocent question I posed lead to a most delightful conversation about what to do when you don’t know a loved one’s wishes after s/he has been deceased. My doctor friend causally tossed out the fact that bodies are never released to families any longer, instead just funeral homes etc. The reason being is that some people would not deal with the remains appropriately. She shared stories with us about people who basically lived with their deceased relatives, unembalmed etc. for years.
By this point Beloved was no longer interested in eating and so he pointed out that in some cultures, those who aren’t “afraid of growing old or dying”, have ceremonies where they bring their deceased relatives out each year. Mostly bones of course, but still.
It was around this point the waiter came and asked us if we were finished, not because the restaurant was busy or because we were loud, but rather because he disliked the conversation. So we paid our bills and left, heading to my friend’s house for coffee and such and to carrying no the conversation. We also made a note that we wouldn’t be dinning at that establishment again because we were a bit miffed with the waiter. Although Beloved did point out that the conversation wasn’t one to inspire ones appetite.
One of my neighbor’s has taken to feeding the stray cats in the area. At first he put out a few dishes of food out near the trees where the cats can sometimes been see. He’d collect the empty dishes and set out new dishes full of food on a daily basis. This went on for a few months before he decided to do something different.
He moved the food dishes to his back door to make it easier for him to ensure there was always food and water available for the stray cats. He also started setting out little catnip toys for them to enjoy.
And naturally we started noticing more cats in the area. We also started noticing that some of the birds were disappearing as well as the squirrels. Logically it made sense, increase in cats means a decrease of small animals. It was a tough choice, let the cats starve or realize we might have fewer birds and such. I couldn’t say the cats were eating the birds, which another neighbor suggested, but naturally birds and cats will keep their distance.
The four-footed one didn’t attempt to make friends with the cats. Instead she kept her distance. But when the skunks and foxes started coming into the neighbourhood, well she couldn’t resist these new beings. Thankfully the foxes were too shy to play. As for the skunks, they clearly are used to dogs as they let the four-footed one come up and sniff them. She also tried to play with them. They weren’t interested in play, but thankfully they also didn’t spray.
The neighbor who thought he was helping the cats didn’t believe us about the foxes and skunks. That is until one say when he was setting out the food and a skunk walked right into his house. Of course the skunk didn’t stay, it walked back out of the door which wa still being held open due to shock.
We now have more birds and squirrels on the neighbourhood. And the skunks still visit now and then. As they as passing by.