There is dramatic whining, panting, and warbling, followed by wild eyes and manic scrambling. It looks something like this:
[K enters, stage right. The stress of being a single mother hangs thick in the air around her as J wags his entire body in anticipation of Lord knows what.]
K: Do you need to go potty?
[K shifts nervously, anxious at potentially being discovered speaking to her dog as though he were a toddler or slow cousin.]
[K opens the door, stage left. J sprints out at warp speed, scrabbling nails over the linoleum and tripping over not one, but two doorway thresholds in the process. K shakes her head knowingly and heads off stage, then stops. She pauses, as though listening, then stomps to the door and flings it wide.]
[The distant sound of thunder rumbles in the distance, like maybe three states over for chrissake, and J puts his paw tentatively on the accursed threshold, begging. K motions him inside.]
K: OK, you can come in, but I'm not letting you back out in three minutes when—
[Suddenly, a chorus of dog voices rises from across the back fence, like the sound of hyenas in a cement mixer. K's face visibly darkens, while J's lights up like a Vegas New Year.]
J: Herrrrrrrrrnh! Herrrnh herrnh herrrrrrrn!
K: Motherfather. Fine.
[The door opens, and secondary scrabbling and graceless bounding commence. Mosquitos swarm the stage, and the lights dim on another night of domestic bliss on the Woodside.]
And I feel guilty, I do. I mean, sometimes I want to leave him out in the downpour or make him wear galoshes so he'll stop tracking paw prints across my cleaned-for-once-in-its-godforsaken-life kitchen floor, but also there's guilt. It's been three weeks since J had a decent walk, a decent amount of attention, or a decent bloodthirsty romp along the fence line. Then, last night ...
well, I ran out of dog food. OK, technically I ran out of food the night before, but I can't be expected to remember these things! I have ... you know, stuff. IMPORTANT stuff.
But I didn't want to go back out. It was raining and I was lazy and my mother says I am not allowed to go out of the house after dark. It was true when I was 4 and it is apparently still true today, and who am I to argue?
And so I began to think. Who do I know who's as basically insane as I am on the subject of pups? I only had to get to "basically insane" before I knew the answer: Rachael Ray.
RayRay has a whole section of her magazine (Every Day? Everyday? with Rachael Ray) devoted to the foods she cooks for her pit mix, Isaboo, who has a sweet face with desperate eyes that beg for a new name and a life without Marlboro Reds and Creepy John.
Based on the foodstuffs on hand, I settled on Carrots-and-Peas Orzo. Even though I had no peas. Meh, details. I decided to make it Carrots-and-Broccoli Orzo, because I've fed J broccoli before, and even though he won't throw a ticker-tape parade for it, his brain is too small to register anything more than HUMAN FOOD! before he gulps it down and the look of betrayal has time to settle in.
You boil away carrots
and broccoli with a little salt in one pot,
and orzo in another.
Yes, in copper pots.
We are not barbarians; we are crazy people. There's a difference.
When the orzo is cooked (about 7 minutes) and the broccoli and carrots are tender (about 12 minutes), the vegetables go into the tiny food processor with a little cooking liquid for a quick puree.
J, who had been dancing around my ankles for 15 minutes, promptly retreated to safe floor space. How do you feel about the processor, J?
While he guarded the hardwoods, I made a difficult decision. Considering the lethal potential of J's digestive system, was this wise?
What the hell. It was a swinging singles Thursday night on the Woodside. I was drunk on Tylenol Nighttime, and J would have his cheese!
The vegetable puree, pasta, and cheese get mixed together to serve.
Yes, I molded it and sprinkled a garnish on top and served it on my fine china. I was really, really pleased with myself at this point. It might have been the Tylenol.
(Note: Never serve a dog food from a plate. Sure, you're feeling adorable and kicky from cough medicine, but one sweep of the tongue and the whole shebang flops into the floor. Didn't slow J down, but it diminished my satisfaction. Have you seen that Cesar dog eat? All dainty nibbles and snout licked clean? Yeah, no.)
Nevertheless, guilt be gone!
Oh, wait. Having seen this recipe now, in the light of day, I see that it makes two servings. I halved it, so that means it makes one serving. And I gave J half of what I made. This is at least my second episode of inflicting inadvertent starvation on the dog.
Guilt be back.