Saturday, April 5, 2008

Kitchen project


Meet Wiley, the Golden Retard.

5 years ago, a year after we lost our first doggie boy to bone cancer at 8, we adopted him from the So. Cal. Rescue Retriever Society - a great organization. It was akin to adopting a child - we had to give personal and veterinary references, had our home inspected by appointment AND by took about 2 months to complete the process.

Wiley was physically abused and locked outside all day by his former owners. He dug his way to freedom, escaped, was caught and put in a San Diego City shelter 5 times before his owners were fined into submission and were finally persuaded to give him up. His bottom front teeth were worn to the roots from gnawing on his chains and fencing. It took him a year not to cower at sudden movements, or at the sound of the beloved's deep voice. He immediately attached himself to my oldest for sleeping, and me for shadowing during the day. We almost renamed him Eeyore, at first, because he had such a sad, guilty look and sense of impending doom about him until he learned to trust us. Still does on days like...last Sunday. More on that in a bit.

He has only done a few really "bad" things since he came to us - tore up a beloved Raggedy Ann doll, got half of my favorite pair of Birkenstocks and did the same to a pair we got in London for the beloved, got all the Christmas candy once, and on occasion has been known to snout his way into the pantry to hunt and kill boxed goods, like mac-n-cheese, instant oatmeal packets, rice, and a kid-did-not-properly-screw-on-lid peanut butter jar. But all in all, he's been a wonderful addition to the family. After we moved here in 2004, we got him a little bitch buddy (aka, Lilli, the yellow Labradork) to dominate and that made all the difference - perked him up and made him all manly and alpha male-y, and gave her an adopted uncle to torment and take out all her puppy energy on. They have been living in neutered bliss ever since.
So last Sunday, I pulled out my binder with all the old family recipes in it to make a cake - my great-grandmother's recipe, an old "ditto" (purple ink - remember that?) copy on yellowed paper that I've had since stealing it from my mother back in high school. Left the binder on the kitchen countertop, went to 5pm Mass...and when I got home, the binder and all its contents were torn apart and strewn on the kitchen floor. I was (and am) heartsick. I can get most of the recipes back from my mom, sister, and great-aunt...but the old handwritten versions (even though many were dittoes and xeroxes of the originals) were special. You know what I mean, I'm sure.

This week, one of my wedding gifts from 15 years ago - the Betty Crocker Cookbook - was unceremoniously ripped from its shelf on the kitchen island and similarly devoured. While vastly annoying, this I can replace without feeling bereft as I do about my old black vinyl binder. Wonder what the heck was dripped on those, or what prompted this after 4 years of them being in the same place?!?

Well, the answer to all of this may die with Wiley, the BAD boy, but in order to recover, and maybe get some new ideas to freshen things up in my NEW personal binder, I've started a sub-blog - "Brookside Bistro" (cute, eh?) the link's on the blogroll (right).
I'll be posting recipes here and there on the weekends as I reconstruct my binder (finally putting these on a computer after all these years, in the event of another catastrophe - wait, that offends my cat - DOGastrophe). Please, please visit and feel free to contribute your own stand-bys. I'm not asking for Aunt Agatha's secret pie crust recipe or other such proprietary family secrets, but anything that appeals to the masses, kid friendly, appallingly bad for you but yummy, calorie conscious (for after you've indulged in the prior category...), quick, all day, anything you like. All are welcome, I hope to add to your collection, and I appreciate your help!


the mother of this lot said...

Kit, you have amazing patience. I'd have thrown the dog out.

KitBrookside said...

I had a me. But then again, the poor old reprobate (he's 10 now) needs to get in touch with his inner puppy once in a while. The lab is far, far worse.

DigiHairshirt said...


As a fellow crazy dog lady, I understand the horns of the dilemma upon which you sit. To paraphrase a line from Edward Albee's play, "The Zoo Story," I say you "kill the dog with kindness . . . and if that doesn't work, just kill him."

The other night, My Beloved was looking at the dogs and said to me, "Ah, it's just like old times . . . once again, we've got a Corgi and a dumb German." Back in the day, we had Bridie the Wonder Corgi along with Ralph the Dumbest-Ass Weimaraner in the Universe. Ralph, among many other things, ate an arm of our living room couch as a young dog. Dante, fortunately, has a higher IQ.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for dropping by!

Angela M. said...

Sorry about the cookbook - I TOTALLY get it and I feel your pain!

Adrienne said...

He looks so much like Joe, a dog I brought home from the vet I used to work for. He was about 14 and his owners wanted him destroyed. We decided that was not a good option.

He was a Golden and Cocker mix. He wasn't as ambitious as your guy, though. He just lay around and looked sad and loved everybody to a depth we will never reach. We gave him a few more wonderful years. RIP Joe.

KitBrookside said...

Adrienne, I just love stories like that. We were a family without our dog, and he was a dog without a family. I have to say, the RRS really did (and does) a great job. They foster they foster the dogs to make sure they are well behaved enough to go to a family, so even though he was terrified of us at first, he was a good boy and quickly became part of the family fabric. Last night we had a thunderstorm (relatively rare in So. Cal., so these freak him out), and he came and buried his head in my lap. Kids were fine, doggie needed Mommy. The thought of him so desperate to escape and then scared to death in the shelter makes me want to cry.

Terry Nelson said...

I love Wiley - so cute.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. We lost our family recipes in a similar type of disaster about fifteen years ago. The only recipes that have survived are the ones firmly embedded in the heads of my aunt and my mother. Other than that, they're all gone, gone, gone.

And it really is like losing a link with the past. :(