Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Best Things

People often ask me, "Clementine, what is the best meal you've ever eaten?" When most ask me this, they are looking for a cut and dry answer. A steak bone served to me on my birthday. A stack of pitzels I stole off a table. An aged piece of cheddar that fell on my bed. But a good meal is about so much more than taste. It is about the experience, the company and the lessons learned.

At my last trip to West Bangor, I enjoyed a meal of simple kibble outside in the grass. There was no vegetable tian, no caviar, no salmon and no frills. My dining companions were the wind and the morning dew, the butterflies and the distant quarry. And I have never felt more full or satisfied.

Life is not about how many treats you earn, how many toys you stockpile or how many piles of filth you roll in. It's about taking in nature; her gentle breezes and fierce storms, her lady bugs and lions.

This is why I am a holistic foodie. I am a glutton for life, not a glutton for beef or sugar. American Eskimos have lust for life running through their veins. I simply will not tolerate anything but the best experience I can have. Hounds (other dogs too, but mostly hounds) are about just that: hounding. Begging, whining, gobbling. I have witnessed first hand what happens when you go through life just obsessing over the next treat. You end up on your belly, paws to nose and hiding behind someone's sneakers.

Don't let this happen to you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Return to House on Daly

Against my will, I returned to House on Daly today for an afternoon to evening stay. The day was relaxing enough and I enjoyed carrots and kibble for my dinner (although the carrots were cold and the diagonally cut "carrot chips" and not the baby carrot variety I prefer). The stay was pleasant except for the one usual drawback taking up room on the furniture.

Two snorts of the snoot to House on Daly for this repeat stay.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Little Things: Poetry

As you no doubt can tell from my musings, I enjoy the finer things in life. A vine ripened tomato, the smell of simmering black bean soup, the sound of the dog walker running from your home after taking a look at your bared fangs. Not many know, however, that I also enjoy the ancient art of poetry. I have been wary of sharing my work on my blog after witnessing the commercial, sophomoric work of some of my contemporaries. But I believe that now is my time to showcase the art I have been creating in private.

a dash 'round the table
by clementine dellacava-curcio

a dash 'round the table is a
curious thing on a weekday afternoon
sun filtering through the kitchen window
spilling on the tile illuminating the crumbs of
some forgotten meal
a crust of bread, slice of
day old carrot
i sit by the window
swallowing the sun and breeze while
a brindle load stumbles through the door
past the sunlight, past the
fragrant freshly washed bed where i watch
straight to the kitchen where he
inhales the bread, the carrot, the dust, the decay while
i turn my head to the window
breathing in the fresh air of the day and
eating my fill

(c) 2009 Clementine Dellacava-Curcio

Monday, March 2, 2009

Soft Banana Strips

This looks like a wonderful treat. I have been subtly suggesting my personal chefs to make this recipe but they have yet to pick up on my cues. A shame, really.

Soft Banana Strips

1 egg
1c fast-cook oats
1/2 banana
1/3c milk
1/2c all-purpose flour
1/8c rice

Squash bananas, and beat the egg. Then spread evenly on a plate.
Next, heat in microwave for 3 and 1/2 minutes. When done, let them cool.
Then cut and serve.

It's from (ugh, it pains me to say it) ThePoop.com. I know many of you find The Poop simple, unsophisticated and played out (to say nothing of its awful name) and I agree. But I give credit where credit is due. If you replace the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour and heat the mixture over the stove instead of the microwave, it sounds quite delicious.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Little Things: 25 things about Me

Many personal chefs I know have joined Facebook, a popular social networking site. Some friends of mine have joined as well using the "Dog Book" application but I refuse to accept a second class service. Until Facebook opens its doors to Canine-Americans, I will have no part of it. However, I am a fan of the trend on Facebook to list 25 facts about yourself. Learning about my fellow man and teaching others about myself is a Little Thing I greatly enjoy. So without further ado (or adon't!), I present:

25 Things about Clementine

1. My favorite fruit is the tomato (it is not a vegetable!)
2. Given the choice of rain or snow, I choose snow.
3. I once swam in Michigan pond. This is an experience we do not discuss.
4. I do not like cats.
5. Everytime I see Anthony Bourdain on TV, I want to bite him.
6. I own land in upstate PA, specifically a few trees and poles.
7. My favorite training companion is a stuffed monkey or whatever Gomez is playing with at the time.
8. I am confident that given a private room, fresh drinking water and the advice of three Border Collies, I could solve our current financial crisis.
9. Yearly check ups are essential. But if you ask me, so is biting the vet.
10. I simply cannot tolerate tardiness.
11. My coat is creme with rich beige highlights.
12. I do not like to roll on my back unless I am in the grass.
13. I have read the complete works of Jane Austen.
14. TV is not worth my time (except BBC America of course)
15. Many dogs take an aggressive approach to the mailman but I have a sophisticated plan to stop him (about which I cannot speak).
16. I love to dance.
17. I do not like it when others dance.
18. I don't know what the Wii is exactly but I do hate it greatly.
19. My bad habit is biting my paw.
20. I used to frequent a quiet, unique dog park but word got out about it and everyone started going there so I stopped.
21. Cats are not the only ones who catch mice.
22. Or flies, for that matter.
23. I once stole a whole pile of pitzells off a table. I have no regrets.
24. Except for that time I at a bar of soap (I was young and naive)
25. Classic music. Gotta have it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Civic Duty

In honor of Presidents' Day, here are a few reviews of some popular pet products. See what has my vote and what doesn't!

I sample these treats regularly at House on Daly. They are good and crunchy with a mild, pleasant back flavor. The slight fishy tang makes it a great compliment to a fresh drink. Four snorts of the snoot to Healthy Treats.

These treats are all right. The poultry flavor is clearly not authentic but the oat bran gives it a good gritty texture. They do wonders for your breath, however, and I would recommend them to certain hound mixes before they decide to bark at the mailman and fill the whole room with kibble breath. Three snorts of the snoot.

Disgusting. Shows a real lack of pride. One snort of the snoot.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Plea

Friends, poodles, yorkies, great danes, and, to a lesser extent, beagles, I have an appeal. This time of year, many of us enjoy a quick romp in the snow. Nothing compares to taking a walk in the winter sand, the feeling of frost on your paw pads, rolling in the cold cotton and returning home to shake snow all over the living room. But the most important part of a walk in the snow (yes, even more important that curling up on the couch with a warm Whole Foods biscuit afterwards) is wiping your feet. The snow-melting salt sprinkled upon our favorite element can irritate your paws and needs to be wiped off with a damp cloth. Now, I know some of you out there dislike having your paws wiped. I have seen grown overweight beagle mixes actually whine as if they were at the vet at the mere sight of a moist paper towel. But for the sake of your paw pads, do not put up a fuss. And if you still feel that having your paws wiped is an injustice, go to the bathroom if the house, if you must, to even the score.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Little Things: Baby Carrots

Nothing beats a crunchy baby carrot for a quick snack. They are the perfect size to eat in one bite; no bothersome holding in your paws in fear that a mixed breed hound with oily skin will snatch it. Watch for your personal chef making a trip to the 'fridge and saying s/he "has your favorite treat." It is also acceptable to procure a baby carrot from a fellow diner's hand when they are not looking. You may have to jump a bit to reach your desire but, like all little things, the effort is worth the reward.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Daddy Casserole

This is a delightful Saturday treat. I like to change the vegetable ingredients based on the seasons to incorporate seasonal, local produce. In my younger days, I used to enjoy Pedigree Little Champions as my weekend indulgence but, looking back, cannot believe I used to anticipate a yellow packet of processed meat and synthetic gravy as part of my diet.

Daddy Casserole should be prepared fresh but if you must, you can prepare a large batch and then freeze individual servings in a zip lock bag.

Ask your personal chef to determine how much of each ingredient to use.

Daddy Casserole
Ground turkey meat
Brown Rice
Seasonal vegetables (pumpkin for fall, etc)

Have ingredients mixed and cooked perfectly. Mix over high grade Trader Joe's kibble and eat delicatley, watching over your shoulder for classless Beagles at all times.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Little Things - An introduction

In our mile-a-minute world, most do not take the time to stop and enjoy the tiny pieces of each day that make crawling out of your grotto worthwhile. Some of us are too afraid to make an impact on the world - a fear best described by T.S. Elliot in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, "Do I dare disturb the universe?...Shall I part my hair behind/Do I dare to eat a peach?" Others are too self-involved for this world, eager to snatch all that they can from it without stopping to enjoy it. They would rather jump to a table, snatch a piece of stromboli and swallow it as soon as possible - fearing they would be caught stealing if they took the time to enjoy its smokey and creamy flavors. I pride myself on enjoying the warmth of an afternoon sunbeam, the squeak of a well-worn toy and the feel of my teeth going through a piece of mail. I enjoy, in a sense, The Little Things.

While I pride myself in beginning a blog that is not afraid to be critical of the food and life around me, I will take time now and again to make note here of The Little Things I so appreciate in life. I hope you will too.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Review: House on Daly

As P and L traveled the globe, I enjoyed an extended stay at House on Daly. I often vacation on Daly in the summer and occasionally on the holidays. During my last stay, I had a few good meals but dinner at the House is always a gamble.

The menu at House on Daly is typical of Philadelphia cuisine. They offer a low-calorie kibble claiming to contain "natural ingredients" (what is that supposed to mean, I always wonder) but turned it down, fearing it contain the same amount of filler and starch common in most lower grade kibbles. Instead, I opted for my favorite triangular kibble topped with fresh scrambled eggs and drizzled with olive oil for my first evening's meal.

The server prepared my eggs well enough but they were rubbed with an ice cube before landing in my dish, presumably to cool them down (as if I would not be wise enough to just wait patiently). The ice cubes gave the eggs a runny texture and the run off seperated with the oil, leaving an unsavory residue in the bottom of my dish. I left the dregs in my bowl to send a message to the chef that her dinner was inproperly prepared but the message was lost when an opportunistic diner licked every last crumb and drop from my dish after I retired to the living room. But that is the subject for another day.

Two snorts of the snoot to House on Daly for this mixed bag of an evening.