MUTTerings With Nikki Moustaki: Cookies and Cooking For Your Dog
Dog expert Nikki Moustaki attends The Culinary Canine book signing.
Nikki Moustaki |
Posted: October 17, 2011, 3 a.m. EDT
As little as 10 years ago I remember that a “dog event” was seen as a kitschy anomaly. The press came out in droves for a doggie fashion show, highlighting how kooky (read: nuts) all of us dog people are. Today, in most large urban areas, you can go to a dog event every week – perhaps twice a week. That’s definitely the case where I live in New York City, where dog culture is as happening as Birkin bags (but less expensive). I love dog events, mostly because I love dogs and their people.
This week I went to a dog event in Times Square at the Kimpton’s Muse Hotel, a small, elegant boutique hotel in the middle of the glitz of the theater district. It was a book party for the new release, "The Culinary Canine: Great Chefs Cook for Their Dogs - And So Can You!" from BowTie Press. (A sister company of DogChannel).
Somewhere amid the poshly dressed pooches and the most passionate dog people in NYC, including doggie media darling, Wendy Diamond, were the chefs, doling out their human/doggie delectables. The book features many treats and food made for human and canine consumption. Of course, I headed straight for the table that had human-only cookies on it and my “date” for the night, BowTie Press editor, Andrew DePrisco, had to “save” me many cookies later by dragging me away from it. When it comes to cookies, I’m a lot like my dogs.
The book seemed well received – co-author, Kathryn Levy Feldman was busy signing copies, and the book photographer’s Fox Terrier signed “pawtographs.” I was able to speak to the author about the book’s concept between signings (and cookies). I asked her if this was a serious book and if she thought that people would start cooking more for their dogs.
Culinary Canine author Kathryn Levy Feldman
“Everybody thinks that this is a self-indulgent cookbook for dogs, but I discovered that as far back at 1575, people that had working hounds documented what they fed their dogs, and they also documented herbal recipes for curing things, like mange and stomach upset,” said Levy Feldman. “By 1782, there were books about recipes for hunting dogs. It behooved those people to keep their dogs healthy because they were working dogs. Those recipes sound a lot like the things we feed our dogs today – oatmeal, barley, vegetables, as well as animal protein. They had discovered that dogs should be fed a mixed and varied diet. It all sounds remarkably contemporary, but people have been taking care of their animals this way for hundreds of years.”
It’s true that many people have been moving away from “traditional” dog food, or are adding more healthy human foods to their dogs’ diets in addition to dog food. That’s mostly the way I feed my dogs – cooked food as a supplement to dry dog food. But, I will admit, I use a commercially prepared cooked dog food that comes frozen by subscription every month. My oven looks brand new inside – I’m in NYC, the land of take-out and eat-in. Still, I do love the idea of cooking for dogs. It’s probably fun bonding time, and there’s nothing better than seeing wagging tails when you offer them treats – never mind that they’d wag their tails if you offered them poop.
I asked the author for a good recipe that I could try, one with simple ingredients. Of course, the road to you-know-where is paved with good intentions, and I didn’t make the treats. I’ll include the recipe here and hope that someone reading this will make the treats and let me know how they are. Or send me some.
Vegan treats from The Culinary Canine: Cornelia's Vegan Yummy Critter Treats
1 mashed banana
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup honey (more or less, depending on the consistency of the dough)
1 cup rolled oats
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- In a bowl, add the mashed banana to the flour and oats, and mix. Slowly add the honey until the mixture sticks together.
- Roll out the dough to about a 1/4 inch thickness. Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out the treats. Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet and paint with honey as a glaze.
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes until the treats are browned, and turn off the oven; if you leave the treats in there for a bit, they will get extra crunchy.
- Serve when cooled. They will be devoured!
The author of "The Culinary Canine: Great Chefs Cook for Their Dogs - And So Can You!" said to me, “If you cook for yourself, there’s no reason you can’t cook for your dog.”
Does laziness count as a reason I can’t cook for my dogs?
I’d like to hear your opinions. Do you cook for your dogs? Is cooking for your dogs a good idea? Is it fun? Can it create a healthier dog? If you want, please leave your favorite recipes in the comment section below and I’ll see if I can get off of my lazy butt and cook something. In the meantime, where’s the cookie table?
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