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I want to introduce a new addition to this public rambling of mine, one more bite if you will, that I am calling SUNDAY BITES. It’s here where I’ll bring all the random pieces of furniture that don’t necessary belong to my main topic–FOOD.

But then again, I’m not a big fan of rules and limitations, so don’t point fingers and throw lemon pies at me when I take the wrong turn one day in this maze of pages and categories. Inspiration does not make appointments and visits randomly on all days of the week.

I was looking through the millions of my photos earlier today and couldn’t believe how many pictures of Cosmo there are hiding in all these boring folders on my computer instead of being seen in the day light. For they are worth it, and Cosmo deserves it. Today is the night when I will finally show the two faces of my dog to the world. There are many more, but these stand out, especially when juxtaposed against each other.

Here is our Macho Dog, who rides a Harley-Davidson, chain smokes and picks up girls in skimpy outfits at bars in the dark alley. He hangs out with the guys and wins all the burping competitions. he’s also pretty damn good with spitting peanut shells far beyond the trash container in the back of the house. He scratches his balls (or the place they used to be rather) every five minutes, and snacks on beef jerky.

Look closely and remember that face. Know how lucky you are for not being able to smell his breath and the stench of the half-digested beer coming out through his pores.

Now it’s time to introduce Cosmo once again after his visit to the groomer. That’s our Recherché Dog, who writes poetry and sings with the church choir every Sunday. He also, that goes without saying, never farts in public. He color-coordinates his outfits, keeps a journal and watches the “Anne of Green Gables” movie every first Friday of the month. He doesn’t think much of other dogs and always chooses to cuddle with his Mama (me) instead. Also, though it’s slightly embarrassing, he insists on having a napkin tucked under his collar when served his meal.

Have you seen those lips? They’re soft and silky thanks to the lip lube he slathers all over his mouth every 10 minutes or so. Our Recherché Dog is a true gentleman.

Yes, it is the same dog on both photos, our pride and joy, our apple in the eye–Cosmo. And it’s only the beginning.

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Coming home from work at 9 or 10 pm leaves me only enough time and energy to bitch about it and not so much for writing, nor any other intellectually stimulating activity. I follow the feeding/wee-weeing routine with Cosmo and when relieved sleepwalk back home on a leash pulling me forward. Cosmo turns the key in the door, pushes it open and lets me into the bedroom where I crawl straight into my bed and roll into a fetal position, tail underneath my heiney.

My kitchen feels deserted. Hungry pots and pans line up on shelves, dust collecting on their ribs. Three neglected bananas rot away on the counter without a word. The refrigerator echoes EMPTY-PTY-TY.  Except, there’s a chick.

On the top shelf of the icebox a whole chicken lounges, sunglasses on and all, anticipating the roasting party it’s been invited for. It’s the happy kind, organic and free roaming while munching on grains and grass. The BIG DAY, the R Day is Saturday. It’s TODAY!

Time for glitter and jewelry. A whole garlic head sliced in two horizontally and four quarters of a whole lemon roll inside the carcass. Three rosemary spears push through right behind. Olive oil for moisture and that California golden tan is applied to it’s whole body. Celery seeds, pepper corns, thyme, salt, paprika, all get smashed and crashed in a pestle and mortar, then rubbed into the dry skin of the chick, all the while the oven rushes to raise its temperature to 425°.

A big sweet onion gets peeled and sliced into half moons, which are scattered all around the chicken inside the roasting pan falling as snow flakes on top of Pikes Peak. A couple of potatoes and a bunch of naked garlic cloves join the company. Can you hear the music?? Low-sodium chicken stock floods the pan. Bay leaf, one and two, float its stream. Wings get tucked underneath, while legs are handcuffed with a strip of twine.  That Chicken Boat of Love is ready to set sail.

Into the oven they go for one full hour and another 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the bird will have reached 175°. Then, a silver sheet of aluminum dress wraps around the roasted meat, hugs it tight, and they bond. Fifteen minutes of such splendid rest allows for the best spa treatment any chick can ask for. All the juices get locked inside the bird thus ensuring a perfectly moist bite every time.

S H O W T I M E !

It’s the best thing ever to touch your lips.

IMMACULATE. SUBLIME. PERFECTION.

I stole food from my dog.

I am out of control.

Since I got that call about that job on that show for HBO, the one you know nothing about as it’s not yet on, it’s been raining almost consistently here in LA. That last piece of information is relevant to my story only thanks to the drip-drip soundtrack that torrential tempest provides as I type these words.

So, I’ve been working on HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA … the show, and quite literally, in life. There’s no glamour in the services I provide here, but I feel at ease and no longer experience the yearning for recognition and appreciation for my work in a corporate setting. It brings an unspoken amount of relief to have finally discovered a passion in life, which for me, aside from exploiting my life on the Internet, is defined by cooking. I have developed a skill I can offer to the world now. The minute I’m done with my current duties on the show, I’ll walk back to my kitchen, or into my clients’ kitchens and will make a living by stirring, blanching, and shocking vegetables.

In the meantime, I share offices with editors and their assistants who work hard gluing and stitching together the show you’ll be able to watch on HBO in a few short weeks. Since the office space is rather congested, everybody can hear the dialog, music score, and any other sound effects present in a given scene the editors are currently working on. Today moaning and gasping fills the air around, as the sex scenes are being patched together. I can’t help giggling under my nose as if I were 12 and caught my uncle and auntie DOING IT.

While I’ve been enjoying the on-screen sex at work, my loyal ol’ pooch goes through separation anxiety.

It must be it. How else to explain he’d gotten sick FOUR times since I left home? There’s nothing new about the wholesome dog food we’ve been feeding him forever. He’s not lethargic or sad when I come home. On the contrary, the minute I open the door he jumps at me from whichever corner of the house he’s been laying in wait and nails me straight to the wall behind me and bombards me with a shower of kisses. What that really means is that he licks my face inside out with a boy scout’s zeal and precision of a robot on Adderall. When he gets back on his fours at last, the joy dance begins and Cosmo spins right round until I get dizzy. I say he’s fine.

Still, my heart sank every time I saw my baby throw up and all this past week. It was time for me to take action. It was time to employ some drastic measures. Cosmo was about to learn of that brilliant witch that his mommy was.

I entered the kitchen, swoosh, pulled out a pot, clink, and mounted it on the stove, bang. Inside went diced pancetta, a handful, and sizzled until its fat rendered. Rice (half a cup) was next along with a tablespoon of crushed dry marjoram. Mixed with the pork juices, the rice toasted evenly just in time for a cup of grated carrots that landed right in the pot. Then I drowned it all in organic, low sodium chicken stock, because my dog deserves the best. It didn’t end there. For color, I tossed in sweet peas, then seasoned the dish with salt, and plunked a bay leaf to top that field of savory yumness.

You think dogs don’t like parsley? Just watch Cosmo.

Photo – courtesy of Laurent Dambies and his MACRO lens. The parsley was mine.

Thus enlivened, Cosmo’s breakfast/dinner combo for the next 4 days was officially completed. Except, I tasted it. BIG MISTAKE. The food was beyond awesome, its flavor so simple and comforting, and yet robust and indisputable. I took another bite. EVEN BIGGER MISTAKE. An electric current of paramount pleasure torpedoed down my spine. My hair stood upright. ALL HAIR. Everywhere. Next thing I knew, half of the pot was empty and the wooden spatula I used to stir the goods was shoved fist-deep into my throat. I was out of control stealing my sick puppy’s meal. Suddenly, I caught his terrified look with the corner of my eye, as if he was saying: “MA! WTF?!” The spoon slipped out of my hand and dropped to the floor. The sound of it was like a slap to my unconscious self, thump. When I realized the level of devastation the hungry monster within caused I was startled. The little bit that was saved was barely enough for two doggie meals.

Cosmo sat right by my feet throughout the cooking process and the incident of mindless food absorption. He was hungry. He KNEW I was fixing food for him. I don’t know how, but he knew. I saw a shade of panic in those deeply dark eyes, not yet a full on attack, but a growing anxiety of upcoming loss. You know what I’m talking about? I could see it all in the look he gave me.

Without a word, I grabbed a box of quinoa, 4 more carrots, a parsnip, and made a new batch of food for my pooch. This time I knew better than adding salt, bay leaves, and fresh parsley in the end. A tablespoon of lard is all any dog needs in their food to get their undivided attention. And enough to avert mine.

You don’t have a dog? What’s the problem? More food for you!

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