What Puts the Terrorist in Terrier

29 07 2011

It’s no secret that Terriers are driven creatures: To chase, mostly. Balls, cats, squirrels, food, fun.  The breed is built for entertainment.  I know. Watch any dog with even a hint of terrier.  Perhaps only a flick of the tail or twitch of the whisker resembles such lineage; inside there is a giant of a dog willing to take on any creature or task.

Both fierce and fearless, I give you Biscuit:

The Terrier: Proving everyday that what goes up doesn’t necessarily have to come down…unless it wants to.


French Delights

26 07 2011

I am freshly fluffed and feeling fine.

We made an excursion to the open market in Nice today.  The smells were exquisite: artisan cheeses, provencal sausages, crisp white wines, multitudinous flowers conjuring the famous perfumes of Grasse just up the hill….and Socca.

Socca is a simple staple of Southern French fare.  It is ubiquitous in all the open markets in this area.  And, I always get a wedge.  I assume this is because nothing about it is bad for the figure of a small dog.

I watched carefully today as an old man concocted the batter.  Pezzo di torta, as we like to say: piece of cake.

Following is my translation.  I estimate it would serve 4 humans…or 1 dog:

The man put 1 1/2 cup chick pea (garbanzo) flour in a medium-sized blue bowl.  He added 1/3 cup of a lovely pale green olive oil and 2 cups of water and then stirred the whole slurry with a whisk.  He bent down to let me see the mix: a soft, smooth, lump-free batter that smelled like a rich bean cake.

He then poured a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, round pan, about 13-14 inches wide, like something one would use for Paella (ah, that trip to Spain last summer!). The Socca was only about 1/2 thick, or so.

He popped the whole thing into a very hot oven (I estimate, by the tinges on my whiskers when he opened the door, that the temp was 500 degrees).  He let this bake for what seemed to be 20 or 25 minutes.  Anyway, when it was set in the middle and browned at the edges, he took it out, drizzled it with more olive oil (about a tablespoon, I think, and sprinkled coarse salt and fresh pepper on top.

It was then cut into wedges and each was served on a piece of parchment paper: warm, salty heaven. I guess you could add herbs, or spices to the batter.  There are probably endless possibilities.

Personally, I think it would be a great light summer meal, with a tossed green salad and a glass or two of Provencal Rose wine.  

Alas, no one asked me.

I eat it alone, treasure on the street… a la cobblestones.  Still, heaven.


The Alphabet Game

7 07 2011

The true meaning of nobility in a 27 line story from A to Z:
Aristocracy does not come easily to a small dog.
Born, bred or borrowed, nobility is something learned not passed along.

Careful examination of one’s character is the key to it’s discovery.

Do not be swayed by the rhinestone glint of an expensive collar and neither by the well-worn rags of the common man.

Every dog has the capacity for greatness, but no dog should be judged by it’s wrapping.

Few dogs have such luxury.

Goodness comes not from a simple fetch and romp.

Humility and kindness feeds the noble more than anything else.

know this as well as any other dog.

Just yesterday I was faced with my own inadequacies.

Kids on the Pincio stole my ball.

Laughing, they ran away, watching behind them as I stood, crestfallen, in the middle of the park.

Most of them disappeared behind the roses at the crest of the hill.

Nothing mattered more to me at that moment than I reclaim my favorite toy but the kids were well out of sight.

Only one thing to do.


Quietly, I sat down on the grass and examined my toes.

Right then, a second set of toes appeared, facing me.

Stunned, I looked up.

There before me was a young gypsy boy dressed in tattered clothes, cheeks filthy, green felt ball in hand and a smile on his face.

Up,” he said.

Very slowly, he raised his hand and threw the ball like a comet, high into the air, with the fervor of a second-baseman.

When the ball came down, my jaws were ready to reclaim the prize.

Xavier,” said the boy.

Zealot named Xavier, rags and all…truly a noble boy, in deed.

Fireworks: The 1812% Solution

4 07 2011

On our way to San Remo today.  The pearl grey car with it’s chamois beige seats and smooth engine is the perfect vehicle of transport.  We go every year just in time for the World Fireworks Championships.  We stay at a seaside hotel with a view room and terrace doors that open to the ocean air.  The beach runs for miles in either direction.  There are always cocktails on the quay and flowers on the bedside table when we return.  Room service never arrives without a biscuit meant for a small dog.  And, yet, the theme of the whole trip is problematic.  Mind you, I love the bursts of color in the sky; the way my long shadow lights up against the fine aubusson carpet.  But the noise takes me back to some genetic canine memory of hunting, firing squads and death.  We’re still hours away from San Remo and the skin between my toes is sweating.

My Contessa understands this, bless her.  This year, a solution:  Small dog, curled up on her multi-colored cashmere sweater (in the driver’s seat, of course), pearl grey car parked in the deep cool of the hotel garage…windows up, stereo on.  Setting my imagination to the 1812 Overture as it matches the bombs bursting in air, I am content to watch the fireworks on the news at eleven.  Chow.

Getting Up is Living

1 07 2011

For all those skeptical that a small dog might climb the vines and vineyard wires, let alone anything else, I offer Sofia.

She may not be of the ‘”terrorista” breed, but she knows (as does any dog) the best way to get ahead in the world: One paw at a time.  And, as I quoted yesterday in a soon-to-be famous tweet: FALLING DOWN IS LIFE, GETTING UP IS LIVING…Chow.

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