Friday, March 13, 2009

One Dog's Life

A few weeks ago, we adopted a beautiful Brittany rescue dog, Josie.

She'd had a rough life prior to her arrival Chez Wiles. She'd had parvo, been starved nearly to death, and had never been in a house. So here's what she wants of us. To be loved. To be fed.

Here's what we want of her. To sit, stay, come and "go." To be docile and obedient. To not pee on the floor. To not pee on the rug. To not pee on the most expensive rug in the house. (This morning.) To not eat my 6th grader's course registration form. (Too late.) To not eat my 8th grader's French homework. (Again, too late.) To lie calmly at our feet. To zoom in circles around the coffee table. To jump up and catch treats in her mouth. To not jump up on us. To welcome our friends -- whom she doesn't know. To ward off strangers -- whom she doesn't know either. To play with the cat. To leave the @#%$!! cat the **&%^$@! alone.

And that's just Month One.

Not really a fair relationship, I guess. Sometimes, you can see in her eyes that's she's not 100% sure of us just yet. Still, it's somehow working.

Maybe I shouldn't be focusing so much on what we want of her, but instead, on what she does for us. She's the best alarm clock I've ever owned. Just the threat of me unleashing the "canine clock," makes both sleepy-eyed kids pop up like life-size jack-in the-boxes. She's a grueling personal trainer for our cat, Lionel. Jillian, from The Biggest Loser, would be shamed by the intense workouts that Josie gives. Best of all, though, she's helping us happily re-define our post-divorce family, making us feel more complete.

For all she does, maybe I should be doing more for her. I may have to start researching some dog biscuit recipes. Until I figure out a canine version, though, I bet Josie won't mind these a bit.

Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups flour ("soft" Southern flour, like Red Band or White Lily, really is best)
1 tablespoon sugar (I know most Southern cooks don't include it, but I think it makes the dough more tender)
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons shortening (chilled, cut in small cubes)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (chilled, cut in small cubes)
3/4 - 1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425. Blend together dry ingredients. Using pastry cutter or two forks, cut in shortening and butter until mixture is crumbly and mealy. Quickly blend in 3/4 cup of the buttermilk. Dough should be soft and sticky; if needed, stir in remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk. Scrape dough onto well-floured board or counter. It will not (and should not) be as elastic or dry as bread dough. Using floured hands, gently pat out dough, and fold it over itself several times (patting, not kneading). Pat dough out to 3/4 inch thickness. Cut out biscuits, placing on ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough scraps. Bake until very lightly golden -- about 10-12 minutes.

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