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Haute Canine: Bake & Bark your way into your doggo’s good (cook)books

Haute Canine: Bake & Bark your way into your doggo’s good (cook)books
Mathilda's bacon bona-anza. (Photo: Maryke van Rensburg)

What a DARG-gone great idea: a cookbook for doggies, by doggies, for themselves and their doggo friends. Who wouldn’t want to just lap that up?

Brace yourself for doggie puns. Truly pawful ones. And there snout you can do to stop me. (As they say up in Yorkshire, there snout so queer as folk.) And dogs. And there’s nowt so queer as their human owners. Slaves to their dogs. What’s that about, asks any self-respecting cat who’s looked at a canine, sighed, licked their paws and turned away in disdain. Any cat knows that the humans are the slaves, that the animal calls the shots. Dogs, well, they just don’t get it.

Having said that, for a cat person I sure do adore dogs. I don’t have one of my own but I’ve never met a dog who didn’t like me. Unless you count the giant Karoo hounds that I meet on my walk, standing sentinel in their yards, snouts a-sniff for trouble. Or for humans walking past minding their own business.

I sometimes test their system. This is not difficult. As you walk past the jaw-grinding, growling beast behind his garden gate, just approach and simper “hello, doggie-doggie” while holding out your own paw and smiling sweetly. With few exceptions they’ll realise you’re a friend and not eat you after all. On one occasion there were two slobbering canines at their master’s front gate, and another dog who was safely on my side of the gate, growling and sneering back at them. Only the gate kept them from tearing one another limb from limb. Or so it seemed. Then their human owner pressed the gate remote and it slowly slid open. The two-way shield was gone. And the dogs all pawsed (sorry), looked at each other, and slowly retreated while trying to save face.

I grew up with dogs. Dachshunds. Sausage dogs. A little black fella with a brown smiley face, called Rocky. Maybe he’ll be on the Rainbow Bridge one day, waiting for me. Wth his mum, a golden brown bitch called Olga. But after leaving Oranjemund my life became controlled by cats, and still is. Every now and then I plead for a dog, and even on occasion get one, but I know that our cats would not be happy and may well pack their knapsacks and hit the highway, paw out. Off to greener pastures, where the humans are less idiotic and there are No Stupid Dogs Allowed.

On the rare occasions when I have somehow managed to persuade my family that we should get a dog, somehow it’s never turned out well. There was Burger, an SPCA spe… nah. SPCA special doesn’t seem to fit Burger. He was way too dof for that monicker. A little black job with bad hygiene who, after two months of trying to bark some sense into us, gave up and moved in with the people across the road. There was pretty Jazz, who I loved, also an SPCA special, and then we moved to the UK, so she got a new home too… 

And there were two Alsatians in Sutherland who were just impossible. Untrainable, unbiddable, devoured everything in sight including half the garden. The parts they hadn’t yet dug up. Luckily we left Sutherland so had to rehome them. They were taken on by a policeman with a house on the slope of the mountain just below the astronomical observatory. I felt mean leaving them in the icy cold of their new frozen home.

What to feed them? Luckily we had a restaurant so they lived on all manner of leftovers including lamb bones and odds and sods cooked up for them to devour in one great lick. Gulp. Gone. Where’s the finesse in that?

But it seems that there are doggies with better cuisine standards than our two Northern Cape hounds. Which brings me to another kind of doggie altogether. The beautiful dogs rescued by DARG, the Domestic Animal Rescue Group in Hout Bay, who are very clever pooches indeed. They have collectively produced their own cookbook, with maybe a little help from some humans, and it is being sold by DARG with all proceeds going to their wonderful efforts to care for pooches in need of some TLC.

It’s called Bake and Bark: 20+ tail-waggin’ recipes for your doggo. The recipes are “curated”, if you please, by said pooches, and they include such canine treats as Ellie’s Burger Star Biscuits (and Ellie herself is available for adoption, as are all the other doggos), Tank’s fish cakes (made from fresh tuna steak, no less), and Apollo’s Chicken Bowl. Ellie’s Burger bikkies are essentially oats-and-beef broth biscuits, so you can imagine them being wildly pawpular in the world of high canine cuisine.

Ellie’s Burger star biscuits. (Photo: Maryke van Rensburg)

If you were having a doggie dinner party (or if they were), you could serve them a starter of Ken’s Chicken and Cheese Paté (humans, keep your mitts out of that one please!), go on to a main course of Mathilda’s Bacon Bone-anza (their pun, not mine), and end with Snoopy’s Fruit Pops, which come in apple, banana, strawberry and blueberry.

Snoopy’s fruit pops. (Photo: Maryke van Rensburg)

It’s been highly professionally and delightfully put together, and if you’re a dog owner or even if you’re not, it’s an excellent cause worth supporting. 

To buy the book, which costs R220, go here. It’s the least a human canine do. DM/TGIFood

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