RSS Feed

Cricket, the Sous Chef

            Cricket is my sous chef. She stands in the kitchen while I’m making dinner, and tries to reach her paws up to the cutting board to steal red bell peppers. If she doesn’t feel like jumping, she scratches at Grandma’s leg to be lifted up so she can see the vegetables up close. If Grandma picks her up near a fresh cut onion, she sneezes. But once the sauté pan is on and the oil is heating the garlic and peppers and onions, Cricket twitches her nose and then licks her lips, at which point she has to be put down on the floor to avoid her jumping into the pan with all four feet.

Who me? I wasn't anywhere near those beets.

Who me? I wasn’t anywhere near those beets.

I’ve been tempted to buy Cricket a white toque to wear on her head, or a chef’s jacket with buttons, but she is not a fan of clothes.

Butterfly is more circumspect about the kitchen. She tends to stand in the doorway, or stretch out with her head on her paws, and stare. She’s afraid of all of the noise, like knives on cutting boards, sizzling pans, and whirring mixers, and she’s afraid she will get stepped on. Her spatial relations are, legitimately, not very good. Cricket is better at negotiating small spaces and human legs; she’s more bendy.

Butterfly tends to stand back and let Cricket get first crack at any dish at the end of a meal, because Cricket is a superb dish cleaner and Butterfly’s skills have not yet risen to Cricket’s level. It will come with time.

Class is in session

Class is in session

But Cricket is still the master

But Cricket is still the master

I used to bake a lot when Cricket was a puppy, and she learned to take part in the process: supervising the mixer, sniffing for cookie doneness, and, of course, cleaning up afterward. She gets angry, now, when I make something with chocolate in it, because then she can’t clean the bowl, or the beater, when we’re done. She would like for me to always make sugar cookies, or something with peanut butter.

Cricket is very busy

Cricket is very busy

Cricket is teaching Butterfly how to listen for the oven timer, a very important skill. They get up from their rest positions on the living room rug and stare at me until I get up. If Cricket thinks the food is ready early, despite the lack of a beep, she will let me know.

            In pursuit of her goal of one day becoming a chef with a kitchen of her own, Cricket prefers that we test chicken recipes. She likes when I make chicken wings, because I never eat the skin, and therefore she gets to taste test a chicken’s worth of skin. She is less interested in recipes that ask for boneless, skinless chicken breast, because she’s never offered the leftovers from those.

Pizza is also a favorite of hers, and of Butterfly’s. At this point, I have to give them the pizza crusts, even if they are the rare edible pizza crusts. I remove all tomato sauce possible, because I worry the spices will make them sick, and I divvy up the pieces into their bowls, and then they inevitably bring the crusts to the living room rug for chewing.

At Cricket’s restaurant, the pizza would probably be topped with: chicken, red bell peppers, pumpkin, Parmesan cheese, and olives. This would be the Cricket special. The Butterfly special would be covered in dry dog food and probably not go over as well.

Butterfly's favorite pizza topping: kibble

Butterfly’s favorite pizza topping: kibble

The waitresses at Cricket’s restaurant would sit at the tables with the customers and feed them by hand. One blueberry at a time.

            While Cricket pursues her cooking repertoire, and Butterfly attempts to scale the steeply competitive sous chef ladder, the girls are still grand champion eaters. Butterfly is a big fan of high fiber pasta, especially the little ears (orrichete). I choose to believe she is being health conscious, and attempting to improve her hearing as well.

Butterfly has followed Cricket’s example and learned how to stand on her back feet, leaning her front paws on Grandma’s knee during dinner. This is a very effective method of persuasion. Grandma is a pushover for puppy dog eyes and always finds something yummy to share. Cricket has been an incredible teacher, in this as in all things.

One day, Butterfly, the student will become the master

One day, Butterfly, the student will become the master

Advertisements

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

72 responses »

  1. When Cricket opens her restaurant, ask her to please seat me at the table where the prettiest waitress is feeding me, ok?? 🙂
    Butterfly Rocks!!

    Reply
  2. Cricket you are a very good chef – you even made the ear-test – I will try it too it looks cool :o)

    Reply
  3. Dogs can be such a support in the kitchen. My Bonnie is a food critic through her actions. Perhaps Butterfly is a critic in training….

    Reply
  4. What a great Chef! and those red whiskers haaahaha too cute 🙂
    Have a great cooking day my sweets 🙂 fozziemum

    Reply
  5. Chienne and The Man are less interested in the preparing of food, just the eating of it. Although they do like cheese. They are the outdoor types – sort of Assistant Gardeners. actually, they really like digging, which is much the same thing I suppose :o) Excellent post.

    Reply
  6. Licking the beaters, dog nirvana.

    Reply
  7. I’m a big fan of green beans, never the canned junk, but frozen is great in the summer. I eat them right out of the freezer and beg for MORE.

    Reply
  8. I call pizza crust ends pizza bones. Which reminds me, we haven’t had pizza in awhile. Hey Jen!

    Reply
  9. Roxie the Outlaw

    Cricket and Butterfly are so CUTE! Loved this. :o)

    Reply
  10. Sounds very familiar to my three house pups! Let us know when ‘Chez Cricket’ opens for business? I’ll need reservations for three! LOL!

    Reply
  11. Reblogged this on Dog blogging… and commented:
    A fellow dog blogger’s piece that is really cute.

    Reply
  12. Sinfully Tempting

    “Cricket is teaching Butterfly how to listen for the oven timer, a very important skill” ….HAHAHA! My dog does the same thing! Great post, thanks for the laughs. 🙂

    Reply
  13. hello rachel its dennis the vizsla dog hay dada sez at lees cricket duznt sit on yore hed and pull yore hair to direkt yore cooking aktiviteez!!! i hav no ideea wot he is tawking about as yoozhual!!! ok bye

    Reply
  14. I loved this post, we also call our girl Minnie (Chubs if you read my blog) our Sous Chef as she is always in the kitchen with my husband. Hoovering up and general cleaning duties. Harvey (Bandy) is now training under Minnie’s watchful eye, she will allow him the odd dropped scrap but it’s hit and miss to when he has had one to many and only a bite to his nose will let him know he has over stepped the cleaning duties. 🙂

    Reply
    • I’ve been very lucky that Cricket’s teaching methods with Butterfly are gentler than they’ve been with me. She uses role modeling and indifference with Butterfly, with me, she bites.

      Reply
  15. You have very lucky and helpful dogs:) Fun post.

    Reply
  16. Oh, we so enjoyed this post. Cricket you make a very good chef we would love to come eat with you if we could. Chancy loves green peas and his nose works overtime when we have them. He will stand on his hind legs which is not an easy task for him since he has a long body waiting for his peas. You two are just the cutest little sweeties ever!! Loved that little beet face. Hugs and nose kisses

    Reply
  17. I always help my mom with whatever she is doing in the kitchen. She lets me lick everything (that I can) too.

    Walter

    Reply
  18. Love reading about these 2 cuties. I think you’ve got a little Pavlovian classical conditioning going on with the oven timer! Max loves pizza bones but so do I so he doesn’t them all.

    Reply
  19. haha meant “he doesn’t get them all”. 🙂

    Reply
  20. For a second I thought the streaked red “beard” was a Halloween vampire imitation! 😉

    Reply
  21. Nothing like team work! Sounds like my Marcel and Marceau. What one can’t do the other can.

    Reply
    • The problem is when they double up, because, with Cricket covering such a large barking gamut, does Butterfly really need to add her two cents? Do they both need to scratch my skin off trying to convince me to cook them a chicken?

      Reply
  22. Great story. As you know Ruby is completely banned from the kitchen although I know she’d like to help with menu selection and cleaning up 🙂

    Reply
  23. I am ready for a restaurant where I get hand-fed blueberries!

    Reply
  24. Jack Henry is very good at supervising things in the kitchen and like Cricket is an excellent eater-particularly fruits and vegetables. He also likes to keep an eye on things when baking is underway-glad to hear that other K9 pals are kitchen helpers too-great post Rachel!

    Reply
  25. Cricket is adorable!!

    Reply
  26. I’m not much of a cook, but when I finish a pint of strawberry Haagen Dazs I let my dog lick the inside. It is definitely his favorite people treat! Your pups are too cute!

    Reply
  27. What an adorable story! Had me laughing. I, too, love chicken and peanut butter (although now I am on a no-beef-or-chicken diet since I have allergies) and fear the whirring of the mixer and blender. A big dog like me! Barking at the “Ninja”. I love hearing about Cricket and Butterfly. Thank you for such a nice blog!

    Reply
  28. Like Cricket, Lucy’s favorite place is the kitchen, especially when chicken is on the menu because I too give her the chicken skin, and she’s happy to get tastes of everything. However, she’s absolutely clueless about being a large dog and not being underfoot to trip me, so for safety (for both of us) I send her out, and this makes her sad. You see, she thinks she’s very small – like a teacup sized dog – and can’t possibly be in the way. With a glum expression, she takes up her prime viewing spot just outside the doorway and waits patiently.

    Reply
    • Butterfly likes to rest her forearms in the entryway to the kitchen, with the rest of her body safely out in the dining room. She’s getting a little bit better about keeping track of where people and dogs may be, but in the kitchen it’s too overwhelming. I think the smell of chicken messes with her mind.

      Reply
  29. My blog reader doesn’t seem to update all the blogs I follow faithfully on my phone…so sorry I missed yours this week…you are one of my faves!!!! Cricket is quite the kitchen helper…I don’t have a dishwasher…she would enjoy visiting us here…BOL!!!! Happy weekend especially to Cricket and Butterfly!!!!

    Reply
    • Thank you! We only recently moved to a place with a dishwasher, after fifteen years without one. So Cricket had a lot of opportunities to train her dish washing skills. She listens to the hum of the dishwasher now with suspicion and resentment.

      Reply
  30. Hi Rachel! How old are they again?

    Reply
    • Butterfly is eight and a half (and a rescue) and Cricket turned six this July.

      Reply
      • You’re lucky to have spent that much time with them. My gucci is only 4 years old but she’s sickly – probably something that wasn’t disclosed to me when I got her. I hope to spend six more years with her, beyond that is a big bonus. After coming from the hospital, she is like a baby again always wants to be cuddled and wants to sleep with me again. Cricket and Butterfly are adorable =)

      • Thank you. I hope I will get a long time with both of my girls. They are wonderful cuddlers.

  31. It’s a joy to read your blog, and see the photos of your beautiful pets!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: