Winning Over Canine Critics

Recipe 6: Hope and Winky’s Cookies
Victories 6 and 6.1: Sharing my cooking with the dogs I love; they liked the cookies!

There’s a not-very-polite expression in Thai used to describe the quality of someone’s cooking or food: mha mai daek, or dogs won’t eat it. Obviously it doesn’t mean your cooking is so fancy and wonderful that it goes over the unsophisticated canine head. It means if even dogs won’t eat your food, do you seriously expect humans to?

So I was naturally quite nervous about this recipe. Unlike other recipes in this challenge, I actually had to test this one out on someone else. And that Thai expression came to mind almost as soon as I decided to take on this recipe in the dessert chapter of the book.

Don’t get me wrong. Not that the thought of making something for our family’s dogs (They live with my mom) doesn’t fill me with a certain kind of excitement. It actually does. And it’s been like that since I stumbled upon one of the books by Rick Woodford (The Dog Food Dude) at a bookstore one day. My mind immediately wandered to sometime in the future where I have my own home with a big backyard and a dog. And I would cook healthy, delicious food for my dog.

This cookie recipe seemed easy enough. It’s just putting peanut butter, olive oil, chicken broth, rolled oats, cornmeal, and salt together into balls and bake. But I was also terrified of my dogs’ rejection. How embarrassing would that be? Making mha mai daek dog cookies!

Plus, I don’t bake much. So my little oven still needs a lot of getting-to-know, even though I’ve had it for almost five years. The recipe warns that the cookies will crumble if you don’t cool them completely. And even after they had cooled completely, I worried that they would be too delicate to survive a trip across the city.

In the end, they all made it. And thankfully, our two ever-sweet, overly excited poodles, Kaidao and Mooyong, finished their first cookies before I could even fish my phone out of the bag to take photos. Jojo, the only boy in the pack, sniffed and licked skeptically, as a matter of principle, before finally eating it.

Jojo and Cookies
Jojo the Cookie Inspector, and Critic

Before I left, I gave them each another one. Kaidao and Mooyong gobble theirs up in seconds. Jojo, feeling lethargic, lay down, licked the cookie lazily, and finally allowed one of the poodles to take his. Now that I think about it, it’s like he had found the perfect way to punish me for leaving. He’s always two steps ahead, that dog.

I left most of the cookies at my mom’s place and saved two for one of my favorite dogs on my street, an energetic pharmacy puppy named Sushi. I remember that was a happy day for Sushi and probably everyone on the street who knew Sushi because the owner had decided not to give him away to a relative who lives in a bigger place (the pharmacist lives with her family above the store). I was overjoyed to hear the news, the pharmacist seemed very touched that I had made cookies for Sushi, and Sushi grabbed the first cookie from my hand and went straight to his little corner behind the shop. A moment later when I walked over to give him another cookie, he had already got crumbs all over his nose.

There’s a good doggie.

Sushi and Cookies
Sushi guarding his cookies. The little pile of crumbs beside him is another cookie that I had crumbled for him as suggested by the pharmacist. A little update: Sushi is now with a new owner who also loves him and lives in a bigger space. Deep down, I knew that his stay at a small pharmacy by the side of a busy Bangkok street was not going to be sustainable. Plus, animals shouldn’t be living in a pharmacy. But the pharmacist and her family took him in from his first owner, who was in a desparate situation, out of the kindness of their hearts. It’s sad not seeing him around anymore, but I think his new situation is much better for him.