Friday, January 13, 2012

Chili powder or a history of Europe ?

I'm in the doghouse with the in-laws of a friend of mine, Ralf, because of their dope-crazed dog. Being pumped full of cortisone for an incurable skin disease, it rushes around like a mad thing, panting so fast you'd think it's about to hyperventilate, jumping up on things and down again, and generally making a nuisance of itself.

The in-laws brought it along to a barbecue dinner at Ralf's house. I was eating at a low table, fending off the dog who wanted to share the grilled goodies on my plate. I kept pushing it away with my foot, and several times asked the in-laws to restrain it. They refused because "it would make him unhappy". So I finally kicked the dog (not hard) away from my table. He got the message, but the in-laws didn't.

I recently gave Ralf a bag of chipotle powder (dried smoked jalapeños) to pass on as a gesture of appeasement to his stepfather-in-law, who comes from Rumania and appreciates chilis. The bag was from a precious consignment of Mexican chili powders that my sister sends me occasionally from Texas. She asked me yesterday by email what I needed, so I specified chipotle powder, telling her the dog story in explanation of my low stocks.

This was her reply:
What??!! Kicking dogs away from the table is a great tradition of millenia. The Romans, the Angles, the Saxons--I would venture to say all civilizations (and certainly man in pre-history)--have wisely participated. One can't pass on one's genes if one dies of starvation because the fucking dogs are getting all the best food. Better give the family a history of Europe than a bag of chili powder. It might do more good.