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.


Julia said...

¡jajaja! I'm with your sister.
Nunca había pensado en eso como una señal tan clara de nuestra civilización, pero tiene toda la razón. ¿Qué distingue naturaleza de cultura? Ya no pensemos en tabúes, sino en domesticar perros y echarlos de la mesa, como corresponde.

Anonymous said...

Stu, did you ever hear back from the in-laws? Jolly nice thought to give them the Mexican chili, I'm not that nice.

Stuart said...

No, they still hate me, according to Ralf. They may imagine that my giving them the chili powder was an obscurely offensive gesture in line with kicking the dog.

Once small-minded people put you in their bad books, there you stay - until you win big in the lottery, I guess. The milk of human kindness flows downhill towards the pot of gold.