Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Pilgrim Dachshund's Progress (About A Boy)

“Half pound plain loaf”  :-  Half a pound of flour, two tea-spoonfuls of Yeatman’s powder, a salt-spoonful of salt, and four or five teaspoonfuls of water.  Work this as above*, reserving the baking powder to the last, set the dough in a tin, or form it in the well-known “cottage” shape and bake.  


      I furnish this recipe for its “found poetry.”  At least that’s the way it seemed to me when I first read it, half-asleep on the daybed near Andy’s crate yesterday evening.  The two martinis I drank a little earlier at Paramour, the oddly named but excellent (as well as highly anticipated and wholeheartedly welcomed) restaurant in the Wayne Hotel, may have contributed to my poetry – bread recipe reverie.  Absolutely exhausted from a week of caring for our recuperating dog (we first visited Paramour the evening before Andy’s surgery, when everything seemed completely tenuous; we were already past exhaustion then from worry),  I fell asleep quickly (I think) and woke up with Wyvern’s verse - recipe still on my mind.


      I wasn’t sure what a “cottage” shaped bread loaf was, well-known as it might have been to Wyvern.  When I found pictures of one, I immediately recognized it as the type of loaf the character Marcus used when he (accidentally) killed the pond duck in About A Boy.  Although I normally strongly object to animals being used as comic props in this way, the incident develops into a funny, touching scene in an excellent, sensitive film, and it's clear that no actual duck was harmed in production.  I'm pleased to see that Nicholas Hoult, the young actor who played Marcus with such restraint and depth, is now definitely “hot,” "picked to click" and “poised for stardom,” as they say.

      Andy is doing very well – growing stronger every day, balance clearly re-balancing, attitude of a champion.  I will do my best to emulate him.

*N.b., Wyvern’s kneading instructions are rudimentary but, for the experienced bread baker, intuitive.  Essentially, he sensibly counsels against over-kneading and his loaves all seem to be of the “single-rise” variety.  The Great Man seems to provide no baking instructions, unusual for him, but I must admit I haven’t read this section of Culinary Jottings From Madras thoroughly.  

Another Great Man aka The Best Dressed Chicken In Town aka The Ital Surgeon aka Winston James Thompson


  1. Good news about Andy, we've been rooting for him.

    (Could use a moderate injection of Andy-attitude, here, right about now.)

  2. Good morning and thanks. He's a wonderful dog and his attitude is bracing, inspiring and, unlike most humans I know, clearly a sincere reflection of the inner man. Edie is the worker dog -- completely purpose-oriented. Andy is philosophical and editorializes his emotions regarding comfort, food, everything. Now that a week has passed, we've moved his crate into our bedroom and things seem more normal now. We're pretty clear about the roadmap to possible full recovery and, all I can say is that it will take time, but so far, so good and we're very grateful. One of the more interesting aspects of his physical therapy involves making a "popsicle" from frozen chicken broth and guiding his head back and forth as a balancing exercise. It works like a charm, but the anger he showed at Edie when she wanted to taste his treat was quite something. So now, as always, everything is "his and hers." Andy's trying times certainly added to our own stresses, but channeling our energies in his direction, although utterly necessary, has been somewhat tonic. Curtis