At my job, I encounter a lot of very stupid books. There are a lot of very stupid people, you see, and they like to read very stupid books. And then those get donated to my non-profit and I sort through them and judge the anonymous people who donated them, usually harshly. It grants me the rare opportunity to feel superior to people who likely make more money than I ever have or will. Like the guy who took the time to leave a half-garbled sentence in my seller feedback when I had to cancel his order of “The Preppy Handbook” or some shit, due to Amazon being glitchy? Yeah, I still make fun of that dude in my head sometimes. And I make fun of you when you drop off thirty Danielle Steele novels at my donation bins, too. It’s a perk of being in the book donation world: I get to examine your marginalia, the titles you read, the boarding passes you leave in the middle of shitty airport books. I get to peek into your life and decide whether or not you’re a good person. What’s that? You just donated five Rachael Ray cookbooks?
Oh, hi. I think less of you.
But I don’t know that I’ve ever encountered a more loathsome book than the one that I’m about to describe. Published by Random House in 2007, penned by the illustrious Marjorie Walsh, who runs “an elite dog resort in the UK catering to a handful of pampered pooches, with… specially-developed meals,” we have the one and only “Cooking for Dogs: Tempting Recipes for Your Best Friend to Enjoy.” Seriously. That’s the title. It only goes downhill from here.
Full disclosure: it’s a cookbook, and I haven’t read the recipes beyond their titles. I’m not judging the book on the basis of its recipes. I’m judging it on the basis of it having been written. Also, the introduction. And then I’ll probably pick some of the recipes to highlight for the purposes of pointing out how ludicrous the whole thing is. And then I’ll say “Fuck” a few times and conclude. Or maybe I’ll just conclude with “Fuck.” Hard to say. Let’s get going.
Here is Marjorie in the intro:
When I looked at the nutritional information on commercial pet food and saw by-products, fillers and derivatives I decided that I didn’t want to feed that to my dogs. I wouldn’t eat these things, so why should our dogs?
BECAUSE THEY’RE FUCKING DOGS AND THEY EAT THEIR OWN SHIT AND MAYBE YOU SHOULD THINK ABOUT THAT BEFORE YOU TRY TO WINE AND DINE THEM INTO SUBMISSION? THEY EAT THEIR OWN SHIT, THEY EAT VOMIT, THEY EAT TRASH!! THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT MONSANTO, HONEY!
I’ll try to ease up on the all-caps. Pressing forward:
I started out by just making extra food when cooking the family’s meals, so that our dogs ate what we ate. Because I wanted to get it right, I did a lot of research and invested in some nutritional software. The end result is happy, healthy dogs with coats like velvet, plenty of energy, and hardly any pooping.
Hardly any pooping. Great. Instead of pooping, they just beg all the time because they’re being treated to fucking lamb with lentils (actual recipe) and salmon stroganoff (also an actual recipe), because some idiot with way too much time and money is pushing a book that encourages feeding dogs people food. But hey, no shitting! No more cleaning up shit! Sure, you have to spend 20 minutes prepping and 55 minutes cooking Scruffy’s avocado and chicken casserole, but no poop! Who’s walking who, now, motherfuckers?
…[T]he experts don’t really know what makes the perfect dog food. Breeders and vets will have their favorite foods, too. So, how do you know?
PICK ME PICK ME! I bet if you feed them people food they’ll like that best of all! Yay! Where the fuck is my medal?
Dogs are like humans:
No, they’re not.
Soda cans are like humans: all different. Grains of sand are like humans: all different. Giant green dildos are like humans: all different.
For larger dogs it is much kinder to put their feed bowl in a stand adjusted for their height so that they are not stooping to eat their food.
Because who would subject a dog to the indignity of stooping for his meal? Now, maid? Cook Scruffy some tuna polenta, it’s his birthday.
From here, the introduction becomes slightly less patently offensive. Walsh assures us that dogs need plenty of calcium, and that the ideal meal “should consist of 25% protein, 30% fat, and 45% carbohydrates.” “Hold on a second,” you might be thinking. “Didn’t she admit in the second paragraph that there’s a wide range of opinion when it comes to what to feed your dog, and that every dog is different? Like humans?” Well yeah, sure, you pedant. But that was a whole page ago, and Walsh has a deadline to meet, books to sell. This is the right formula for all of the iddy-biddy, special snowflake dogs on the planet. Or you know. Close enough.
(I should note here that the second page of the particular copy I have is highlighted in pink and underlined in ink, suggesting that the previous owner has read this introduction at least twice, each time with an eye toward studying its hidden wisdom. This is deeply depressing on a number of levels, but I don’t feel like crying right now, so let’s keep going, if we could.)
So, armed with this information you can actually share your evening meal with your pet, remembering to add calcium to their portion. Dogs also need fat for energy so their meat should not be too lean, and don’t get too hung up on calories. Just be guided by your pet.
That this advice, “Don’t get too hung up on calories. Just be guided by your pet” comes in the context of a discussion about SHARING YOUR FUCKING MEALS WITH IT is troubling. I can just imagine Walsh’s husband Craig getting home from work on a Wednesday evening. “What do you want for dinner, Marjorie?”
“I’m quite not sure quite, Craig.” (She’s British: they say “quite” a lot.) “What does Scruffy want?”
“Scruffy wants beef and black bean stew, love,” Craig replies.
“Maid?” Marjorie calls.
I hope the maid steals their jewelry is what I’m saying.
No, what I’m really saying is that somehow a book was written that advised pet owners to take their nutritional cues from dogs. You’re counting calories? How silly, my dog isn’t counting them! Why don’t you listen to your dog more? Maybe you’d have more friends.
How easy is it? Well just cook extra, either from one of these recipes or from your own evening meal. Divide into portions and either refrigerate or freeze the excess for later use so you have ready-made meals on hand when you have run out of dog food.
In sum, fuck starving people everywhere. You have the opportunity to feed your dog salmon, and you should take it. You thought those leftovers would be tasty for lunch tomorrow? Think about how much your dog will love them right now!
Just add some crushed up eggshells. For calcium. Oh, also, here’s a bunch of stupid recipes. KTHXBAI. <3 Marjorie
Overall reading experience: 1/10. Would not recommend.