Thursday Dec 05

Kathryn Miles is editor of Hawk & Handsaw: The Journal of Creative Sustainability, and an award winning writer whose work has appeared in anthologies and journals including Best American Essays, World Enviornments, Ecotone, and Reconstruction.  Ari is a husky-jindo mix who enjoys herding cats, racing through the woods, and proving that everything is edible.  You can read more about both of them in their recent book, Adventures with Ari: A Puppy, A Leash, and Our Year Outdoors (Skyhorse/W.W. Norton).
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Ari's Biscotti

I believe in Slow Food.  A movement first begun in 1986 as a response to the rise of fast food restaurants and the industrialization of grocery stores, Slow Food insists on three basic tenets:  food should good; it should be clean; and it should be fair.

Sure, there are plenty of moments when I’d rather just grab something out of a supermarket freezer or rely upon the convenience of a drive-thru lane.  Slow Food takes time, which is something we often find in short supply these days.  Even still, each time I sink my hands into the warm sponge of a bread dough or catch the scent of chicken stock reducing on the stove, I’m reminded in myriad ways why it’s worth it. I know where my food comes from.  I know every step needed to convert a humble eggplant into tapenade or a potato into a really great French fry.  And, when I sit down to eat, I feel better for having completed those steps myself.

I’ve been committed to this way of eating for years.  And yet, for most of that time, I continued to  make one trip down an interior, processed supermarket aisle: a beeline, right to the pet food section.  I did it without thinking, without a sense of irony.  This was food for a dog, after all.  It wasn’t people food, I told myself. The two were entirely different.

Or are they?

There are, of course, distinctions that should be made between what different species eat. Dogs have specific nutrient requirements, and we run the risk of a great disservice to any animal if we don’t adhere to them.  But for all that is unique about their diet, dogs also have a surprising number of similarities to us when it comes to their preferences and palates.  We each require roughly the same ratios of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.  And we do well sourcing these requirements with fresh meats, unprocessed grains (like brown rice), and plenty of vegetables, all of which should be, ideally, free of pesticides, herbicides, and preservatives.  In other words: Slow Food.

There’s no reason dog food can’t be Slow Food.  And happily, making it doesn’t have to take a lot of time.  The recipe included below requires about 30 minutes, including baking time, and it uses ingredients most people have on hand.  If you’re willing to shop at a co-op or natural food store, you can ensure it’s clean and fair.  Even if you don’t, you’ll know the end result is good.  So good, in fact, your dog may find he or she was shorted a few biscuits.  But don’t worry: you can always make more.

Ari’s Biscotti

¾ cup plain low fat yogurt

½ cup peanut butter

2 Tbls. honey  

1tsp. cinnamon  

1 cup whole wheat flour (more for kneading and dusting)

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine yogurt, peanut butter, and honey, stirring well.  Add cinnamon and wheat flour and mix.  Turn dough onto counter or pastry sheet and knead until smooth.  Roll out to1/4 inch.  Cut with cookie cutters.  Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes.  Cool well before storing.