The Dog Ate What?!

Recently, we enjoyed a lovely dinner with friends on the Vegas Strip. We ate delicious things like stone crabs and scallops, rib-eyes and sea bass. We drank red wine and excellent coffee and wrapped up with key lime pie. It was one of those nights that just fills you with goodwill and a sense of satisfaction. We drove home in the afterglow of good food and good company.

Then we walked into the house and found what appeared to be the aftermath of a bomb made exclusively from powdered-sugar doughnuts.Splenda spill Fine white dust coated the chocolate-colored sofa and made drifts in the carpet. Pawprints in white indicated that traffic across the living room had been brisk.

The dog, whiskers and nostrils crusted white, wagged her tail lamely and avoided eye contact. In the middle of the room lay a decimated one-pound bag of granulated Splenda.

What happens when a medium-sized dog eats roughly a pound of Splenda? (And not just any Splenda, but Splenda with FIBER?) Bad things happen. Gastrointestinal things.

Technically speaking, Splenda isn’t toxic to dogs, but as with humans, if enjoyed in “excessive amounts,” Splenda can cause the runs. A pound is excessive by anyone’s standards. In fact, describing the consumption of an entire pound of Splenda as “excessive” is something like calling an epic bout of explosive diarrhea “the runs.” Which is to say, the understatement of the year.

We dragged her bed and toys and water dish to the backyard, wished her luck and pleasant dreams, and fastened shut the doggie door.

Predictably, it was a rough night out there in Osmotic Diarrhea City. To be honest, it was no picnic inside, either, cleaning a pasty rime of artificial sweetener off the upholstery and carpet.

In the morning, I stepped out onto the patio and summoned the dog from her exile. As I scratched her ears in greeting, I surveyed the yard. Then I uncoiled the hose and spent the next half hour washing the dog’s bed and toys, the patio, and the retaining wall around the yard.

When I finished the Great Hosedown of September 2014, we went inside and ate breakfast. One of us had an appetite. The other of us had coffee.

Black, not sweet.Dog


Blue Cheese Cocktail Crackers

cheese crackers

If you like cheese crackers, I have something for you. But first, let me apologize in advance for ruining you for commercial cheese crackers forever. I had a longstanding relationship with Cheez-Its too, and I ruined myself for them. Let’s just say that these savory, buttery, flaky little crackers are to Cheez-Its what your grandmother’s chewymeltydeliciousstraightoutoftheoven chocolate chip cookies are to Chips Ahoy.

Serve these with a glass of wine or your favorite craft beer. And however many you think you’ll need, make more.

cheese crackers

Blue Cheese Cocktail Crackers

The second best thing about these crackers is how quickly they come together. (The first is how they light up all the pleasure sensors in your brain.) The color of the dough will be an odd and somewhat disconcerting shade of cadet blue. Not to worry! They bake up a heavenly golden brown.

Yield: About 5 dozen

  • 4.5 ounces blue cheese (use a good-quality cheese, not blue cheese crumbles)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Additional kosher salt and black pepper for sprinkling
  1. Combine blue cheese, butter, flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the dough comes together in a ball.
  2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour (or more).
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment.
  4. Roll chilled dough out to about 1/8″ thickness between sheets of parchment or waxed paper. Cut into 1″ squares with a pastry wheel or pizza cutter. (You can also use cookie cutters.)
  5. Transfer crackers to prepared baking sheets and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.
  6. Let crackers cool completely before placing in an air-tight container. Will keep at room temperature for 3 days; freeze for longer storage.