Apparently it’s now against the law to take your dog for day time walks in south-western China.
And big dogs are a total no-go in Beijing.
Owning a dog was banned during the days of chairman Mao’s China because dogs were considered a bourgeois luxury.
In China today, any dog who appears in daylight risks finishing its life as something sweet and sour.
There’s even a dog meat festival in June where festive dog dishes are paired with lychee nuts.
Altogether, 10 million dogs and four million cats are cooked each year in China.
Enough, I hear you say!
What’s that about cats, you say?
Even though they hold a mystic place, especially on ceramics, Chinese cats are more likely to appear on your plate as dinner, than on your aunt May’s Ming vase as decoration.
And it’s not just the Chinese.
Today’s pampered Parisian pussy cats were the cat casserole of the Second World War.
In Europe, cats were commonly cooked and referred to as ‘roof rabbit’.
Lighter than dog meat, cat meat apparently tastes like pork but with a bitter after taste and lots of fish-like bones.
With such gruesomeness in mind, I’d like to reflect on the challenges of feeding young men, namely our 22- year-old son and his 66-year-old dad, aka, young at heart and youthful in appetite.
I know I’ve moaned and mourned the loss of cooking for kids.
It’s true that I sometimes look at our giant, stained, burned and dinted dining table and want to cry.
It’s true that I have long, fantasy food flashbacks to tables heaving with chattering exchange students and mates fighting over who gets the second serving of whatever beast was laid out.
It’s also conversely true that I’ve totally loved the reinvention of the omelette or vegemite on toast as the perfect evening meal, with a cup of Yorkshire tea.
Since our son moved home these past three weeks, I’ve had to reassess our menu.
(Sneaky proud mum moment…I have to be more discreet than I’d like because son is working for this newspaper and is threatening a right of reply column … at which time, I’ll resign … because I’ve never let truth get in the way of a good story)
Last weekend they ate two lasagnes!
When one of them said, ‘lasagne again’ I almost choked.
Men like meat.
We have two dogs, Noodle and Stella and two roof rabbits, Marvin and Lulu
When faced with the challenge of two men who can eat a whole chicken, EACH, and a poodle who insists on eating her own poo, I might have taken the fricassee option with said poodle and turned Lulu into a tasty bit of fried roof rabbit.
Instead, I improvised with four whole chicken breasts, bought on sale for $11.
It wasn’t Vue De Monde, but surprisingly tasty, and no cats or dogs were harmed:
Danielle’s Dodgy Confit of Chicken for Hungry Men
4 whole chicken breasts
2 tblsp dried Italian herbs
1 tblsp crushed garlic
½ tblsp chicken stock powder
1 whole fennel bulb finely sliced (mandolin thin is best)
Put herbs, crushed garlic and stock powder into a large plastic bag.
Put breasts into the bag with herb mix and rub the whole lot until each breast is well covered.
Sear both sides of each breast and put into your slow cooker.
Cover with sliced fennel and knobs of butter, cook for four hours on ‘casserole’ setting.
Serve with giant bowl of salad greens, pan fried gnocchi and a cheeky little Pinot Grigio.