Our youngest beagle Max, has never been a thin dog. He is barrel chested and stout. In hindsight, we really should have named him Wilbur. When he is sleeping, his belly hangs to the side and he truly does resemble a pig. They say that beagles are one of the more food-obsessed breeds, which is why it is recommended to only feed them dog food and no table scraps. We have been very good about this, but nonetheless, Max struggles with his weight. Although we joke, he really is a sweet dog. His love of food has led him to become my kitchen companion.
When we lived in Seattle, our house was set up differently, with the family room downstairs. We kept the beagles down there and they were not allowed in the kitchen. When we moved to Albany, the rules had to change because our house has a completely different floor plan. Now, the beagles basically have full range of the house. They are older now and better behaved, so this hasn't been too big of an issue. Because they are now allowed in the kitchen, Max has taken to watching me cook every meal. He stands by my feet the entire time. It used to drive me insane, and sometimes still does. But, it is also sort of endearing. I refer to him as my useless sous chef. I am sure that he is just waiting for me to drop something, and occasionally I do. But, to his frequent disappointment, I mostly drop chopped onions.
Lately, we have been making up stories to tell to Gavin at bedtime. He loves stories about Buzz and the Toy Story gang. But, he also loves stories about Starsky and Max. I often tell him stories about Max, the culinary beagle. I think these up while I am making dinner. I sometimes imagine Max narrating my cooking, like Alton Brown narrates Iron Chef. "Hmm... not sure what she's going to do with that fennel bulb." Or, taking on an Emerilesque quality, "Oh yeah, babe- more butter!" I imagine if Max could make himself a gourmet meal, it would involve a ribeye, blue cheese, and a loaded baked potato (with bacon, of course.) The stories often involve Max whipping up pancakes in the middle of the night, or convincing Starsky to make a trip to Five Guys for a burger, in which case, they ride skateboards. It's become a fun exercise and Gavin makes up some funny stories himself. Here is a picture of Max, our culinary beagle. I've been thinking that I should get him a collar that says, "Bon Appetit!"