Friday, October 12, 2012

She's no Jezebel

"Child, you're out of your mind. You know you can't wear red to the Olympus Ball."

"Can't I? I'm goin' to. This is 1852, dumplin', 1852, not the Dark Ages. Girls don't have to simper around in white just because they're not married." 

                   -- Fay Bainter, as Aunt Belle, cautioning Bette Davis, as Julie Marsden in the 1938 movie Jezebel.

Bette Davis in Jezebel (1938)

My dog, Jezebel, will be 13 years old this January.  She was a rescue puppy, found along with her mother and litter mates, abandoned on a busy highway near our house.  When she was a puppy, I fell in love with her because she looked like this:

Jezzie at about 3 months old.

The night I met her (having just recently lost my previous dog Michaelangelo), I did not think I was ready for another dog quite yet.  But when I picked her up and she nuzzled into my neck, it was all over but the housebreakin'.  She came home with me and spent that first night sleeping on my chest with a few occasional trips outdoors when she stirred or whimpered.

She was easy to train and eager to please me all the time.  Plus, there was the fact that she was so stinkin' cute--a big ball of fluff and so snuggly. Now, having come back recently from the groomer's with her end-of-summer cut, she looks like this:

Would you give this sad-looking doggie a biscuit?

Jezzie (we've forgone the formal name long ago) has a lovely temperament and she is always docile and sweet.  She's practically the perfect dog.  But I'm afraid I've done her a great disservice.  I've saddled her with a name attached to a very colorful history, yet it's one of ill repute.  Immoral, controlling, promiscuous--these are some of the behaviors associated with "a jezebel," a woman that is often considered to be brazen, impetuous and wicked.  The Jezebel of Biblical history was the daughter of the king of Phoenicia and became the wife of King Ahab of northern Israel.  She was noted to be domineering, evil and murderous.  Bette Davis' Jezebel was a tempestuous schemer that had a yen for a good scandal.

Jezzie is none of these things.  She is not royalty, nor does she act like it.  And she is certainly not brazen, impetuous, domineering, scheming, or even remotely evil.  Rather, she is cooperative, loyal and loving.  She is also sometimes skittish and a bit timid.  She is scared of the camera and hates having her picture taken.  My husband slyly arranged the photo above.  But Jezzie is always very agreeable and content no matter what.

Here's her favorite dog biscuit recipe, one I don't make nearly enough for her.  She deserves a better Mommy.

Jezzie's Biscuits

1 1/2 cups hot water
1 cup old-fashioned, rolled oats
1 Tbs. beef or chicken soup base (watch for MSG, sodium and additives; Roland makes an MSG and gluten-free base and Penzey's and Watkins are good substitutes as well)
1/3 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup powdered milk 
1 egg, beaten 
3/4 cup cornmeal 
1/3 cup nutritional yeast or brewer's yeast
3 cups whole wheat flour (you can substitute unbleached white flour, but you'll get a softer biscuit; I find that using half wheat germ and half unbleached flour is a reasonable substitute)

1.)  Preheat oven to 325°F.2.)  In a large bowl, pour hot water over oats, soup base and butter; allow to stand for about five minutes.
3.)  Mix in beaten egg, powdered milk and cornmeal and combine well.
4.)  Add yeast and flour, a little at a time while mixing. 
5.)  Continue to stir thoroughly, adding more flour as necessary to make the dough very stiff.
6.)  Roll dough into a 1/2 inch thickness and cut into shapes.
7.)  Place on lightly greased baking sheet.
8.)  Bake at 325°F for 45 minutes. 
9.)  Turn off oven and crack oven door, leaving biscuits in to slowly cool and thoroughly dry out.  Makes about  biscuits.

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