This is Penny Lane’s second Thanksgiving. I expect her below-the-dinner-table behavior to be exquisite.
Penny is a sweet-as-frosting rescue who’s almost a dog.
“Almost,” I said. And, no; this isn’t a “not yet” thing. When I say “almost,” it means, “We’re still speculating.”
We thought we had a dog when we brought her tiny-ness home from the rescue in March of 2022. But now, who knows?
Not quite knee-high, though done growing, she’s part blue healer, part chihuahua, and part the aforementioned: “Who knows”?
Add parts together and you have nearly a dog.
She’s mostly ears and a tail, with a very acute muzzle and a nose fit for flowers. She has tiny feet, as if having shed hooves in the foyer.
Her soft coat is the hue of pumpkin pie out of the oven. A shawl of powdered sugar drapes her shoulders like the spots of a fawn.
If you’re picturing something approximating a baby deer, that’s our Penny.
However, her unique look isn’t the only thing that would make anyone wonder if this is a dog or something far more mystical.
Most puzzling is the matter of food. When it comes to eating, she is way, way too circumspect.
At Thanksgiving or any meal, Penny won’t beg. I hear groans of consternation from her fallen predecessors and every dog in the neighborhood.
She eats when she’s ready, not when food is before her. And that which will please her remains mostly a mystery. We’ve spun the wheel from kibbles to bits, from chunks to stew to pate. We still scratch our heads.
She’s even picky with treats. She turns up her nose at a Milk Bone, the Swarovski crystal of dog rewards. She’ll not lower herself to a Beggin’ Strip, for gosh sakes.
That brings us to the topic of today’s commentary.
Our lovely little one, brilliant in all her doggie ways, appears to have been seduced by – of all things – sweet potatoes.
I didn’t realize what I had purchased one day when I had eeny-ed, meeny-ed, miny-ed and mo-ed myself through the supermarket dog treats section as I do almost every trip.
That day Penny quickly took to a treat from a product I hadn’t examined closely. I was stunned and chagrined by the ingredients: sweet potato spears wrapped in duck.
In a crusade that has stretched across almost all of my commentary career, I’ve sought to convince readers that sweet potatoes are not something one should put in one’s mouth. Not baked, not casseroled, not pied, not submersed by a marshmallow tide.
I have made great progress to that end. When I started my crusade in a newspaper in the heart of Texas – south of what they call the Tuber Line – it was me against the world.
Now a poll in Huffington Post finds that 27 percent of Americans share my view.
Hence, expect organized blowback against dangerous recipes like recent abominations shared by FoodandWine.com.
Speak out against “Brussels sprouts and sweet potato hand pies.” Don’t stand for “root vegetable tian” — slices of sweet potato comingled with chickpeas, beets, parsnips, red onions and a whole bunch of minced garlic.
With concoctions like that contaminating the internet, our anti-sweet potato numbers have nowhere to go but up.
Back to Penny Lane and sweet potatoes: After absorbing my shock, I calmed down and resolved to give the dog what she wants.
I can’t disagree that sweet potatoes are on the healthful side of things that taste bad. Tree roots and turnips fit therein too.
I’ve written many times that I am pro-sweet potato if for making any number of byproducts – from ink to ethanol.
Now I will declare myself pro-sweet potato if only to please a little dog, or to convince Penny that she is one.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: email@example.com.