Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dog Food 101

The dog food class happened today, despite the rain and snow.  There were no major glitches, no missing ingredients, and they all clapped at the end.  Instead of feeling frazzled, I had so much fun for the hour and a half.

When I woke up to rain and then snow, I wondered who would actually show up for class today.  But most of the 8 students lived within walking distance of Hill’s Kitchen, so I was the one much more worried about the weather.

I had devoted a lot of time to doing research, to prepping, to practicing with my family (who it turns out were far tougher than my class).  I had handouts.  I had a timeline.  I had the ingredients mostly measured out and ready to go.

We started with introductions.  I of course showed them Jake’s picture and talked about the day he refused to eat kibble, launching my search for a good recipe for homemade dog food.  They then took turns talking about their 4-legged friends who had sent them to class.

I can’t say enough good things about my teaching partner today.  Brock, the head chef, became a sous-chef, making my stock the day before, carefully chopping whatever I threw his way, assembling doggy bags.  He fielded some of the tougher nutrition questions since he has a background in food science.  And last, but not least, he cleaned up after class.

In between assembling and cooking the dog food and the dog biscuits and making the supplement mixture, I gave them a brief overview of the history of dog food and talked a bit about canine nutrition.  We kept coming back to those three little words “Balanced and Complete” that most veterinary professionals claim are impossible to apply to a homemade dog food.  I was preaching to the converted when I lamented the fact that the dog food industry has brainwashed the vets and dog owners of America to believe that.

The dog food cooking on top of the stove finished a few minutes before the dog biscuits went in the oven.  Brock passed it around for people to see and smell. We all agreed it would do in a pinch if we were in need of a quick dinner. We finished up just a minute or two before class was supposed to be over.

It was a talkative group.  I can’t say I had answers to all their questions.  I didn’t know why avocados were bad for dogs, just that they were on a list of prohibited food, along with other things like chocolate.  I didn’t know how kelp aided the function of the canine thyroid gland, but simply that it does, along with offering many other benefits.  No one seemed to mind that I didn’t have all the answers.  There were experts in the group who had good ideas to share.  It was a cooperative discussion.

This dog food class was a great way to discover how much I like to teach something I know something about.  I’m hoping it may be offered again in the future.  Maybe by then I can learn a little more about a fascinating subject, especially for those of us who are dog lovers.

Meanwhile I can take two classes at Hill’s Kitchen at no charge in exchange for sharing my dog food experience.  I think it was a win-win!


Blogger lettuce said...

well done! i'm glad you were able to relax and enjoy doing this,it sounds great

5:17 AM  
Blogger lacochran said...


11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hooray! Isn't it wonderful how in group classes, attendees often end up teaching themselves? As an instructor, sometimes I feel like my role is more a facilitator for the exchange and development of ideas and experience than an "imparter"...Sounds like you did a great job and that people learned a lot and had a wonderful time.


12:59 PM  

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