I respectfully nicknamed my dog Chichu, short for Cicciolina, the ’80s Italian pornstar-turned-parliamentarian who was notorious for – among other things – flashing her boobs during media interviews.
My dog’s real name is Annie, at least that’s the name she was given by the people who rescued her. She was brought to Massachusetts by a fantastic, all volunteer-run organization called The Great Dog Rescue. Annie was found in an abandoned house in Mississippi, nursing a litter of puppies and some kittens. Yes, nursing kittens. When I heard that story, I thought, this must be a very special dog.
Annie was emaciated, and she was not real pretty. Her nickname occurred to me when I met her and saw her teats, engorged with milk, stretched down to the ground. I kept thinking, man, you look bad. Those things are everywhere, swinging this way and that for everyone to see.
“You are worse than La Cicciolina,” I told her.
Growing up in Argentina in the ’80s it was common to see women’s bare chests on television. Much like in Europe, people aren’t scandalized to see a nipple or two every now and then. But La Cicciolina made a huge impression on me and, I’m sure, on a lot of boys my age.
Chichu is a very sweet, gentle soul. She’s bedeviled by rain pelting the roof, by loud noises of any kind. When fireworks go off, she quivers under my pillow or burrows in the closet. She loves fish, cuddles, and a good belly rub. Because I think she’s had a tough life, I spoil her as much as I can.
We go for runs, she gets to jump in bed with us when she feels like it, and she gets me to cook her meals and treats. When I used to travel for work before I was married, I felt terribly guilty leaving her behind for days at a time (though she was left in the good hands of friends who love her). Like any guilty absentee parent, I made a point of always buying her gifts. I brought her dry fish treats from Vancouver, deer antlers from Denver, a new leash from Bogota, a scarf from New Delhi.
Coming back from Chile, I found myself thumbing through a cookbook at the airport’s gift shop when I came across this dog treat recipe that seemed delicious. It was named “Tintin Cookies,” surely after the cartoon hero Tintin’s faithful dog, Snowy.
Now, with all due respect to the one and only Cicciolina (and the cookbook author), I think “pornstar treats” is a much better name for my version of this recipe.
PORNSTAR (DOG) TREATS
- 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup mashed sweet potato or butternut squash
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp peanut butter
- Cook sweet potatoes or butternut squash by steaming, roasting, or microwaving. Cool before mashing.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl mix well sweet potato mash, eggs, and peanut butter.
- Combine both mixtures and knead lightly.
- Stretch with a rolling pin to about ¼ inch thick.
- Cut with cookie cutter or, to be faster, use a knife to make a checkerboard pattern.
- Pierce with a fork and bake for about 30 minutes.