…and Puppies for All (featuring Tarragon Potato Salad)
“Whaaaat yyyooooooouuuuu waaaaannnnnt tooooo doooooo issss…”
Worried that I might experience a contact high, I tried not to look into the salesgirl’s sleepy eyes as she spoke.
“Giiiiiivvvvvveee hhhheeeerrr oooonnnnnneeee drrooooppeeeerrrrfuuuuullllllll…”
The petshop salesgirl languidly gave me the instructions for administering CBD oil, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid extracted from cannabis that has become a viable option for dogs (and humans) dealing with anxiety. I was tempted to make a joke that she had kept the THC for herself (THC is Tetrahydrocannabinol, the cannabinoid in cannabis that does get you stoned—or so I’ve heard), but decided against it. She might have been slow, but I was grateful to have someone talk me through the process.
When I pulled my focus back to the store full of panicking pet parents, thumbing through thundershirts and anxiety blankets, I realized the salesgirl might not be high. Maybe she was countering concern with calm. It was the 3rd of July and the store was buzzing with anxious pet owners purchasing CBD with the hope that it would soothe their savage beasts when the fireworks began. Everyone I knew was either holding or copping.
Amelia (our lab-schnauzer mix that we call Meals) leaped onto the dog-sized divot in the sales counter and tapped her paws for a treat. As if perfectly trained by my bearded dog, another saleslady made Meals sit and then rewarded her with a chicken cookie. Meals danced and howled with joy.
She’s my life, this creature.
She’s everything I want to protect in the world and she is devastated with fear when the fireworks go off.
I really hate the 4th of July.
Francis and I had decided to host a barbecue with the dual intention of celebrating our nation with charred meat and wearing Amelia out before the bombs bursting in air. We dosed her with CBD a few hours before guests arrived and it worked well until sundown.
When the fireworks began, the CBD did nothing. Amelia’s body shook violently as she hid inside, pupils dilated, eyes glassy. Her tail was tucked hard and firm under and she could not be soothed.
“Baby girl, I know, it’s terrible out there.” I tried to calm her, but she pulled from my embrace.
“Fuck those bastards. Those selfish mother fuckers!” I have no vocabulary restraint when I get this angry.
But then my rage created a vision…
It was me, a red-headed Snow White, with dwarfs in tow. And we all were carrying baskets of puppies. We walked through the streets of Portland, arriving just before the fireworks were lit, and we handed each of those explosion-loving hooligans a puppy. Because it’s kind of narrow-minded to think that all those people out there lighting fireworks are assholes. Maybe they don’t care about offending people because most people are terrible.
But puppies. Puppies are a different thing. A scared puppy isn’t a thing even the worst monster would want to produce. Maybe the fireworkers just don’t know the impact they’re having.
Puppies change people.
I’ve decided not to run for president, but if I were running, “Puppies for All” would be my platform.
Instead, I’ll go with Potatoes for All.
Here’s my favorite potato salad, light on the mayo, heavy on flavor.
I use a combination of red new potatoes, purple potatoes, and sweet potatoes with tons of fresh tarragon to give the classic white side a colorful new twist.
And for those wondering about Amelia, our wonderful neighbor showed up and asked if we would like some doggie downers that he had scored for his dog from the vet. He was on his rounds supplying every dog owner on the block with the stuff. I said yes please, and though it didn’t wipe the terror out completely, it helped. On July 10th we’re still hearing a firework or two every night, but Meals is coping much better.
Tarragon Potato Salad
- 1 pound red and purple potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes (these don’t have to be peeled)
- 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- splash of white vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot, chopped fine
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh chives, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, loosely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fill a large pot with cold water, a generous heap of salt, and a splash of white vinegar.
- Add the potatoes to the pot and turn on the flame. After the water has come to a boil, turn the heat down, cover the pot, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a small pan. Add the garlic cloves, cover, and roast the garlic on the lowest flame possible for about 5 minutes. Turn the garlic and continue to cook over the lowest heat and roast for another 3-4 minutes. Watch carefully because you want the garlic to become soft, not burned, which happens quickly.
- In a large bowl, combine the shallots, the mayonnaise, and mustard, and the vinegar. Add the garlic as well as the oil (now this is garlic oil) into the mixture in the bowl and smush the garlic to break it up. Stir well as the dressing comes together. Add the chives and tarragon.
- When the potatoes are cooked, drain them into a colander and then add them while they’re still hot into the dressing. Season well with salt and pepper. Stir and then let cool (the potatoes will drink in the dressing and become juicy and full).
I generally like to give the potatoes at least an hour or two to chill before serving. Truthfully, I think it’s better the next day so this is a perfect recipe to do the day before your big barbecue.
Fireworks sold separately.
Here I am on KATU’s Afternoon Live making it: