Photo by Delaney Dawson on Unsplash

Most of our friends have never been parents, but a disproportionate slice of them are people for whom pets rule the roost. Namely, dogs.

It’s interesting because it seems dogs by nature are the critters most wired to be servile. But since they’re at their masters’ disposal, and want to please, if they must sit on the throne so be it.

Rich and I are ambivalent being hound-less, but we travel. And our houses are three thousand miles apart. Primarily I think we allow our prior dogs such places of reverence in our memories that this precludes our adopting again. Besides, as one heartbroken friend bemoaned putting down her latest, that despite the pooch surviving sixteen years, “They just don’t live long enough.”

To withstand the censure from the “petophiles” for our being curmudgeons we invited he lot of them to dinner with their dogs. Personal supplies of baggies for poop-scooping are de rigeur these days, we assumed.

“Genevieve is housebroken, Ray” said Peter, “not to worry. She’ll huddle at my feet but actually will be thrilled to be included.”

Genevieve, to use, is a shrieker, one fo the “Prada dogs,” says another friend, small enough to fit into a bag and hide happily under the airplane seat. It seems the tinier the mutt the louder they’ve evolved for self-defense, compared to a Pyrenees that can just flop there like the Sphinx.

“One other thing, Ray. Genevieve will poop on a square of paper towel I’ll put in the corner. I promise no one will notice. Besides, her turds could pass for mouse droppings.”

Lovely. Oh well, the invites our out, and everyone accepted.

It was a circus. Rich, myself, the food were beside the point. Morsels were passed to pets in full sight, nothing covert. Most dogs yipped to the parents’ delight.

“You folks hear that! Milly just asked for seconds.”

“Next she’ll be taking the SATs.”

“Criminal to board a Lab in cargo. It could suffocate or freeze.”

“There are flights, you know, just for dogs.”

Never for my Harely. Dog-sitters have put kennels out of business.”

“This is too much. Everybody?” interrupts Rich as he clinks a wine glass to silence the ruckus.

“We have a king and queen of the prom!” Pride and Joy, one black, one white, Labradoodles- the elegant cross-breed du jour, were poised to erect on their haunches on our matching armchairs. Note begging, not barking, merely presiding, above it all, better behaved than the motley crew of humans.”

Hospitality Tip: No Skimping On Desserts

Whenever possible, we try to cook with healthy ingredients and substitute oils and creams as appropriate. However, we never sacrifice or skimp on desserts. When it comes to sharing good times with loved ones, we err on the side of indulgence, and enjoyment. This is one of Rich’s Ten Commandments. So out comes the butter, sugar, white flour, eggs and cream. He tried, briefly, airy non-fat parfaits and sorbets. “Forget it,” he concluded.

Baking and Serving Tips

For years I baked a cheesecake in a water bath, which inhibits the center from falling. Ray and I never thought the fuss was worth it. But this version is delightfully different. Can be made 2 days in advance. Must be made at least one day before serving. This dessert packs calories, so slice it thin. It can serve up to 16 that way. The leftover cake freezes beautifully.

Our Oriental Spice Cheesecake with Ginger Crust