Monday, December 27, 2010

It Sneaks Up On You

My dogs' favorite food in the whole world is green tripe. Raw-frozen is better for them, but canned will do in a pinch. No matter how you package it, though, green tripe is vile.

Since they love it so much, I decided that would be their Christmas dinner (I celebrate Yule, not Christmas, but take full advantage of the days off to do the "heavy lifting"). Since I store the dogs' food in the barely-heated foyer and I happened to have canned tripe on hand, I opened the cans and set them on the woodstove to warm up.

Really cold green tripe has very little odor. When the tripe was nice and warm, I thought my residual head cold was protecting me from the awfulness. Unfortunately, the rate at which it warms up and stinks appears to equal the rate of human olfactory fatigue. I found this out the hard way after I fed the dogs and went outside to do some chores.

When I came back in the house, I walked into a nearly tangible wall of stench. I've worked in a slaughterhouse and a morgue without any difficulty at all, but this was nearly enough to make me hurl. Generous use of bayberry candles and fresh orange peel (aided no doubt by the aforementioned olfactory fatigue) eventually rendered the house habitable, but I still hung my jackets outside for the rest of the day.

I found the following essay years ago on the Greyhound-L mail list. I think it was originally written by a member of the Dogwood Rottweiler Club, but their website is currently down. If the site comes back, I will verify and attribute. Whatever its source, though, it accurately describes Green Tripe In A Can in all its horrific glory.
Tripe In A Can

You know, I used to think I was tough. That I could handle just about anything! After all, I LAUGHED at fresh Green Tripe!

So it was with much joy when I discovered that one could BUY Fresh Green Tripe, in a CAN!

How novel, I thought! No more mess, no more fuss, just open a can, and feed Green Tripe on demand.

Of course I ordered from this company immediately! And not just one or two cans, but a case! Mind, you, I'm no simpleton! After all, It's Fresh Green Tripe. In a CAN!

So today, that Santa Claus of the mail system UPS came to my door and delivered a LARGE brown box. With a satisfied "Ahh Haaa!!!" I hoisted my prize high over my head and carried it inside, Max following along, sniffing at the box, tail wagging. After all, he knew it was for him!

"What's in the box??" my 13 year old son asked.

"Fresh GREEN tripe! In a can!" I stated emphatically. "A case of it!" What a smart consumer I was indeed! (Oooh! Ooohh! Tim Allen grunt!)

Finally the moment I had waited for, came, later in the evening. Max's dinner time. We put the normal raw beef heart, some veggies, Hokamix, flaxseed meal, and a wee bit of kibble in his dish, but the crowning moment was about to happen.

As I looked longingly at the can, it felt almost like a solemn occasion. "Now you will see some good stuff!" I smiled as I positioned the can into the electric can opener. Clink, Chink Whhhhrrrrrrrr!!

Went the can opener. For a brief moment in time, it felt as though time itself had stopped, so intent were we to see this wondrous marvel of modern science. Green Tripe in a can, why it was almost as if we were discovering the lost Ark of the Covenant. Dog, Child and myself were held in awe. With a final CHINK! The can lid was released… And then I smelled something.

"What is THAT?!?!" my son exclaimed. One of our cats who had been sitting by the kitchen door, quickly sidled out. She was smart.

"Green Tripe, in a can…" I tried to sound parental and authoritative, but I could feel the first churning of my stomach.

The dog's eyes were on me intently, like two laser beams.

With a daring poke, I took off the lid to the can. And then it hit us. "Oh Geeeshhhh!!!!" and then my normally angelic son cursed for the first time, in my presence, "What the $&%@ is that *@#*???!!!"

And with that he ran away.

AT that point a smell hit me, so foul, so putrefied and grotesque, that bathing in fresh skunk spray would have been a pleasure. A smell so rancid, that it made a raw sewage plant in a hot southern sun, smell nice.

I felt my insides roil dangerously.

Max now had two long lines of drool that hung from his mouth, and with a sickening slurp! He licked his lips, willing me to give him what was in that can.

"You're sick," I said to him through clenched teeth. I had to clench them or else I knew my dinner would be revisiting at that very moment.

This Green Tripe in a can was nothing like the fresh tripe I had dealt with. No, this stuff was insidious, vile, and deadly. The US Military should use it as a biological weapon. I could see squadrons of men falling before this stuff.

I held the can at arms length like radioactive plutonium and gingerly waggled it over the dog's dish, aiming for his food bowl. Sluuuurrrrk!!! It made a sickening noise as it slid out of the can. By now my vision was clouded, and I could have sworn I saw GREEN vapors leaking out of the can, like some mad scientist's experiment gone wrong.

I thrust the dogs dish down, and he immediately threw himself into eating it, like a starving man at a banquet.

"Aaaaaaaacck!" was all I managed to say, as I WILLED myself not to hurl my cookies. "Steve! Help me! Find the plastic lid cover!" I cried plaintively to my son.

"Nuh-uh!" he screamed from somewhere deep in the house, "That stuff REEKS!"

Now it was my turn to come up with colorful expletives as I dug up a plastic lid cover to try and hide the horrible bomb that had been unleashed in the house. I just KNEW that the smell would be forever imbedded in my walls, my furniture, my cat's fur, and thanks to the central AC, the putrefying fragrance was being spread to all corners of the house.

Finally in disgust I managed to cover the can and thrust it into the refrigerator. The dog had finished his dinner, and stood looking at me, as though hoping for more. I knew I would be sterilizing the dogs dish, and probably his mouth with hot water. Heck I may just throw them both in an autoclave. If a hurricane hit my house now, it would not have been a bad time. It may even clear the air. I realized now why they called it GREEN tripe. It was. And it was in a can. And it was deadly.

Five hours later, the smell STILL lingers around, in cruel little whiffs. But hey, who am I to complain, I was smart, right? After all, I only have 11 and 1/2 cans to go, of Green Tripe in a CAN!
Fortunately, the horses' favorite delicacies weren't disgusting. Baby carrots, cut-up apples, and Mrs. Pasture's Horse Cookies are all favorites. None of my current herd like peppermints, oddly enough, and weird old Max refuses anything except his normal Triple Crown Senior.

I'm afraid I just can't bring myself to give Milton The EvilPony™ his favorite treat in cold weather. He absolutely loves Edy's frozen strawberry bars.


Ruth said...

I have been taught....I shall not be offering my dog canned green tripe anytime soon....

Toastrider said...

*laughs hysterically*

If only it had been elk...