Fear Not the Dog Bowl

I do not fear dog bowl. Say it again, mantra style. I do not fear dog bowl!

For those of us who have iron-gut, there is an implicit challenge. Enjoy the mixture, revel in the insanity.

Wait, Pal. What’s dog bowl?

Exactly what it implies–a bunch of leftovers and odds-and-ends that don’t really go together, but you know the dog would enjoy. The first dog bowl, at least in modern Edison lore, consisted of Thai food leftovers (2 dishes) mac ‘n cheese, goldfish and half-a-cheeseburger. It was delicious in its own weird way. To me, anyone who can stomach mayonnaise-peanut better sandwiches (yes, they exist) can handle dog bowl.

My friend once consumed cinnamon french toast, a seafood omelet and chocolate milkshake in one breakfast sitting. Go ahead, let that culinary hurricane sink in. The only way to make that one weirder would be to throw in lime Jell-O with some tapenade-asparagus. Did he get sick? No, but his brother was almost nauseous watching him eat.

Dog bowl, which is Edison's Man-Hash, some sausage-bell pepper mix and Cheez-Its on top.

We all get our inspiration (and revulsion) somewhere. Man-hash was just dog bowl with a little forethought and a skillet. Whenever my wife sees me working on dog bowl, she walks the other day. I offer some to the kids, no thanks. But my son’s gaze lingers, his curiosity piqued. He, like me, is of the Iron-gut Clan. And he can handle spicier South Indian food than I can. So there may come a time.

Since I’m a writer who writes about stuff (lotsa stuff) I offer this: Start throwing things together–characters, objects, places. The combination may be unworkable or toxic, or now and then produce something unexpectedly awesome. This weird world calls for a little zany. Taking a stroll through the loud, vibrant circus carries no obligation to move forward with it. Plus, you never know.

Very few rational people would follow a real-life Jack Sparrow. But he sure is fun to listen to.

Man-Hash Recipe

(For lack of a better title.)

I goof around in the kitchen, fair enough. Since I’m not afraid of incendiary events (rather, I’m not likely to cause one) I’ll occasionally throw stuff together. On my honor: Though I offer these creations to the kids and my wife, they are under no obligation to try anything–thus saving my ego the gratuitous ding.

So, Man-Hash:

  • 1 package of bacon (kitchen shears are a plus for this)
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas
  • red cabbage (1-2 cups) chopped
  • apple (1-2)
  • onion (1-2 cups) chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper and spices (I threw in some thyme and maybe marjoram)

Spray the skillet. Using the kitchen shears (at $10, a real moss-free, tape-free bargain) cut the bacon up into 1-inch pieces. I cut 3-4 strips at a time. It all separates in the pan, anyway. Cook the bacon to desired crispiness. Set the cooked bacon aside (the manly way is to put it in the bowl you’re eventually going to use to eat–fewer dishes, cha-ching!). Drain the bacon grease however you see fit. (The way I do it is to pour it on a section of cedar-tree litter. It looks a little trashy, but it’s efficient.)

Edison's man hash, a skillet dish of bacon, onions, chickpeas, red cabbage, olive oil and spice

Without cleaning the pan (unnecessary!!!) apply cooking spray and start cooking the onions. As they’re cooking, you can chop the red cabbage (1-inch pieces will do) and apples and anything else you want to add, like carrots. (No worries: cooking apples takes out the strong flavor, so the finished product works in a lot of autumn recipes. You can also use old apples for this.) Throw in a can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas, the olive oil, salt, pepper and spice. When the onions are soft and grilled-looking (a real chef knows the term for this) add the bacon and stir it all for another 5-10 minutes. The cabbage is pretty stiff to begin with, so cook and stir until it’s softer.

[For those who don’t know: Red cabbage and chickpeas both have a mild taste while being high in protein and fiber. In other words, they’re awesome for you!]

Serve as a side for steak or burgers, probably with a beer. Bam!