Saturday, June 12, 2004

Dog Tales

I drove over to Brie's house this morning to check on her, fill her water bowl, and play fetch. I'll probably take her out to the mountains later today. On the way back, I heard an NPR story involving a dog. A guy who worked as a middle-east correspondent was talking about buffets in Israel:

Every Sabbath, the hotels in Israel would put out these kosher buffets. People who walked in would be asked by a person at the front: "Meat or Milk?", because meat dishes could not be mixed with milk dishes. So the hotels and the people are having a great time every Sabbath, until a religious tourist from Cleveland visits one buffet, and complains that the steam from the Swedish meatballs on the buffet line is settling on his milk dish. This causes a minor uproar, and the head Rabbi in Israel is forced to figure out how to settle the matter. Can the steam of meatballs be considered food? He and all the other rabbis talk for a few days, and finally come up with the test for what is considered food: If a dog will not eat it, it is not food.

So a dish of steaming Swedish meatballs is set up with a tube over it. At the other end of the tube, a bunch of towels were bunched together to capture all the condensed steam, which then dribbles down into a dish. They place the dish in a hotel dining hall and the head rabbi says "Bring in the dog!". The dog starts sniffing everywhere - the whole place smells of food - and eventually arrives at the dish. It takes one sniff of the dish and keeps moving. So it was settled: Swedish meatball steam isn't food. The buffets are kosher. Everyone is happy and the hoteliers shake everybody's hands.

What the rabbis didn't know was that one of the hoteliers had slipped a little pine-sol at the bottom of the dish.

The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.
He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
Matthew 15:25-27

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