Our driveway at home is a turn off of a dirt road that leads into the San Juan National Forest. One of the strangest, seemingly normal for Pagosa, things that I have seen out here is people who use cars or trucks to walk their dogs. They drive down Turkey Springs Road at 5-10 miles an hour while one, two or even three dogs run alongside the cars. The first time we were driving home from work one evening, after dark and I saw this dog running down the road ahead of us. It had a collar on and a little farther down the twisting road we came upon a truck. I thought that the dog had jumped out of the back of the truck, almost every truck in town has a dog in it’s bed, so we pulled up alongside the driver to let him know that he had lost his dog. He was not impressed with our efforts as a Samaritan and informed us that the dog was meant to be outside of the truck, getting his exercise. Mind you, it was dark and there are no streetlights along this road. I thought it was all rather strange but since that night I have seen many different dogs running behind many different vehicles along that road into the forest. Apparently the dogs need the exercise way more than the people do. I suppose I should be glad that they care enough to exercise the animals at all but I suspect it’s simply to keep them in top form for hunting or for defending their property. On the bright side, it provides hours of entertainment for our dogs as they bark vigorously at their compatriots running down the road. The people driving seem less impressed with their enthusiasm, but I say if they don’t like it they can drive down some other road.
As we may have mentioned before, our daily dog walk, which is actually more of a hike, is very beneficial to our state of mind. It helps keep us in shape, which is important when you’re on your feet all day. It’s also a time to get away from work and get a bit of space to clear our heads. During the busy times, only one of us gets that benefit each day, but when we are able to walk together we use the time to brainstorm and work out dishes and deal with any situations that may be pressing. Inspirations are everywhere and sometimes a walk in the woods can be just what the doctor ordered. It’s a brief moment in time when we bounce a myriad of ideas off one another and any concept, no matter how ridiculous, is given serious consideration. We debate textures and flavors and the actual validity of some of the dishes that we create. We may not always agree on the initial concepts but we both have to like the final products. We have very different outlooks on food and sometimes bringing them together can be challenging. On the other hand, when it all comes together it is an amazing thing for both of us.
Today the walk helped refine our cornbread pudding. The pudding is served hot in the style of a creme caramel. In this dish, the caramel is maple vinegar, the pudding is cornbread and yogurt based and the topping is smoked keta salmon roe. The walk today provided the right moment to filter these ideas.