Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Monday, January 07, 2008

Mutilated Monkey Meat

Where's Upton Sinclair When You Need Him?

Anybody own a dog back in the 70's & 80's? If so, you might remember a dog food called Gaines Burgers. They're no longer produced, which is probably for the best.

They were these little meat pattie-looking things that you would swear consisted of compressed roundworms. You would squeeze them out of the plastic wrapper into the dog's bowl, breaking them up into edible chunks. To me, they smelled like week-old scrambled eggs marinated in soy sauce and motor oil.

Gaines Burgers were the dog food of choice for my grandmother's poodle Pierre. In the 1970's, "Gigi" managed a retirement hotel in Hollywood, Florida. Pierre was her beloved miniature poodle. I don't know how it got classed as a miniature, it was easily 30 lbs. and as tall as my knee. A poodle-loving person would say it was cocoa-colored, with tiny black claws that you could hear clicking all over the hotel.

At the time, I was NOT a poodle-loving person. Man, I hated that shit-colored dog. It hated me right back. I couldn't set foot in her apartment without it growling and snapping at my pants legs. Considering that my pants in Florida consisted entirely of cutoffs and swim trunks, a snapping lunge at my pants leg put it entirely too near my crotch for comfort.

Since feeding the beast often fell to me when we visited, I'd have to creep into the kitchen and try to squeeze a couple of Gaines Burgers into his bowl and back out of attack range before he caught the scent of dinner. Every so often, I'd flub the food placement, and rattle the cellophane wrapper while squeezing out the "burger". Pierre would hear the wrapper crinkle, and make a mad dash from Gigi's bedroom to the kitchen. When it saw me standing there next to its foodbowl, the dinner dash turned instantly into a hell-for-leather death or glory charge aimed at my balls. I managed to smack him a couple of times with a rubber flipflop sandal, and he ate one of 'em in revenge, so I guess it evened out.

Even though I'm always looking for my next culinary adventure, I always resisted the urge to take a nibble off of a Gaines Burger, even when they introduced the new version with cheesy bits. I've read on the 'net where people have tried frying them up and eating them like burgers, but apparently it's even worse than trying to eat cat treats. I'll 'fess up to eating a fistful of Purina Dog Chow as a toddler, but that was the extent of my dogfood sampling.

So, why the reverie about an obsolete dog food? I was looking for a low-carb snack, and the Slim Jims at the convenience store looked like they had sat in the sun too long. So, I thought I'd try another brand. I went with the Jack Link's Teriyaki-flavored beef stick. After all, how bad could it be?

Pretty effin' bad. I was a couple of bites into it when that section of your brain that catalogues aromas and stores them in long-term memory was jolted into action. Suddenly, I was no longer chewing on a teriyaki beef stick, I was gnawing upon a giant Gaines Burger stick. The more I looked at the texture, the more I was convinced they had to have been extruded by the same machine. The aroma was eerily similar to the Gaines Burger of long ago. All I lacked was a psychotic poodle gnawing on an extremity.

Anyway, you might want to avoid that particular flavor...