Julia in the kitchen with dogs | BioStar US

Julia in My Kitchen with Dogs

My mother used to watch reruns of Julia Child’s The French Chef on PBS from a little black-and-white television in the kitchen. That’s when I first heard Julia’s voice. A high-pitched, eccentric voice lilted out of the television from an impossibly tall woman with a knife. I was both fascinated and amused.

I watched my mother chop carrots then look at Julia, slice a tomato look at Julia. Sometimes she would stop what she was doing and write down something Julia said, or say out loud to the TV “Oh Julia!

In my mother’s collection of cookbooks, there was indeed the Julia Child tome Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Whether or not my mother ever opened it remains unknown. My mother was not a great cook, but her Toll House cookies were legendary.

Julia Child The French Chef

Julia Child in The French Chef. (Public domain photo)

Rediscovering Julia

When the Meryl Streep movie Julie & Julia (2009) came out, I ended up watching some YouTube videos of several of Julia’s cooking episodes, including “Flipping a Potato”, “French Omelette”, and “Coq au Vin”. But I didn’t get the quintessential spirit of Julia until the HBO Max series Julia.

Watching the HBO series inspired me to go watch more full episodes of The French Chef on YouTube. Okay, I fast-forwarded in some places.

What I have learned from Julia about food is to take chances, be courageous, be curious, be open to learning new things, and have fun with food.

“You aren’t born a cook. You learn by doing.” – Julia Child

Feeding dogs with Julia

When I’m preparing dog meals I think of Julia. I don’t make every meal the same. Learning from Julia has made food prep more of an adventure and less of a rigorous adherence.

I start food prep with, What are we going to have today? I take stock of ingredients: raw, cooked, grains, eggs, veggies, goat yogurt, bone broth, maybe some cheese, a healthy fat.

Lizzy Meyer and Frittata Bravo

Lizzy with Frittatas Bravo

Like being the conductor of a food orchestra with Julia’s voice in my head. Sprinkle a little fennel on the food, or maybe basil. Or perhaps I’ll make some oatmeal, scramble several eggs with cheese and kale, then warm up goats’ milk to pour over it.

I could do a raw meal such as Smallbatch turkey or lamb patties with Green Juju’s Just Greens, goat milk yogurt, and pumpkin puree. Maybe add some dill, or turmeric perhaps, or a pinch of parsley.

To cover all the nutrient bases, I always include BioStar’s Optimum K9 formula.

Lizzy Meyer, BioStar’s canine specialist, inspired me to start making her Frittata Bravo. It’s a simple recipe (eggs, almond flour, and shredded cheese) that can be added onto in many ways. This morning I made the “frittata” dog muffins and added freeze-dried veggies.

Variety is the spice of life!

Joy in the kitchen

Julia is joyous when she cooks, and I have adopted that approach. I might sing while I am stirring the bowls or have a conversation with my dogs about the ingredients. I try to avoid talking on the phone, texting, or in any way being distracted from the focus and joy of dog food prep.

One of my dogs, nine-month-old Kenobi, has taken it upon himself to be the Food Inspector. He wedges his body next to mine, and his eyes follow every move I make while preparing his meal. His cohort, Keen, politely sits at the kitchen entrance, patient, trusting, a canine version of Julia’s husband Paul Child.

Tigger with Dogs February 2024 | BioStar US

Tigger with Dogs!

Fear of trying something different

I think many of us who started our dog journeys with kibble become fearful of changing course, afraid to give kibble the boot and move on to new explorations with food and health.

I was afraid once too. It seemed daunting and I felt out of my element. Vets recommend kibble — why buck the system?

It was probably the same for many American housewives when they were first exposed to Julia and French cooking. Convenience foods already had placement on grocery shelves (Swanson TV dinners come to mind), not to mention the growing category of “time-saving devices.” Giving up convenience to make a French dish was no doubt intimidating.

And yet, some housewives took the leap, while others incorporated elements of French recipes or techniques they learned from Julia’s show. Convenience-food demand would continue to grow, but from those mothers in the 1960s came the foodies, farmers, and chefs of the decades to come.

When in doubt, improvise

I found a YouTube video of Julia Child on Late Night with David Letterman (1986), “Julia Child Turns A Meat Mistake Into A Gourmet Meal.” Her ability to improvise on the fly was truly amazing.

What struck me was her confidence and fearlessness. I think we become more courageous when we understand the basics. With dogs, we know the basics: they need protein, some carbohydrates, some vegetables, healthy fat, vitamins and minerals. Improvising when making their meals lets dogs benefit from a variety of foods, because variety feeds the varied species of the gut microbiome — and helps reduce picky-eater syndrome.

Be like Julia

As dog owners we can be a kind of Julia Child to our dogs. Not that we must provide French cuisine, but we can make feeding our dogs a joyful, fun experience. When we feel the freedom to improvise, we allow our dogs to experience new foods in small quantities.

For instance, I once tried to add blueberries to my dogs’ food, but they left them in their bowls, even with the berries slightly mashed. So I instead tried putting them in dog muffins (Lizzy’s frittata recipe) and voila … they ate them up.

Frittata Bravo with blueberries

Experiment, but keep in mind…

Avoid using chocolate, gum, candy, anything with xylitol (which is also found in some toothpastes), grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, avocados, onions, raw yeast dough, coffee, or alcohol.

If your dog is sensitive to cow’s milk, perhaps because of a lactose or casein intolerance, goat milk is a wonderful alternative. Goat milk contains less lactose, less casein, and provides more protein than cow’s milk.

May your dogs lick their lips while you say bon appetit.

Bon Appetit Julia Child GIF

Photo credits:

Julia Child in her kitchen as photographed by ©Lynn Gilbert, 1978, Cambridge, Mass. Lynn Gilbert / Wikimedia / 1978 / CC BY-SA 4.0

Julia Child, “The French Chef.” Public domain photo.

Lizzy Meyer – self portrait

Tigger Montague with dogs – Mane Source Media

Blueberry dog frittatas – by Tigger Montague

Bon Appetit GIF by Tenor



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