Skip to main content

Connections: Good Dogs

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 12:48

There was a time when I frequently traveled from East Hampton to New London, Conn., to visit my husband-to-be, who lived and worked then at Connecticut College. My companion in those days was Mookie, a huge, black, shaggy dog — adopted by my daughter from the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons — who not only had a charming personality but impeccable manners. As regular travelers on the Cross Sound Ferry, to and from New London, Mookie and I were befriended by the crew.

She was, we believed, part Irish wolfhound; she had a hound’s telltale scruffy coat, in a tuxedo pattern, but instead of being lean, she was barrel-chested. Mookie was a people dog: She enjoyed few things more than settling her 106-pound frame onto a friendly lap. Crew members came to recognize us, and would stop to give her a scratch when she rolled over to present her ample belly.

A round trip on the Cross Sound Ferry for Thanksgiving weekend this year made me think back on those days. Chris and I went to Massachusetts to spend the holiday with his relatives — his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. I couldn’t help thinking about Mookie again when we we played fetch with their dog, Tara, a midsize brindle mix.

My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner, as I mentioned last week, was the special green sorrel sauce for Oysters Rattray. My son-in-law had, I believe, never opened fresh oysters before, and he had armed himself with a shellfish knife. For the turkey, the Corys followed the spatchcock method, which calls for removing the backbone so the bird can be placed just about flat on a cooking tray; this shortens the roasting time considerably. My daughter-in-law’s stuffing wasn’t stuffed, but a mix of grains with wild rice. It was turkey and stuffing for the stars!

But although Thanksgiving dinner was smashing, I have to admit that the treat I relished most came when we left the fine dining behind and sampled the simple pleasure of a grilled hot dog — with mustard and a lot of sauerkraut — in the canteen on the Cross Sound Ferry, during our return trip.

Mookie used to beg for the last bite of hot dog, back in the old days.

I think I love hot dogs because indulging in one always feels a bit naughty. I learned to love them illicitly as a child, at a stand that operated around the corner from the movie theater my friends and I were allowed to go to on weekend afternoons. My family kept kosher when I was a child, and these hot dogs certainly weren’t kosher, so we had to sneak. They came with ketchup (we called it “catsup”) and only a little sauerkraut. 

By Christmastime, we will return to more refined sauces. We have just enough sorrel sauce left for a dozen good Shinnecock oysters. Those, Mookie was never allowed to eat!


Thank you for reading . . . 
...Your support for The East Hampton Star helps us deliver the news, arts, and community information you need. Whether you are an online subscriber, get the paper in the mail, delivered to your door in Manhattan, or are just passing through, every reader counts. We value you for being part of The Star family.

Your subscription to The Star does more than get you great arts, news, sports, and outdoors stories. It makes everything we do possible.