This weekend, Dewey got a chance to see firsthand that it's a fair amount of work to put together a few weeks' supply of the special "ostrich porridge"...Maybe there's an easier way to accomplish but too many years of banquet waitressing has ingrained in me the need to pull it all together assembly-line fashion.
So, if you're curious, this what this process looks like:
1 - Place order for 40 lbs of ground ostritch on the MONDAY prior to the weekend you plan to devote to cooking the porridge. Company only ships on Tuesday, Wed. and Thurs. since it's perishable, so you need to plan ahead such that the shipment arrives on Friday and you can cook over the weekend. I buy 40 lbs and that makes about a 20 day supply of food. Any more than 40 lbs, and I would not have room to store the frozen individual portions.
2 - Friday night, get your massive quantity of sweet potatoes purchased and baked off. I bought 40 this time and needed to buy an add'l 8 or so to finish up the batch. Baking them seems to be most efficient as you just stick them in the oven for an hour or so. Once cool, they peel really easily.
3 - Saturday morning, spread all the indiviudal 1 lb. packages of ground ostrich on all flat surfaces in your kitchen to defrost.
4 - Go to gym, go run errands, go out to lunch...whatever kills a few hours to get the packages unfrozen!
5 - Pull out every large cassarole/pyrex/broiler pan you can find and start emptying the 40 individually wrapped portions into them. Shove as many as will fit at one time into your oven at 375. Stir every so often, being sure to spill into the oven, ensuring you'll need to run the clean cycle at the end of the process!
6 - Peel and cut up sweet potatoes, into ginormous bowl.
7 - check meat for doneness - stir and spill some more.
8 - Make giant batch of oatmeal - I've been buying two of the biggest size containers and using about 1 and 2/3. You'll need two big spaghetti pots for this - and be sure and spill on your stovetop as well.
9 - At this point, Dewey has lost interest and the smell of the cooking ostrich is making him nauseous...to this I say "really, you're a hunter...you can gut deer and this grosses you out??". Mostly I think he's lost interest.
10 - Pull pans of meat out, sort of chopping it up so you can scoop with a measuring cup. Ensure oatmeal is done as well.
11 - Lay out as many 4 cup tupperware containers as you can locate and/or use 1 gallon ziploc bags. Makes sense to sort of prop them open as once you start scooping, everything is very messy...
12 - Start assembling......two cups of meat, one cup of sweet potato and one cup of oatmeal. Keep going until you run out of one ingredient (and energy). Plan to purchase whatever you ran out of the next day and go take a break....
Everything goes into the freezer in the kitchen or outside in the garage, and you've got enough of a supply for another 20 or so days. Which means about 3 weeks from now, I have to start over again!!
The good news is that Jack continues to improve - he clearly feels better, has more energy and his coat looks SO much better. That makes it worth it (I think...).
We're two full weeks into this and his scratching has basically stopped. Music to my ears!