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Sous chef

We all get a little territorial in the kitchen sometimes. Which direction to slice an onion, whether to clean up in stages or all at the end, when to season–these are areas where personal preference can be strong, and where, in the heat of a busy cooking session, you don’t want someone nitpicking over your shoulder.

So the best cooking partner is one who will step aside, keep his mouth shut and manage to pick up all the scraps you drop without blocking your access to the stovetop — not to mention one who always thinks your cooking is worth drooling over.

I’ve been lucky enough to cook with just such a partner for the past four and a half years.

He’s not much for prep work, and his knife skills are, thankfully, untested. But he can clear a plate like a pro, and at the sound of the words, “clean up,” he’ll drop anything he happens to be doing at the moment and rush to the end of my pointing toe.

I don’t have to ask for his attendance when I start working in the kitchen. The moment a produce bag begins to rustle, or the clink of dry pasta sounds on a Pyrex cup, he comes trotting in. Even though it doesn’t make too much of a sound, something about the action of pulling butcher paper away from meat brings him sprinting to my side, an almost trance-like look in his eyes as he looks up at the counter.

He’s watched with remarkable focus as countless balls of pizza dough have become pies, as pancakes have been flipped, as butter has been whipped for cookies and cakes.

Were it not for his unfortunate lack of opposable thumbs (and the fact that he stands less than two feet off the ground) I am sure he could perform all of these tasks to perfection.

For now, he’ll just have to settle for eating the remnants of my cooking.

Thanks, Eddie. You’re a cook’s best friend.

Do you have a loyal cooking companion? Tell us about them in the comments.


  • Matt Kelly

    What is it?

  • Eddie the Dog

    Matt — I am a dog. I am a 26-pound canine. It was funny the first 15 times you made fun of my size, but you’ve made your point. Please stop making fun of me or I will leave some of my special chocolate bars on your front lawn.

  • Edie Gross

    Love this blog entry, Emily! You should know that Eddie is just as helpful when he stays at our house — the perfect kitchen gentleman. Clearly there’s some good parenting going on there!

  • John Gustafson

    Every kitchen should have at least one dog. The canine is as natural a part of the kitchen as the sink, refrigerator, and compost container. You very cleverly and tenderly captured this sentiment.