Who ate the food off of the counter?
An ACBN Point/Counterpoint editorial
It’s the question that has divided a household, and a nation. Expert opinions are sharply divided, and tensions have flared to a fever pitch. Impassioned arguments have been made by both sides, and though it’s possible we may never truly know what happened that fateful night, debate rages on.
Who ate the food I’d just cooked off of the countertop?
As the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Action Cookbook Newsletter, I am bound by my strict code of journalistic integrity to remain impartial in this discussion. In reflection of this noble and impressive stance, I’ve brought in two of our highly-paid opinion columnists to illuminate the key points from each side of the argument.
First, we have Olaf, our recently-rescued 1-year-old Australian Shepherd mix.
ACB: Thanks for joining us today.
OLAF: HAPPY TO BE HERE
ACB: Now, on—
OLAF: WHERE AM I
ACB: You’re doing an interview for my newsletter.
OLAF: WHAT’S A NOONSWEATER
ACB: It’s just a fancy way of saying I send people a blog by email.
OLAF: OH NEAT I LOVE BLOGS
ACB: You do?
OLAF: YEAH I’VE BEEN TAKING THEM OUT OF THE BIG PILE IN THE BACKYARD THEY’RE FUN TO CHEW ON
ACB: I think you’re thinking of logs.
OLAF: OH WOW I AM HOW DID YOU KNOW
ACB: I just—
OLAF: ARE YOU ONE OF THOSE GUYS WHO CAN TELL WHAT YOU’RE THINKING
ACB: A telepath?
OLAF: TELL THEM WHAT
ACB: This is going every bit as poorly as I expected. Now, I’d like to get on to the subject on everyone’s minds today.
ACB: The other night, I had prepared some food—actually, a recipe I plan to feature in the newsletter in the coming weeks—and briefly left it unattended on the kitchen counter while I stepped into another room. I couldn’t have been gone more than thirty seconds, but when I returned, a large portion of what I had cooked was missing. There was no evidence remaining, other than a piece of foil that had been covering it found lying forlornly on the kitchen tile. I believe you might have some insight into who might have taken the food?
ACB: Great. Would you like to share with us?
OLAF: I HAVE A QUESTION FIRST
OLAF: WHAT IS FOOD
ACB: I, uh—you know, like… things you eat.
OLAF: OH LIKE HEADPHONES
ACB: … did you eat my headphones?
OLAF: [falls silent, though Adele’s “Easy On Me” can be heard faintly emanating from somewhere inside of him]
ACB: Food. You know, dinner.
OLAF: DINNER!? [runs to check his bowl]
ACB: No, I—come back!
OLAF: [returns holding a laptop computer in his mouth]
ACB: Leave it! Leave it! LEAVE. IT.
OLAF: [drops computer on tile, breaking it]
ACB: I probably need to update the homeowners’ insurance to reflect having this dog.
OLAF: DO YOU HAVE ANY MORE HEADPHONES I’M HUNGRY
ACB: Between you and the children, no, I really don’t. Now, listen, buddy, can we focus for a second here?
OLAF: [runs full-speed into patio door, stumbles back dizzily] SORRY I THOUGHT I SAW SOMEONE I KNEW OUT THERE
ACB: Do you have an opinion on who ate the food on the counter?
OLAF: THERE’S FOOD ON THE COUNTER? [climbs up on counter, knocking toaster and microwave off] WHERE?
ACB: Okay, you know what? I think we’re just going to move on to the other side of the debate. Get out of here. Go. [throws squeaky toy into other room]
OLAF: [crashes through drywall rather than using open door two feet to the left]
ACB: [removes glasses, places head in hands for five minutes] Next up, we’ve got—
HOLLY: I am furious to even have been asked to participate in this ridiculous charade.
ACB: Ah, there you are. Readers, you might already be familiar with Holly, my 11-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi, who’s cropped up periodically in my internet writing over the years. Holly, I understand you might have some insight to share about the Sunday incident?
HOLLY: You mean when Olaf ate your crap food off of the counter?
ACB: Well, now—that’s a bold accusation, Holly. There are many competing theories swirling out there about what might have happened to the food, and—
HOLLY: You impetuously adopted a fur-covered horse with the intellect of a baked potato and now you’re surprised that he’s misbehaving. I see you think through your household decisions about as far as you think through your writing.
ACB: [nodding] I do pretty much wing it on both, that’s true. Parenting, too.
HOLLY: You’re getting exactly what you signed up for. Frankly, the only surprise is that anyone ate whatever culinary abomination you’d come up with this time.
ACB: Hey, I’m a good cook. People like my recipes.
HOLLY: A lot of people have lost their sense of taste recently. Have you considered that as a factor?
ACB: I will admit to the occasional misfire. But this one was honestly really good!
HOLLY: Oh, yeah? What was this one? Did you deep-fry spaghetti or something? Make a cheeseburger out of hotdogs, or a cocktail out of ranch dressing? Oh, I bet I know. I bet you put that ridiculous chili in a waffle this time.
ACB: No, but… I— [surreptitiously reaching for notepad]
HOLLY: You put spices on a sandwich one time and suddenly think you’re Guy Fieri. Maybe you should try rolling out in search of America’s greatest diners, drive-ins and dives. At least it’d get you out of my house and I could get some peace and quiet.
ACB: I feel like you’re mad about something.
HOLLY: Me? Mad? After you adopted a dog three times my size who just wants to wrestle all the time? No, I’m not mad. I’m thrilled. I love having a paw the size of a catcher’s mitt land on my head when I’m having my executive time. It’s relaxing.
ACB: Now, in fairness, Holly, we did take your feelings into consideration when we adopted Olaf. We thought you would benefit from having a dog-friend to spend time with. We thought you were getting lonely just being around the house by yourself.
HOLLY: Oh. Oh, this is rich. You’re saying this was for my benefit? How would you feel if suddenly you had to share a house with Andre the Giant?
ACB: I’ve actually thought about that a lot and I think it would be super fun.
HOLLY: You have upset the quiet that I had come to treasure, the unchallenged authority I held over this household for more than a decade. We had calm. We had tranquility. We had a bag of Greenies that I did not have to share with anyone.
ACBN: You’re actually getting a lot more activity since we got him. I think it’s been good for you.
HOLLY: I cannot abide his buffoonery.
ACB: He’s a nice boy.
HOLLY: That’s what they said about Ted Bundy.
ACB: Listen, let’s get back to the issue at hand here. Who do you think took the food?
HOLLY: Fine. Sure. Let’s look at this objectively. On the one hand, you have a youthful 80-pound mongrel cur who stands taller than the kitchen counter without even jumping up, but who also has the strength to jump four feet in the air, and who I have seen eat napkins whole. On the other hand, you have a 12” tall elderly dog who couldn’t get up on the couch unassisted even at her most athletic.
ACB: It’s a real mystery.
HOLLY: The only mystery how you get anyone to listen to you prattle on three time a week, you broke-ass Dave Barry wannabe. At least newspaper columns gave you something you could house-train a puppy with.
ACB: I mean I suppose you could print the newsletters out, but that would be rather petty to do so.
HOLLY: Listen, are we done here?
ACB: Yes, you’re free to go.
OLAF: [crashes through drywall again rather than going through door or previous hole] GO WHERE ARE WE GOING ARE WE GOING FOR A WALK OR TO THE PET STORE I LOVE THAT PLACE THEY HAVE OTHER DOGS THERE I DON’T THINK THEY’RE FOR SALE BUT IT’S FUN TO SEE THEM AND BARK AT THE BIRDS AND FISH AND STUFF HEY GUYS I HAVE AN IDEA LET’S DRIVE TO FLORIDA I HEARD THEY HAVE DIFFERENT LOGS THERE [crashes through door to garage]
HOLLY: I am going to kill all of you in your sleep.
ACB: Oh, you’ve said that so much it’s lost all meaning.
[car can be heard starting in background]
ACB: I need to check on that.
—Scott Hines (@actioncookbook)
Oh, Olaf did it, but Holly planted the idea in his head to sow chaos as revenge.
As Olaf's attorney, let me begin by asking if you had read and clearly stated the defendant's rights before beginning your line of questioning? Have you considered you may have eaten it yourself and forgotten? You're not getting any younger Scott. And don't you have two children who are certainly big enough to reach the counter? Have you considered strong winds from winter storms or suburban wildlife? This is a sham of a trial and I will not stand idly by while you throw my client in the clink on nothing more than a hun-[stops to wipe food and foil off of Olaf's face and notices it is somehow on his back and belly too, leaving tracks of the food throughout the house]...uh, hun-wher-where was I? Oh yes, A HUNCH!!!