I occasionally feed my Greys leftovers from my lunches and dinners. Among the things they get are extra vegetables, rice, noodles, pasta and sometimes I’ll even sneak them a piece of toast from breakfast. I like rye toast. Sometimes I put peanut butter, almond butter or some sort of berry preserves on my rye toast. When I make toast for myself, I make an extra piece for my three Greys to share.

One of the reasons I can do this occasionally is because they are on such a normally good diet. They don’t get any junk food really, because I don’t eat it. I can’t remember the last time I bought a bag of potato chips. My idea of junk food is to order a pizza twice a year. Seriously, I simply don’t eat much of it and it usually never makes its way into the kitchen. I’m not a purist, I just don’t eat much of it. While white rice isn’t the best thing in the world, (Brown and wild rice are better choices) it certainly isn’t going to hurt them. And the minimal amount of butter on some sauteed fresh vegetables is far outweighed by the nutritional value of the vegetables. So I don’t sweat this either.  I believe in sharing my food with my birds for several reasons: If I’m eating it and it’s good for me, it certainly isn’t going to hurt them. I am, of course talking about things within the range of reasonableness. Obviously avocado never hits their plate, and I’m not going to be loading them down with a side of beef. But the occasional foray over to my dinner plate is as enriching and exciting to them as a visit to as a trip to New York’s “Masa” would be to me:

Of course, I won’t be going there anytime soon as it’s three hundred bucks just to make the reservation which is then deducted from your final bill. But two people aren’t going to walk out of there for less than about a thousand dollars. But I can dream can’t I? My birds feel the same way about my grilled cheese sandwich, or cheese crackers, or my occasional cameo apple. Parker loses his mind. He wants to share and he wants to share now and that’s it. Finito. He makes himself pretty clear.

I also believe in finding joy in life. One of the things I find great joy in is eating a good meal. I really love good food. Thomas Keller, one of the greatest Chefs of the world has many restaurants but he is most famous for “The French Laundry” and “Per Se.” He put the “Chef’s Tasting Menu” on the map and believes in “The Law of Diminishing Returns.” What Keller means is that when you get one or two bites of something absolutely fabulous, you are left wanting more. And he leaves you just that way. You don’t get sick of it.  Then when your plate has been all but sucked on, he brings you the next little tiny thing and you are turned on all over again by something that’s even better. But it’s a totally different dish with different ingredients.  You don’t have time to get tired of this particular dish because it’s just too damned small. It’s a taste, a tease, with the promise of better and different and more spectacular things to come.  That’s how I feed my Greys. The cornerstone of their diet is “Chop.” But sometimes I mix other stuff in there: Healthy table food, a smear of salad dressing or canned pumpkin; just enough to make it different.  Sometimes they get beans, sometimes they get sprouts. Sometimes they discover a nut mix in there.  And when they stop eating, I’ll either switch up the birds to sit in front of different bowls, (This is a great tactic because they think they’re “stealing” from the other bird, even though it’s the same food!) or I’ll go around and add another little “something” to the dish. this gets them started eating all over again. Perhaps a sprinkle of milk-thistle seed. Maybe I’ll toss some pumpkin seed or some hemp seed in there. Anything to make it “different” from the moment before.

I’m all for a great solid diet. But I respect their need for variety.  Just like me, they detest boredom, dislike the mundane and want a little spice in their life. It’s up to me to provide that. I love my birds and although they piss me off to no end at times, I wouldn’t have a life without them. They know that. And they know that I try to do the best for them. They are forgiving of my shortcomings and tolerant of my “Human Condition.”  They forgive me. And I try to forgive myself when I lose my patience. The least I can do is serve them something for dinner that makes them absolutely love me for what they have in their bowls. And then after dinner we can hang out and relax.