Poor Butterfly


The song is said to be inspired by Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. The sentiment is so un- PC it makes me cringe but it’s a pretty melody.

This dog is a Papillion which means butterfly in French referring to the wing-like ears. Unlike the woman in the song, this pooch is anything but poor, living as he does in a cute house in New Heaven with his owner, a college friend. The pup’s name is Beau and he gets pretty much what he wants thanks to his indulgent companion.


The breed, a variant of a toy, i.e., small, spaniel, is smart and eager to please. It’s been around for ages as seen in paintings by the likes of Watteau, Fragonard and Veronese.

Lady with Papillion by Titian

Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette are said to have owned a clutch of Papillion’s; as this was long before commercial dog food maybe they did feed them cake. Rumor has it that Marie carried her favorite Papillion with her to the guillotine; the dog was spared Marie’s fate and later cared for by a friend.

I’m more a proponent of shelter dogs but that’s not how you acquire a Papillion. ‘Nuff said.

Next week I’m going to a rehearsal of Madama Butterfly at the Met in a production by Anthony Minghella. As many of you undoubtedly know,

Met showing the Chagall murals on view in the evenings

this opera takes place in the Japanese port city of Nagasaki at the turn of the last century. I doubt if Cio-Cio-San will appear with a Papillion but you never know at the Met where producers are fond of introducing live animals (and have a special door for large ones, like horses, to enter from.)

Instead of a recipe for dog food, here is one for very easy Fried Rice with Shrimp and a revoltingly-named (Yum Yum) sauce that is also a snap and delicious.

Shrimp Fried Rice

2 cups uncooked jasmine rice (Reach for the Uncle Ben’s unless you stock exotic rice)

3 cups water

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced (not in my house; maybe one clove put through garlic press)

1 (16 ounce) package frozen peas and carrots

4 tablespoons butter, divided

2 eggs

4 tablespoons oyster sauce

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 lemon, juiced, divided

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined


1 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons paprika

1 teaspoon ginger paste

1 teaspoon white sugar

½ teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring 3 cups water and rice to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rice is tender and water has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Mix in cooked ice and frozen peas-carrot mixture; fry until rice begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons butter and stir to combine. Pour in eggs and cook until firm. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, and 1/2 lemon juice; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.


Combine mayonnaise, water, paprika, ginger paste, white sugar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl to make sauce. Stir well. Serve with the fried rice.

Note: make the sauce a day ahead so flavors combine.

I’d serve this with sake but white wine or beer would be dandy. Put on Madama Butterfly or content yourself (or hum along) with Callas singing Un Bel Di which never fails to make me sob. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-r2vu4t9-g



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