The ethics of hotdogs.


@postaday 258; #postaday2011.

I grew up with kids in South Jersey who had dads and granddads and uncles who were butchers. There were the Fynans and the Lehmans; there was also the trusted Dietz and Watson brand, there were the unnamed butchers who would talk to our moms and grand moms over the meat cases that held rolls of the finest cured meats, miles of linked sausage, pans of livers and offal, and the unspeakable brains, pig ears, and tripe. A good bone could be had for roasting and then cooked down for soup. Our families had marrow spoons, and every Sunday featured roast beef or roast beast or roast something that filled the home with glorious smells.

You know the grill: Chicken, chicken sausages, asparagus. No more hot doggies.

I can’t seem to capture those memories or flavors any more. Stocks come reduced into sodium-infused, shelf-stable plastic screw-top jars. Scoop out a spoonful at your peril. If you’re not careful, you end up tossing and turning all night. The sodium and the rich fats mess with your mind and swirl about your insides making it impossible to get a good night’s sleep.

Last night I made Cincinnati Chili with ground turkey. I always cook with ground turkey now, but I fear that, too, will turn on me. Saturday night I grilled all-beef “Angus” hot dogs with some chicken breasts for dinner. Weird dreams followed. Last night I served the rest of the dogs with the chili and the pasta. More weird dreams last night. At first I thought it was the chili, but Kid2 didn’t have any. The only common denominator was the element of hot dogs on both nights.

No more hot dogs. When you first hear this witticism in a newsroom, you think it and the person who said it are so clever: “There are two things you never want to see made: hot dogs and newspapers.” I’m starting to think that’s true. I think the hot dogs of my youth, made in front of us by the butcher, were considerably different from modern models. Let’s not comparison shop.

We’ve had our last beef hot doggies at our house. I’m still a fan of organic chicken sausages in assorted flavors. Don’t ruin that for me, OK?