My last week of vacation, and I’ve cooked or eaten almost every kind of barbecue meat there is: from pork to fish, scallops to sirloin.
But what is the one thing I can’t seem to get enough of? What food is sooo good, the average Canadian will eat 60 of them each year? You have them at every fair, baseball game and cookout, and although everyone knows how bad they are for you, how terribly processed they are, I cannot get enough hot dogs in the summertime.
After all, July is National Hot Dog Month.
Although the city of Frankfurt, Germany credits itself for the origin of the first frankfurter in 1852, some argue that Johann Georghehner, a butcher from Cobourg, Germany created the first frankfurter in the 1600s. Either way, thank you Germany for my summer food addiction — that is, the hot dog.
I had to write about it this week, because A) I know I’m not alone in my passion for barbecued hot dogs; and B) I cannot get over the guilt every time I eat one. The guilt of how bad this little tube of meat, nestled in that toasted bun with sauerkraut, mustard and onions can be so bad for my health.
Aren’t hot dogs right up there with cigarettes for stuff that’s bad for you? Maybe there should be warning labels on wiener packages with pictures of heavy set radio DJs: "WARNING you will end up losing brain cells and gaining weight just like this idiot if you buy this and eat it."
People might do it anyways. They are just too good! But are they really that bad for you?
I decided to do some investigative journalism. (Isn’t the Brandon Sun lucky to have me write these hard-hitting investigative pieces?)
• Frankfurter Fact No. 1: Yes, they are made from leftover cuts of meat. Really, it’s not so different from hamburger. Only hamburger is usually just beef. What I did find was the secret ingredient to making them taste great. After all, it’s no secret wieners are simply mechanically separated pork, chicken and beef, ground to a pulp and boiled, with gelatin, corn starch, bread-crumb like powder, salt, garlic and onion powder, and some other spices. This product in a super-hot state looks more like pudding than meat. But somehow a machine shoves into casings. And while they look ok, it is at the next stage that the wieners become infamous.
• Frankfurter Fact No. 2: Wieners contain a lot of water. They also shower twice. First and most important, the secret-ingredient shower: liquid smoke. This in my opinion is why I can rip open a package of these babies and dive right in, uncooked and all. But wait. Aren’t cold wieners really "uncooked"? No. Because that high heat making of the pudding like meat actually cooks the product before it even goes into the casing, every wiener is "pre-cooked" even if it’s cold.
• Frankfurter Fact No. 3: Most wieners can be eaten without being cooked. Now remember, that is supermarket process wieners, NOT sausage from your butcher shop. That stuff is likely fresh likely gently smoked and therefore can make you very sick if eaten raw. Back to the second wiener bath. After the liquid smoke, they get a salt water shower before being packaged. And "ta-da". There’s your tube steak.
And that is why we keep eating those little babies. Have you eaten your 60 this year yet? I think I have. Judging by my tight pants I think I had half of yours too.
Now, finally, as I wind up my vacation for another year, I present Top 10 things overheard while Tracy, David, Liberty and I went on our annual vacation:
10. I hope this place has a pool. Something every kid says in hopes there is a place to cool down at the campground/hotel you’re staying at. Arrive late enough, when its dark enough and they’re tired enough, you can lie, pack them in the car first thing the next day while still asleep and they’ll never know the difference.
9. Do we really need to take a picture here? Yes we do. We drove all this way to see the world’s largest ball of twine, so we’re going to take a picture of it. You’ll look back someday at these pictures and say to yourself, "My parents were the best. While others went to Disneyland, they took me to Wisconsin to see the world’s biggest concrete cow."
8. Why are we going this way? Because I’m driving and I will take the roads I think are in the best interest of an entertaining and informative vacation. Is there a shorter way? Sure there is. But you might miss another cool attraction, and a chance to take another annoying picture with your loving mom and dad.
7. Are you sure you know where you’re going? Of course I’m sure. I just wish your mom would learn to read the map properly, or the GPS for that matter. I mean its 2012 and who gets lost with smart phones and GPS tracking? We do. And no I’m not stopping to ask for directions.
6. He’s on my side / She’s breathing on me. It’s best to draw some kind of line between siblings, or better yet, if you have enough row seating, just give everyone their own seat. Better yet, putting each teen in a U-Haul pod with a bottle of water and some crackers also sounds appealing when fights break out. Don’t do it. Police don’t have a sense of humour.
5. Are we there yet? Never in the history of kids has the back seat been so comfortable. Each kid has a smartphone, laptop, DVD, phone, movies, Internet and on and on. You know what I had? Crayons. And they melted in the sun so we played with empty fast food cups and rocks. Please for the love of summer, amuse yourselves!
4. Did we just pass a farm? Lagoon? DAD! It wasn’t me. It was a ... skunk. I also like the farm excuse. However driving in the middle of a major city means the possibility it was a farm is not likely. Busted.
3. I don’t want to go to bed. I know. Vacations are fun and teens and tweens don’t go to bed early, but if we want to do fun stuff, we have to get to bed by at least 2 a.m. Staying up until 4, and getting up at 2 p.m. is not going to work if we want to take goofy pictures, after visiting goofy sites in our goofy family truckster.
2. I don’t want to get up. See above. This happens every day of our vacation. Ah the days of staying up all night only to sleep all day.
1. Dad, pull up your bathing suit shorts. Usually followed by "Say no to crack, dad." Whatever that means.
Kyra Rayne Darker
Leanne Kolida Urbanovitch
Corey Van De Mosselaer
Joke this Weekend
Top Signs You're At A Bad Motel
• The "complimentary" paper tells you that President Regan has been shot.
• The mint on the pillow starts moving when you come close to it.
• The "magic fingers vibration" is supplied by giving a quarter to the town epileptic.
• There is still some stuff that they put around crime scenes that is yellow
• The pictures are not placed for decoration but to cover up recent bullet holes.
• You have to wait until the guy next door is done with the towel so you can use it.
• There's a chalk outline in the bed when you pull back the covers.
• The desk clerk has to move the body in order to get some ice for you.
• The only TV station you can get is an adult channel with Roseanne on it.
• The wake up call comes courtesy of police helicopter.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 28, 2012