Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Hot Dog Dilemma

I like hot dogs. I don't eat them, but I like them.

When I was a kid, a favorite meal was my grandmother's Chilean twist on a hot dog, which I long for every now and then. I don't think I'll find it though. It's a plain old hot dog on a plain old bun. The glory's in what you put on top. Let's start with ketchup, mustard, and mayo. But just to make it interesting, let's skip the sauerkraut and relish for fresh tomato salsa and cooked & diced potatoes. And pile it on high. So high you question your morals and ethics. So high that you think you're living a life that isn't your own. So high that you almost can't get it in your mouth. Ah, but then you manage. Gluttony at its finest.

First off, I've given up on gluttony because it's a tough life to live (just ask Anthony Bourdain). Easier and more pleasant to eat until I'm no longer hungry, which is always less than any fast food or restaurant portion. But don't get me started on portion sizes. That's a whole different rant.

The other reason I don't entertain the hot dog notion any more is that I just don't like eating hot dogs any more. Yes, I like the taste, but I don't like what's in them. I don't like a food that generally prides itself on being known as the miscellaneous food. It's full of hormones, fillers, antibiotics, nitrates, nitrites, and what I'm assuming is a wide variety of other unknowns. None of that is good eats.

I see hope on the horizon, though. I just heard about a new hot dog stand in the LA area on Good Food (scroll down to "Grass-Fed Hot Dogs" piece to listen). Let's Be Frank has all-beef hot dogs made from 100% grass-fed beef. They aren't packed will all of the bad stuff I listed above, and they're dairy and gluten free. Sue Moore, co-owner, was the "meat forager" (no, seriously) at Alice Waters' Chez Panisse, which is a good sign to me.

We're no vegetarians, though as a family we've significantly cut down our red meat consumption, as well as our overall meat consumption. But every now and then, you gotta give into temptation.

They only have a few carts (one in L.A., two in the San Francisco Bay area), but they sell their franks online. Let me know if you've tried and loved :-D


MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

Sorry no, haven't tried them. I'm still freaked out a bit by anything hot doggish.

When I was a kid my grandma told me they chopped up dogs and pigs and stuck them into a cow's intestine and THAT's what, voila, a hot dog is made up of.

I've been terrified of them ever since. Don't hate me. :)

MetaMommy said...

Ya, I wasn't going to be the one to break that to you. For some reason, I've come to terms with that because of...well, my husband's expanded my view of food over the years. I don't quite know how or why, but i'm O.K. with the intestine part. Weird, huh?

Personally, for me it was Lisa Simpson's depiction of a hot dog in the episode where she becomes a vegetarian. Her thought bubble has an image of 4 "things," then a part from each of those "things" is gathered into the center of the thought bubble, and there's your hot dog!

Bitsy said...

My supermarket's "health" freezer section sells both beef and turkey hotdogs that aren't processed. They're free of preservatives and nitrates. I don't eat meat, but Hubby says they're pretty good. I think some of them are basically just 100% organic meat plus spices.

I eat vegetarian hotdogs, which are often made from tofu. Some have preservatives, others don't. They're ok... but they don't really taste like hotdogs.