I admitted to a guilty pleasure here. More recently... what's been on my mind is ... Hot Dogs... although I don't know if they can be considered a guilty pleasure or not. If I recall correctly I have always liked hot dogs, as a kid... and as an adult, even after finding out what was possibly included in the ingredients of said meat by-product. There are times when I would eat them dry... plain old bun and dog. In the past, on occasion, a chili dog topped with cheddar cheese, or a pizza dog with the sauce and mozza melted gooey on top would be a special treat. Often.. a dog with Honey Dijon Mustard and Sweet Green Relish would do the trick. In the last couple years, going to a local auction every once in a while, it would be a footlong plain, or with Relish and Sauerkraut... damn good. Long ago, boiled wieners was the norm, but the best by far are the ones cooked over an open fire, slightly charred. More recently, I have discovered this can be simulated, without the charring, in a 375 or 400 degree oven, with the wiener puffing slightly and cracking open just so, with the skin almost crisp.
Speaking of an open fire... I remember when I was a kid, on Halloween every year we would have a bonfire in the backyard garden, at which time we roasted wienies and toasted marshnallows on sticks, being the branches of trees in the yard, whittled down to a point by a pocketknife. It was then that I learned the art of the burning marshmallow and later perfected it to the art of the perfectly golden one. Ooh.. toasted marshmallows... golden, puffy, slightly crisp with a gooey centre. Oog... I remember the initial sensation of the burning tongue and trying to talk with a mouthful of hot marshmallow. Hmm... that's got me to thinking that I haven't fired up the son of a hibachi for a couple years now... but summer's coming, so maybe soon.
Last week, wieners were on sale as was Hot Dog Relish, which I had never tried before. Ooh... it was good... better than Sweet Green Relish... and I found myself in Hot Dog Heaven... only thing missing was sauerkraut... or an open fire... and marshmallows.
Photo from Emma's Eatery
When I held that jar of relish in my hand, standing in the aisle of the grocery store... that open fire... that spark was already burning in my brain.