The World O' Crap Archive

Welcome to the Collected World O' Crap, a comprehensive library of posts from the original Salon Blog, and our successor site, (2006 to 2010).

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

September 18, 2003 by s.z.

Am I Being Unfair?  Oh, Maybe a Tad
Rush Limbaugh 9/17: "It's classic liberalism, two sets of rules - one Set for the elites, and another set for the average, common rabble.  Don't let anybody get confused out there.  The liberal elites are not part of the rabble.  They are a cut above everybody and therefore not subject to these typical policies designed to help everybody." 

1:56:36 AM    

500 Ideas for Entertaining
  Idea #1: Stuff Some Wieners

It's cold and damp here today; the weatherman predicts it will get down to 28 degrees tonight (but at least we aren't in the path of a hurricane, so I guess I shouldn't complain--but I still want to).  I spent an hour or so putting old blankets, towels, newspapers, etc., over the tomatoes, squash, and the nicer flowers, but I think they are still doomed.  Thank heavens I don't have to depend on my harvest to sustain me, or the cats would be on the menu come next week.

Anyway, the cooler weather spells Stuffed Frankfurters!  So, I got out my Oscar Meyers, the bacon, the bread crumbs, the onion (left over from Sea Dream Salad), and started to work.  (Scroll down a couple of days if you want to see the recipe.)

As you may recall, this recipe comes from a 1949 booklet put out by the Culinary Arts Institute ("One of America's foremost organizations devoted to the science of Better Cookery"-- the other organizations presumably being M.I.T. and the Atomic Energy Commission).  This booklet, "500 Tasty Snack Ideas for Entertaining" seems to be either an earlier or updated version of the one featured on pages 25-31 of our bible,The Gallery of Regrettable Food (in the chapter titled "What's Black and White and Dead All Over!").  So, I have the recipes for "Balls on Picks."  I could make the glamourous Frankfurters in Jello--I have the technology.  I could even prepare the jellied tuna loaf which Lileks calls "Dinner with a spinal column."  But instead, we're having Stuffed Frankfurters. 

Anyway, how much would YOU pay for this booklet, as featured in The Gallery of Regrettable Food?  But don't answer yet, because my copy has something even BETTER than version featured in Lileks' masterpiece: a dazzling COLOR cover depicting a diagram of an alien solar system, all made from foodstuffs.  You really can't appreciate the fine detail work in the scan, but believe me, it is incredibly hideous.  I have no idea what the purple sun (the blob that everthing is revoling around) is composed of: it's the color of that purple cabbage you see sometimes, but seems to be putty-like in texture.  It looks to me like a ball of purple cheese, but there is no such thing, right?  At least, not in our universe.
Now, let's start cooking! 

Step 1Make the stuffing.  The recipe says to mix your chopped onion, melted butter, and bread crumbs with "boiling water to moisten."  Here we come to our first quandary--just how much water is that?  I heated about half a cup of water to boiling in the microwave and dumped that on the crumbs.  They were not moist.  I boiled another half a cup and added that.  The crumbs were now moister -- basically the consistency of Play-Doh -- but not what you'd call juicy.  But I didn't feel like boiling more water, so decided that was good enough.

On to Step 2cut and stuff the franks.  The recipe says, "Partly split apart frankfurters lengthwise.  Fill mixture into opening of sausage."  I first thought this meant to cut a slit in the middle of a frank, and hide some stuffing in it, kind of like those wieners that have a hidden core of cheese.  But when I did it that way, I had a whole bunch of wet bread crumbs left over.  So, I slit the franks lengthwise from stem to stern, splayed them out on my cookie sheet, and used my hands to stuff them with the bread goop and then mold it into mounds on top of the franks until all the stuffing all gone.  (At this point I realized that it was a very good thing that the bread crumb mixture had the consistency of Play-Doh, since it made it  easy to mold and shape.  For a lovely Martha Stewart touch, I think you could force the stuffing through those star-shaped Play-Doh molds as you are inserting it into your flayed dogs.)

Step 3: wrap them in bacon.  The text at the bottom of the page advises: "Almost anything you like can be rolled in bacon, and oven or pan-broiled."  A heady thought indeed--anything I like, rolled in bacon.  Where to start? 

But I fear that we, as a nation, have lost our bacon-rolling know-how, for I had considerable difficulties with this part.  I was in need of bacon-wrapping instructions, but there were none, as presumably everyone in 1949 already knew how to do this.  So, I tried to muddle through.  One piece of bacon only wraps halfway around a crumb-stuffed frank.  So, I used two pieces.  This covered the entire frank in bacon, like a mummy wrapped in bandages, which held the stuffing in place very well, but looked kind of gross.  Oh well. 

But when I squinted carefully at the very dark photo on the bottom of the page, it seemed to indicate that the Culinary Arts experts had just used one strip of bacon, wrapping it so the hot-dog showed through.  Of course, I'm still not sure that's a photo of THIS recipe (it could have been picturing some of those other bacon-rolling possibilities, like bacon-rolled slugs, or bacon-rolled dill pickles).  And apparently bacon strips were longer back then, because mine still wouldn't make it all around the engorged wieners.  So, I stretched the bacon and made it fit.  I am such a pro!

Step 4Broil until bacon is crisp.  I placed the cookie sheet of bacon-wrapped, bread-crumb stuffed franks in the over and turned on the broiler.  After a couple of minutes I noted a new problem: the bacon splattered grease all over the oven's heating element, giving the house that "on fire" odor that is so welcoming to guests.  Of course, I had no guests, but if I really WAS using these 500 snack ideas to entertain with, as the title suggests, my guests would now all smell like burnt bacon grease. 

The next problem was that my stretched bacon was shrinking and coming unwrapped from the wieners.  I took out the pan, and tried anchoring the bacon in place on the franks with toothpicks.  Back into the oven they went.  After maybe 5 more minutes, the franks were a delicate black, and I suspected they were done.  I opened the oven, grabbed the pan with my oven mitt, and spilled bacon grease all over the inside of the oven. 

Let me share a little tip with you: when you broil things like bacon-wrapped franks, there is going to be a lot of grease emitted.  If you, like me, normally only use the broiler to make melted cheese sandwiches, you might think that a cooking sheet is THE pan you use with a broiler.  However, after you spill a half cup of grease inside your oven, you will recall that said over came with a broiler pan, which has an inner pan with holes for the grease to drain through, and outer pan to catch such grease.  You will then vow to use that pan if you ever again make Stuffed Frankfurters.  Which you vow will you never will.

Anyway, after using half a roll of Bounty to soak up most of the grease in the oven, and using the other half of the roll to sop up the grease on the pan, I took one of my Snacks off the pan, only to realize that the bacon on the bottom-side of the franks was raw.  Okay, turn them all over, and put them back in the oven to broil some more, ignoring the smoke from the spilled grease.  Take them out after about 5 more minutes.  Notice that half the stuffing fell out when you turned them upside down.  Decide you couldn't care less.  Put the little creeps on your cake stand and take a photo.  As follows:
Stuffed Weiners, 1949-style.  And don't they look tasty!

Okay, so now you have 8 bacon-wrapped franks, stuffed with soggy breadcrumbs.  Now what do you do with them?  The book calls them a "Hot Hors D'Oeuvres," implying they are hoity-toity appetizers you serve to Margagret Dumont when she comes to tea.  But since each "snack" involves a whole frankfurter, a strip of bacon, and a huge clump of stuffing, if you eat them hors of the oeuvre, you really won't have much of appetite for that oeuvre, or anything else for the rest of the day. 

And  since you can't eat them with a knife and fork or the bacon falls off the frank, I suspect they are meant to be a finger food, and so not really suited to high society.  They are, if the caption at the bottom of the recipe book page is to be trusted, one of those bacon-wrapped treats meant to be served on a "pick", which would made them something of a picnic food, I imagine.  (And since "wieners on a pick" make such a great accompaniment to "balls on a stick," I guess you could serve them at a phallus-themed party, to nitrate-deficient guests.

And how did they taste?  Like a burnt hotdog, wrapped in bacon (some raw, some charred), and stuffed with Cream of Wheat.  So, reminicent of those childhood wienie roasts and dreary camp meals.  Not extremely horrible, but not something I'd make again (the overdose of grease and salt is still making me feel rather queasy).  And not something  I'd serve when entertaining my friends.  But I might consider serving them to my friends' kids, because children might like them, and even if they didn't, my friends have horrible kids and eating Stuffed Wieners would serve them right. 

Experiment concluded.  Lesson learned: Be glad you live in a day when we have snacks like Pringles readily available for all our entertaining needs.

Anyway, our next Regrettable Food Experiment will be something from "Aunt Jenny's Favorite Recipes."  Maybe "Pineapple Parfait Cake" ("A delicate 'party' cake with such a temptin' fruity flavor," per Aunt Jenny), or "Magic Meat Pie" (you don't want to know what makes it magic).  Comment if you have a preference: otherwise, I'll just make whatever seems easiest.  And let me know if you know of anybody having a penis-themed party who needs some REALLY hearty appetizers, because I still have plenty.

12:31:58 AM   

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