Hot Dogs Go Wrong
Version Date: December 4, 2012
Okay, so guests or even your inlaws have come over unexpectedly and
you want to impress them just a little and you have--quite literally--a
hot dog budget. You have some croissants and some black olive paste
that you know creates a taste sensation. So what's not to fix? Take a
look at the photo and you'll see. Yes, you can dress your dog in a tux,
but here the dress looks more like a discarded oil spill sponge. The
dish is delicious, but
who will want to eat it and see? Remember that 50 percent of the
enjoyment of a meal lies in
what you see and expect, the anticipation that gets you salivating and
imagining what the food tastes like. And the other 50 percent is in the
experience (with aroma being a common part of both). Thus, presentation
is a key to a great dining experience.
So, as tasty as this sandwich is, it will be forever relegated to
something a guy fixes when he's alone watching truck repair on TV. It's
the price we pay to be a civilization obsessed with surfaces and
appearance over substance and reality. But there is hope. And no, I
don't mean there's hope because the French are teaching us to eat
snails. Instead, see the
section on Variations, below, for some redemptive strategies.
- Hot dogs. Regular, all beef, chicken, turkey, or fat-free turkey
are all possible
- Black olive paste (or green olive tapenade or even sliced dill
pickles) And see Variations, below.
Cut the hot dogs in half lengthwise.
Cut the croissants in half lengthwise.
Spread the olive paste or tapenade or pickles on one half of each
Heat the hot dogs. Boil them or microwave them until they plump up. A
typical hot dog by itself plumps in a 1000 watt microwave in about 45
seconds. Be sure to use a splatter guard in the microwave because hot
dogs spit a lot when being nuked. Note that fat-free dogs don't plump
much and they shrivel and look bad when microwaved. Boiling for five
minutes is a good alternative for fat-free dogs.
Place the hot dogs on the other half of each croissant. If you prefer,
heat the croissant and hot dog in the oven, toaster oven, or microwave
oven before you add the mustard.
Add mustard on the hot dogs in a nice zig zag or other pattern.
In fact, while you're thinking about presentation, think of the things
that normally go on hot dogs. Pickle relish, ketchup, horseradish,
mayonnaise, even chili and onions and grated cheese. Any of these alone
or in combination can be placed artistically on the hot dogs, leaving
the black olive spread for the other half of the croisssasnt.
Don't have or don't like that salty black olive paste? Spouse or guests
repelled by its appearance, even on a fresh croissant? Tapenade too
pricey? You can still make these a hit. And you can even rehabilitate
them for company if you use some out-of-the-ordinary
cheese. Havarti is really good and not too expensive. Or you can go for
both taste and impressiveness by slicing some asiago or fontanelle. The
appearance will then be socially acceptable and your guests won't scowl
and talk about you behind your back--at least not about your cooking.
The theory is that taste is a product of sight, smell, and the taste
buds in the mouth. More philosophically, it is often remarked that
expectation influences perception. So if you expect ugly food to taste
ugly, you will perceive it so if you dare to munch on it. This is
because taste is really a product of sight, smell, taste buds, and your
brain processing all these stimuli in the context of what you think
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If you liked this recipe, or even didn't, please see
Yummy Brussels Sprouts
Tasty Tofu Robaire
2012 by Robert Harris | How
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About the author:
Harris is a writer
and educator with more than 25 years of teaching experience at the
and university level. RHarris at virtualsalt.com