Though neither of my parents was college educated and my dad was a blue-collar worker all his life, my mother had a touch of refinement. She never served hot dogs for dinner--in any fashion. Hot dogs on the supper table would be like serving a bowl of cold cereal--which NEVER happened growing up (though sometimes we had hot dogs in tomato soup for breakfast).
So, when I was fifteen, I went to my best friend's house for dinner on a weeknight and fell off my chair when her mom served hot dogs and baked beans for dinner. My mother would have died of shame before she served such a meal--not only to family but company also. Now my friend was one of eight children and I was one of four, and I remembered thinking to myself, "Well, this is how you eat when you have twice as many brothers and sisters." Needless to say, since I've been a food dominant person all my life, I was thrilled to be only one of four after that meal.
Then, shortly after I was married, one of my brother's girlfriends gave me a cookbook from the Reading Hospital Auxiliary--one of those fundraising cookbooks. Now, we all know who supplies the recipes for a hospital auxiliary cookbook, don't we? Certainly, we do. Doctors' wives--or spouses, to be absolutely politically correct. (This was 1990, after all, and in the US in 1990, we had far fewer women doctors than we have today--at least where I live.)
Anyhoo, I was delighted to receive the cookbook since I LOVE all cookbooks and have an embarrassing assortment of them, considering how many malnourished people there are in the world. I flipped through the booklet and what did I find? Numerous entree recipes featuring the HOT DOG!
I'd already been worn down by my more popular high school friend who lived in the trendy development whose mom served hot dogs for dinner. Once I got that recipe booklet, I threw caution to the wind.
There, in the middle of booklet was a recipe for a Frankfurter Crown Casserole. (For the uninitiated, a frankfurter is a fancy name for a hot dog.) Plus several other hot dog recipes were included. I could scarely believe my eyes. In all those fancy, upscale Wyomissing homes (the development surrounding Reading Hospital), these rich ladies served hot dogs for dinner? Inconceivable.
Well, if the hot dog was good enough for a doctor's family, it was good enough for my family.
I believe I made all the frankfurter recipes in that little booklet. After all, my family WAS on a hot dog budget.
Tonight, several days after our Fourth of July picnic, I got home after work and searched the freezer and the meat keeper for something to fix for dinner. That's when I noticed the pack of hot dogs stashed in the freezer beside the left-over burger patties (which we had last night) and basically remembered the Frankfurter Crown Casserole. I'm not sure if I remembered all the ingredients, but this is mostly it:
- Saute an onion in oil or butter until soft.
- Add four sliced hot dogs.
- Add a can of sliced potatoes, drained and rinsed.
- Add a can of mushroom soup and a 1/2 cup of water
- Sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheese
- Top with dried parsley.
Of course, you top with dried parsley. Why would you chop fresh parsley to serve on top of a hot dog dish?
So, that's what I made for dinner tonight. So, I ask you, was it completely declasse to serve an entree with hot dogs consisting of the main course?
P.S. Apparently, I'd forgotten some of the ingredients in the Frankfurter Crown Casserole recipe. Thanks to the wonder of the Internet, the actual and complete recipe is still available here, courtesy of Campell's Soup. I seriously forgot a few key ingredients in the last two decades. Check it out.