I think everyone has a food identity. Some people identify as vegetarian, others as gluten-free, still others as locavores. My food identity has shifted over time and is now focused on healthy, whole ingredients. We’re an organic veg, grass-fed beef, as few processed foods as possible household which is balanced with the realities of our budget, resources and time limitations. So when I cook, I try to use fresh ingredients and I try to make healthy food. Of course, I don’t eschew sugar, fat and salt, my thinking being that I know how much I’m adding and I know from where it came. I use butter not shortening. I use olive oil, not crisco. That kind of thing- you get the idea. Something about it’s better to have a small piece of the real thing rather than trying to make up for the missing fat/sugar/salt and eating more.
This comes up because of what we ate today. After making my scary dinner on Monday (I will make exceptions for processed foods once in a while- hot dogs in the summer, grocery-store birthday cake, Friendly’s peanut butter sauce), I had hot dogs left over. I needed to use them up and knew that the toddler would likely eat them. Every once in a while I’ll give her something like chicken nuggets (applegate farms organic no filler, etc.) and the glee with which she eats them is something to see. I mean, I grew up eating McDonald’s, hot dogs, fish sticks and all kinds of “kid food”- mainly because no one really knew how bad they were for you. My husband, given his druthers, would probably eat Kraft Mac and Cheese every day but since I’m in charge of food acquisition, production and distribution, we don’t do that. Sadly, the toddler also likes this (I used to love it. The last time I ate it, I immediately vomited. I’m not sure if it was the result of the pregnancy or the result of having not had it in ages. Either way, it’s off my personal food menu now.). At any rate, my point is, this dinner that I made tonight was outside of my usual food identity. But it was fun.
I made hot dog octopi (Octopuses? Geeze, I took Latin, I should know this!) served over Kraft Mac and Cheese. The toddler and husband ate this. I ate butternut squash lasagna- a recipe I will blog for you another day.
The punchline? The toddler looked at her bowl and then carefully picked up the two hot dog creatures and set them aside on the table. She ate all the mac and cheese but wouldn’t touch the hot dogs proving, once again, that she is the perfect combo of the two of us.
Octopus Hot Dogs
(Thanks to the Hungry Hippo who taught me about this)
Put on a pot of water to boil. Slice your hot dogs in half horizontally.
Next, slice one of the halves in half vertically, about 1/4 of the way down. In other words, leave some of the hot dog untouched.
So now you have four pieces that are still attached. Slice each of these in half while keeping them attached.
Repeat with all your hot dogs. Then plunk them into the boiling water.
Let the water come back to a boil. The legs will curl up as the hot dogs cook (heat? Isn’t a hot dog already cooked?). They will look revolting.
Take them out carefully and you’ll see that you’ve made little hot dog octopuses.
Cute or gross? You decide. We served them, as I said, over Kraft Mac and Cheese. I’m pretty sure there was nothing of any nutritional value in tonight’s dinner. Please don’t judge. Some nights are like this.