too wet, too cold, too broke to cook outdoors? Fred to the rescue!

No matter what those enthusiastic TV cooks tell us, no matter how many revoltingly cute little nicknames they give a slice of white bread with what's basically lunch meat, nothing beats a steak right from the grill. Except of course, when it doesn't. It's raining, it's cold, we spent the food budget on a really cute pair of boots, AND the family is here with all the small ones, and whatever else you may do, they expect hot dogs and hamburgers. They are entitled to hot dogs and hamburgers. They are law-abiding tax-payers (huh).  No matter that it's raining, no matter that it's so windy and damp the charcoal won't light.

So here we are, indoors, with 2 or 3 dozen hot dogs and some classic go-withs, and no ideas. No worries. Here is an absolute classic that resurfaces every so often, like cicadas, and works its magic on the bewildered hungry. Dear friends, I give you:
You'll need a roasting pan with sides, a cooking needle or a large craft needle, a bunch of franks, and something to fill the crown roast with. The classic is sauerkraut, but that can get very messy. I suggest using whatever kind of potato salad you like that can be served warm and still taste like you planned it. The kinds without mayonnaise will work well.

OK, ready?

1.  Remove out-of-season clothes and shoes from oven and put under bed.
2.  Turn oven to 350 degrees and let it heat up while you work. Close the oven door first.
3.  Open the hot dog packages, dry the hot dogs, and line them up next to each other.
4.  Thread the needle with white twine, and run it through the hot dogs, about 3/4 inch from the top end.  Leave a tail of twine at each end of the row of hot dogs.
5.   Repeat step 4 at about slightly more than half-way down the hot dogs, also leaving tails.
6.   This is tricky. Tie the two top tails together, and then tie the two bottom tails together, making a cylinder.
7.    Stand the cylinder on the baking pan and carefully but persistently press down so that the bottoms of the doggies bend outward, making feet for the cylinder to stand on.  You may need to brace this by running a few wooden skewers through it.
8.    Open oven door, insert roasting pan with creation, close oven door.  Allow 20 minutes to elapse.  Use time productively by finding the mustard, ketchup, pickle relish, etc., and MOST IMPORTANTLY THE SCISSORS. Warm up the potato salad.
9.    After 20 minutes, open oven door, slide out oven rack, remove roasting pan with crown (it is now a crown), carefully maneuver it onto a platter and fill it with the potato salad.
10.  A dish of this caliber deserves decoration, and I suggest slices of pimento-stuffed olives making a ring inside the ring of hot dogs. Also, instead of parsley, go all out and put radish and carrot slices at the feet.
11.   Serve, keeping a straight face. This is the part where you'll need the scissors - to cut the doggies apart.
12.  Many small children do not like to eat anything that does not look like something they have eaten before. Should this happen at your festive gathering, you should have some bologna slices ready to offer the kids simple but festive sandwiches. Like this one:

Yes, there does seem to be a full moon


  1. The most unique hot dog display ever. I'm cracking up and while knowing my kids would LOVE this gourmet delight! Thanks.

  2. Hi, JulieStyles, I collect Demented HomeEc Teacher/TroopLeader recipes, and a few are posted on the blog. I think this is the first main course, though. disclaimer: I haven't actually cooked any except where specifically stated.

  3. Southern Belle Ph.D.August 12, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    I have a Madewell code I would like to share with you or one of your readers, should they be interested. It is for 10% off and Free Shipping. The code is: MWHCRAFZU

    Happy Birthday WFF! I have enjoyed your birthday posts as well as your summer beach post. We share some similar issues.

  4. Southern Belle PhD, how lovely! Thank you in advance on behalf of the lucky person who uses this code, and I'm glad you're enjoying the summer.

  5. If I show this to my husband he will not rest until it appears Chez Nous. I wish I could video his reaction.

  6. This is HILARIOUS!! Where on earth did you find this recipe?! I am definitely going to try this out on the kids some day.

  7. Hi, Louise, I'm afraid more and more "economy" recipes will be surfacing in the next few months. This one at least is amusing, glad you enjoyed! Can't say the same for the baked ham substitute I didn't post: a whole roast glazed midget bologna, studded with cloves, pineapple rings and all. I have my standards.

  8. Thanks for another episode of your continuing series on recipes that make you say ... sumpent (my word verification). Wow, it's sumpent awright! Aka Things That Make You say Hmm ...


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