In every person’s life there are events and things that stand out in their childhood. I have to say personally my childhood had more dark spots than bright. I moved around a lot and was always the new kid, I had little to no relationship with my father, and a creepy stepfather. My mother was super young…only 15 years old when she got pregnant with me, so essentially she was a baby raising a baby–mostly by herself. I always throw that grain of salt over my shoulder when thinking about the darker aspects of my upbringing.
For me, great events were marked with food. When you are poor, food is generally a time for happiness. I remember my grandmother’s roasted chicken, making homemade meatballs and spaghetti sauce with my mom, and holidays. But one of the great foods of my childhood were “Frankies”. My mother would sometimes take our cheap hot dogs and make three cuts in them. As they cooked up golden brown in the pan they would sprout arms and legs. I remember standing near the stove watching this magic happen. I felt special when she took the time to do this. I loved the look on her face as she watched me enjoy these tiny men be born in a pan.
Last night I decided to make them for myself. I’m 39 and though I had the same sort of excitement as I put them in the pan, my boyfriend looked at me like I was nuts. They were hot dogs for goodness sake. These didn’t turn out as great as the ones my mother always made. I think you need bottom of the barrel hot dogs to get optimum curl in the arms and legs. My mustard work left much to be desired as well. I named them “Hans” and “Franz”. I was excited to dig in.
I hacked Franz’s leg off and ate it. As an adult, I started to think about how morbid the whole process is really. Here I am in the kitchen with a pair meat homunculus acting like Jeffrey Dahmer….enjoying limbs and trunks of these men I had made. I felt like a cannibal.
It reminded me of how innocent we are as children. I never once thought about these realities when I was younger. I felt like a queen with my fancy, gourmet hot dogs and that was all that mattered. Life experience jades us in so many ways. It takes away a lot of the wonder in the world. It was nice to remember something good about my childhood. If you have kids you should make them a Hans and Franz. They will love you for it. They might think you are David Copperfield. Who doesn’t want that?