Friday, February 13, 2009

A Frank Plank.

We’ve had quite a range this week, havent we? From the challenging (insects) to the cruel (crimped fish) to the solo-soy dinner. Today we go plain and family friendly. Today we have frankfurters – ‘franks’ or to their friends, ‘liberty sausage’ to the patriotic American of WW I, and the key ingredient to a hot-dog.

To the OED, a frankfurter is ‘a highly seasoned smoked beef and pork sausage, originally made at Frankfurt am Main’, and gives the first reference from 1887. Well, not to argue with the OED, smoked sausages have been around in an infinite variety of forms in many places, for many centuries. The really intriguing question is, how did they get associated with that city? I havent so far found a convincing answer, but maybe you have?

A random selection of other dictionaries describe the frankfurter as:

- a thin-skinned sausage, originally from Germany, made of finely minced smoked pork or beef and grilled, fried, or boiled
- a thin red-brown sausage which is preserved using smoke or chemicals and often eaten with bread
- a cooked smoked sausage of beef or beef with pork, turkey, etc., made in cylindrical links a few inches long, now usually without a casing; wiener.
- a smoked sausage of beef or beef and pork made in long reddish links.
- a cured cooked sausage (as of beef or beef and pork) that may be skinless or stuffed in a casing
- a smooth-textured sausage of minced beef or pork usually smoked; often served on a bread roll

Not coming from either of the countries of their birth, nor their main country of adoption, there is another question that has me not-quite lying awake in anguish, but a bit puzzled from time to time, is – is there a difference between a ‘wiener’ (supposedly from Vienna) and a frankfurter (from Frankfurt)?

There is more to frankfurters than hot-dogs. Here is how to dolly them up to make a slightly posh family dinner, courtesy of the Morning Avalanche (Lubbock, Texas) of Nov 5, 1943.

For a quick meal that "looks big", serve a frank plank. On a plank or oven-proof platter broil hot, mashed potatoes with franks and bacon atop so the meat juices run tastily down on the potatoes.
To prepare: peel 6 medium sized potatoes, cook and mash with 3 tablespoons fat, 1/3 to ½ cup hot milk, and salt and pepper. Pile on an oven-proof platter or plank. Arrange 1 pound frankfurts on potatoes, and 4 strips bacon atop franks. Broil until bacon is crisp, and franks and potatoes are thoroughly heated. Serves 4 to 6.

Quotation for the Day …

A hot dog at the ball park is better than steak at the Ritz.
Humphrey Bogart.


srhcb said...

My friend Luke used to say, "If we have them at home they're called wieners. If we eat them at a picnic they're hot dogs, and at the ball park they're franks."

The Old Foodie said...

Steve, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you (and your friend Luke) for that explanation! I love it!

Anonymous said...

In Germany, there's a definite difference in taste/color between Wieners and Frankfurters. I think that Wieners are pork/beef mix and Frankfurters are just pork. According to the german Wiki, Wieners are known as Frankfurters in Vienna --they're an Austrian adaptation.

Anonymous said...

We used to open up a can of Stokley van Camp's Pork & Beans, dump a package of hot dogs in the pot with the beans, and heat them up. That was a mighty good dinner for an American kid.

I loved "dogs" until I saw a factory making them in Haiti ...

Anonymous said...

I think some Yanks might also say that a weiner is smaller, i.e. "cocktail weiner" and a frank is bigger, and for a bun.

srhcb said...

Somewhat on the subject; I used to know a guy who owned a trucking company named Lyle Ginsel. Lyle was a huge man who loved to eat plain weiners. He literally inhaled them in one bite, and his hands were so big it looked like he was eating his fingers! We had an expression for something that happened quickly being "faster than Lyle Ginsel can eat weiners".