A vegetarian’s ode to the hot dog: I miss you little meat tubings so much it hurts

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Madeleine Somerville loathes trash and gave up meat 15 years ago, but every summer shes reminded of one thing: no one is too good for hot dogs. Believe thats a contradiction? Shes got 3 words for you: edible slaughter by-products

Ive been a vegetarian for almost 15 years, but I still dream about meat sometimes. I can virtually savour it when I wake up. The salty savor of the peppercorn rind on a perfectly grilled sirloin. The subtle sweetness of a hunk of chorizo. At a restaurant a few years ago, I ordered a spicy lentil burger but was accidentally served a real one. I didnt notice until I was halfway through it, and my heart violated a little when the waiter appeared horrified and apologetic to replace it. I still think about that moment. The lentil burger was good, but not meat good, you know?

Its never meat good.

I miss a lot of things about my wild meat-eating days, but I miss hot dog most of all. To hell with smoked salmon or roasted chicken or filet mignon. I miss those delicious little meat tubings so much that it hurts. And now that were in the middle of barbecue season, my longing is more intense than ever.

To this day I avoid Ikea whenever humanly possible. People think its because I prefer sustainable or second-hand furniture and I do! Oh, I do but mostly its their hot dog that maintain me away. They expensed 75 cents. Seventy-five pennies . Thats too good a deal to defy. For under five dollars I could buy myself six scrumptious hot dogs neatly nestled into their simple white bread buns, a single squiggly line of mustard adorning each one of their glitter skins. Dont you dare talk to me about veggie dogs. I will merrily ramble on about the added benefit of a vegetarian lifestyle until you unfollow me on Facebook, but veggie dogs are some real bullshit and everyone knows it.

But Madeleine, “theyre saying”, hot dogs are disgusting! Theyre filled with lips and anuses!

I see. You think youre too good for hot dog?

No. No ones too good for hot dogs. Hot puppies are the great equalizer. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council( this is a real thing what a time to be alive !) estimates that Americans eat 20 bn hot dogs each and every year. Theyre festive barbecue food, American as apple pie. Theyre a main course for families on strict budgets, like mine was growing up. Everyone eats hot dog Beyonc fees hot dog! Heres a picture of Beyonc eating a hot dog. Find that look in her eyes? Thats democracy.

And are they filled with lips and anuses? No!

Well, yes. I mean, sort of.

Hot dogs are typically made from offal and trimmings. If you have no notion what that means, thats deliberate. The more precise definition breaks it down thusly:

The raw meat materials used for precooked-cooked products are lower-grade muscle trimmings, fatty tissues, head meat, animal feet, animal scalp, blood, liver and other edible slaughter by-products.

Edible. Slaughter. By-products. Are you drooling? What? No, deity, me either. Gross.

An investigation into hot dog manufacturing tells me that hot dog makers are doing one of my favorite things: recycling. Upcycling, even! Taking head meat and edible slaughter by-products and turning it into the stuff of dreamings. Sweet tasty little temptresses.

Upcycling is so seriously hot right now everywhere you look people wearing shoes made from scarves, or repurposing mason jars into menstrual cups. Its no wonder that hot dog, the poster child of making something from nothing ( low-grade muscle trimmings !), have grown incredibly popular in the niche food market.

Upscale hot dog restaurants have been popping up in cities all over the world( and I cant eat at any of them ). Seattle-based Tokyo Dog offers what may be the worlds most expensive hot dog, a $169 fancy-schmancy versionthat they serve in a ceramic dish and require you to order 2 week in advance. Not that this concerns me in any way, but I disagree with this on principle alone. $169? This is no longer the food of the person or persons. And who plans to eat a hot dog two weeks in advance? Feeing a hot dog is almost always the result of a spontaneous decision, usually one poorly made and quickly regretted.

Also, do you know how many hot dog you could get for $169 at Ikea?

Two hundred and twenty-five.

Officially, I am a proud vegetarian. Ill say to you things like how swine are smarter than dogs, chickens have personalities and kine like to cuddle. Officially, I avoid processed food jammed with nitrites and packaged in plastic.

Likewise, if youre barbecuing on the Fourth of July or any other day the summer months and hot dog are on the menu, I officially promote you to eat something else instead. Quinoa, perhaps. Roasted cauliflower? Grilled caesar salad?( OK, actually try this one its life-changing .)

But its also national hot dog month. And if you dont take my advice, I understand. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.( And tasty. How is it even legal for fatty tissue and animal feet to be so goddamn tasty ?)

Go ahead and be like Beyonc. When has it ever been incorrect to be like Beyonc? Savour every bite of your offal and trimmings and when you do, please think of me.

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