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

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Madeleine Somerville hates trash and gave up meat 15 years ago, but every summer shes reminded of one thing: no one is too good for hot dog. Guess thats a contradiction? Shes got 3 terms for you: edible massacre by-products

Ive been a vegetarian for nearly 15 years, but I still dream about meat sometimes. I can nearly savour it when I wake up. The salty savour 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 broke a little when the waiter seemed 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 dogs most of all. To hell with smoked salmon or roasted chicken or filet mignon. I miss those delicious little meat tubes 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 favor sustainable or second-hand furniture and I do! Oh, I do but mostly its their hot dogs that keep me away. They expensed 75 cents. Seventy-five cents . Thats too good a bargain to resist. For under five dollars I could buy myself six scrumptious hot dog neatly nestled into their simple white bread buns, a single squiggly line of mustard adorning each one of their glitter scalps. Dont you dare talk to me about veggie dogs. I will happily ramble on about the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle until you unfollow me on Facebook, but veggie puppies are some real bullshit and everyone to know each other.

But Madeleine, you say, 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 dog. 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 feed 20 bn hot dog 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 fees hot dog Beyonc eats hot dogs! Heres a picture of Beyonc feeing a hot dog. Assure that look in her eyes? Thats republic.

And are they filled with lips and anuses? No!

Well, yes. I entail, kind of.

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

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

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

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

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

Upscale hot dog eateries 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 two weeks 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 people. And who plans to eat a hot dog two weeks in advance? Eating a hot dog is almost always research results of a spontaneous decision, usually one poorly made and quickly regretted.

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

Two hundred and twenty-five.

Officially, I am a proud vegetarian. Ill tell you things like how swine are smarter than puppies, 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 this summer and hot dogs are on the menu, I officially encourage 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 wrong to be like Beyonc? Savour every bite of your offal and trimmings and when you do, please think of me.

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