Saturday, August 16, 2014

The More Things Stay The Same

When I was growing up, my family had a traditional supper every Saturday of hot dogs, baked beans and coleslaw. 

Every Saturday.

This is the one meal my dad prepared for the family. He may have been a great Metallurgical Engineer, but he was not exactly known for his gourmet cooking skills and I’m guessing the only meal he knew he could prepare for our family of six was hot dogs, baked beans and coleslaw.

But over the years, Dad perfected his Saturday night meal. He liked to tell us that his blend of dressing for the coleslaw was a secret recipe that he couldn’t reveal under threat of death. And he’d always “doctor up” the baked beans with a little ketchup, a squirt of mustard, a pinch of brown sugar, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.

For a change of pace, he’d sometimes carefully cut the hot dogs down the middle and insert a sliver of Kraft American Cheese in each dog. I’m pretty sure he was able to make a single slice of cheese stretch for the entire family.

Frugal? Oh, yeah. I could tell you stories...

Or he’d toast the buns in the broiler.  This didn’t happen often since broiling is an exact science and we had charred hot dog buns one too many times.  Probably he was working on his secret recipe dressing for the coleslaw and not paying attention to the burning buns.

But my parents were from the era where wasting food was a sin, so we’d have to scrape off the blackened bits from the bun. You can imagine how much we enjoyed eating hot dogs on those nights.  We may have been thinking “Ewww, this is gross!” but we were never bold enough to say it out loud.

Dad still makes hot dogs, baked beans and coleslaw for supper on Saturday night, but he is likely taking a few shortcuts since the meal is only for two nowadays. I doubt the broiler has been used in years and I even spied some store-bought slaw dressing in the fridge the last time I visited. And, fortunately, baked beans come in a variety of flavors now so no “doctoring” is required.

Tonight, we’re having friends over for dinner. And in the Domian tradition, I’m making hot dogs, baked beans and coleslaw for supper.

Now, we have an old-fashioned hot dog griller, so everyone will prepare their own dogs. We’ll have all the fixins’ to make as fancy a dog as one could want – with chili, cheese, chopped onions, sauerkraut and all manner of condiments. 

Our “famous” coleslaw is an Asian coleslaw with crunchies and a delicious sweet and sour dressing.  And I may even “doctor” the baked beans up a bit in honor of Dad.

So I’m looking forward to supper tonight, although I can’t vouch for my guests. They may come to the table thinking, “Ewww, this is gross!” 
But – unlike in Dad’s day – we’re all of legal age and I can make sure to have enough adult beverages on hand that they won’t think too much about the meal.

Now off to the store I go.  Hmmm…I wonder if I can buy a single slice of Kraft American Cheese? 

Yeah, and I might also need to pick up extra strength adult beverages.

Happy Saturday!

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