I see from recent TV commercials that clothing is once again becoming classist. It seems like only yesterday that we couldn’t get enough of and couldn’t pay enough for jeans that had been spread out on rocks and then blasted with shotgun pellets. ”Shotgun-washed” jeans were a hot and pricey commodity. You can bet my net worth did not allow for them in my wardrobe.

Well, shotgun-washed, you are déclassé! Step aside and make room for the new clothes on the block, “destructed” jeans. If you are among the uber wealthy, you might be able to afford this hot new, fashion statement — clothing with pre-fab rips and holes.

Being on a fixed income, I am in the same boat I was in when “shotgun-washed” jeans were the bomb. I am forced to pay a lot less, and wear holes in the clothes myself.

Because I devoted a column to burgers recently, I thought it only fair that I give equal time to that much maligned mystery meat, the hot dog. Oh! How the mighty have fallen! Once heralded in song as one of Chevrolet’s four definitively all-American icons (“baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet”), it seems relegated now to “do you know what they put IN those things?!” status.

Despite the content snobbery issue, “Americans purchase 350 million pounds of hot dogs (annually) at retail stores — that’s 9 billion hot dogs! But the actual number consumed by Americans is probably much larger.” (Hot Dog Fast Facts—NHDSC; www.hot-dog.org/culture/hot-dog-fast-facts)

I would guess the number to be significantly higher, when you consider how many are eaten at restaurants, county fairs, sporting events, and just about any place else people congregate where there is food for sale.

I don’t know if hot dogs around the world are the same as we have in America, but from the descriptions of how hot dogs are served in other countries, it appears that the whole world embraces them.

Rather than actual recipes, what I have for you today is a look at how hot dogs are “dressed” around the world and in a few choice U.S. locations, which will demonstrate that hot dogs are alive and well and being eaten in a George Webb’s in your neighborhood. The information came from a chart I located on pinterest. Many of the pictures, whether with or without a bun, would have made you wonder if they were “poutine” hot dogs!

Actually, there is one recipe, for a desserty hot dog, and a suggestion for a fun sandwich for kids.

When it comes right down to it, though, I say “recipes schmecipes!” The best hot dogs I ever tasted involved scouring the picnic grounds for the perfect stick. Not so long that you’d lose control of it. Not so short that you had to stand too close to the fire. Of course a forked end was mandatory, to securely spear the hot dog on the stick. The next requirement was patience enough to hold that thing over the open fire, turning regularly, until it was just perfect, charred black, beyond recognition.

Helen Harold of West Salem, Wis., wrote to say “I have tried several black bean brownie recipes, but yours is the BEST! Maybe it is the maple syrup, who knows.”

Thanks for letting me know that the brownie recipe is a good one. The thanks goes to the anonymous reader who sent it to me a couple of weeks ago, after I mentioned black bean brownies in the column.

Keep your eyes and ears open this week for ongoing information about the big eclipse coming Aug. 21 — what time and where to look for the best view, etc. But most importantly, pay attention to how to view the eclipse safely. We don’t want eye doctors to be barraged with patients with eclipse-related eye injuries.

Hot dog dressing styles

Amsterdam: Long hot dog in bun, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, broiled

Brazil: Hot dog, split roll, pico de gallo, corn, grated Parmesan, shredded carrots, diced ham, cilantro, shoestring fries

Chicago: Hot dog, poppy seed bun, pickle spear, celery salt, tomatoes, whole pickled peppers, chopped onions, neon green relish, mustard

China: Hot dog wrapped in dumpling-type dough, sprinkled with sesame seeds, baked

Columbia: Hot dog, bun, catsup, mustard, mayo, pineapple, crushed potato chips, boiled quail egg speared on top

Czech Republic: Hot dog in a roll with a lengthwise hole in it, coated with catsup and mustard

France: Long hot dog in baguette, lots of shredded Gruyère cheese, broiled

Germany: Frankfurter, no bun, sauerkraut, potato salad, mustard

Hawaii: Hot dog in Hawaiian sweet bread roll with a hole in it, catsup, mustard, fruit sauces

Italy: Hot dog deep fried in an Italian roll, bell peppers, onions, French fries, catsup, mustard

Japan: Hot dog sliced to look like an octopus, fried and served as part of a bento box (a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal in a box-shaped container. Traditionally rice, fish or meat, pickled or cooked vegetables)

Korea: Corn dog coated with crinkle-cut fries, deep fried on a stick, catsup

Montreal: New England-style bun, mustard, chopped onion, shredded cabbage

New York City: Bun, mustard, sauerkraut, onion sauce

Peru: Sliced hot dog, no bun, fried, served over French fries, catsup, mustard, mayo

Sonora (Mexico) Hot Dog: Split soft roll, bacon-wrapped, relish, tomatoes, onions, avocado chunks, mayonnaise

Sweden: Hot dog rolled in a wrap; surrounded by mashed potatoes, shrimp salad, lettuce, fried onions

Twinkie™ Weiner Sandwich

4 hot dogs

4 cream-filled sponge snack cakes (such as Twinkies™)

4 (4-inch) squirts of pressurized canned cheese (such as Easy Cheese™), or to taste

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add hot dogs, and boil until thoroughly hot, about 5 minutes; drain and keep warm. Meanwhile, unwrap snack cakes; place on cutting board, upside-down. Cut halfway through bottoms of snack cakes with a small, serrated knife to create buns. Blot hot dogs with a paper towel to remove excess water and place a hot dog in each bun. Remove protective top from can of cheese; hold nozzle close to, but not touching, exposed side of hot dog. Dispense cheese by decisively pressing nozzle toward hot dog and slowly drawing tip along hot dog in a straight line or decorative pattern of your choice. 4 servings: 392 calories; 24.9g fat; 0.3g fiber (Submitted to all recipes.com by Kevin)

PBJ Sandwich Hot Dog

1 package ladyfingers

Peanut butter

Garnishes:

Frosting, some tinted red and yellow

Raspberry preserves or jam

Orange marmalade

Slice ladyfingers lengthwise, but not all the way through, so they look like hot dog buns. Put a coupler in your pastry bag or resealable plastic bag, but no tip; or cut corner of plastic bag, making about a ⅜-inch-diameter hole. Put peanut butter in bag and pipe a strip along the length of the lady fingers. Add a squiggle of red and yellow frosting for catsup and mustard, and dot with white frosting for diced onions. Or add “catsup and mustard” by spreading a little of the preserves and marmalade on the ladyfingers. Kids really enjoy these, and for added fun, let them help you put them together.

Send requests, recipes and/or cooking tips and techniques to Alice P. Clark at: Reader Exchange, c/o La Crosse Tribune, 401 N. Third St., La Crosse, WI 54601; e-mail: readerexchange@lacrossetribune.com.

Liven up your Thursday mornings by tuning in to Coulee Region Cooks from 10 to 11 a.m. on 1410-AM on the radio dial.

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