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Is Your Fly Buttoned?

December 13, 2010

Yesterday was my 500th post.  It kind of slipped by unnoticed, but I didn’t want to let a milestone pass without any kind of acknowledgement.  So instead, today we’ll commemorate post 501.

While 500 is evocative of mostly car races (think Daytona and Indy) 501 brings to mind only one thing.  And that one thing speaks to authenticity, quality and integrity.  Or at least it used to.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done any work for Levi’s.

But I’m going to go with that.

Mostly because these are things that I try to focus on in this little corner of the interweb.  And they tie in nicely to a response I wanted to give to a great question that was submitted earlier this month regarding hot dogs and eggnog.

Lakesider who is a first time commenter, offered this thoughtful challenge:

Appreciate all the comments about eggnog ingredients. I just find it perplexing that this post comes after one about hot dogs. If there was ever a food stuff full of additives it’s the hot dog. Seems like you want to have your “hot dog” and drink it too, with pristine eggnog. Why is it some chemically-laden food are “kosher” with you and other are bashed. Seems a little inconsistent…just asking.

This point is not lost on me.  But there is precious little in this world that is either black or white.  We all live in a million shades of gray.

Let’s start with the hot dog.  I can understand, given my enthusiasm for our regional specialty, that it appears I have no problems with the current state of hot dogs.  But that is not true.  The Fussy household eats precious little meat given our concerns with the mass production of beef, pork and chicken.  Hot dogs, being fundamentally meat products, are problematic from the start, regardless of what is added to them. This is why Young Master Fussy didn’t get his first taste of a hot dog until he was several years old.

My ideal hot dog would probably look something like this.

However, I cannot completely cloister my family or myself from the world in which we live.  And dammit, some of the industrialized foodstuffs are mighty tasty.  But we can still choose to eat them sparingly, and to make sure when we do indulge that our indulgences are truly special.

Partaking in a rare, regional variant of hot dog, which has been a part of this community for generations, totally counts.

That said, I have absolutely no expectations for hot dogs to be made of quality ingredients or to be unadulterated.  If perchance a storied local hot dog restaurant uses a higher grade of product, all the better. But hot dogs are junk food. Period. This is why they are an occasional treat.

Perhaps this also explains in part my desire to find the tastiest hot dog in the area.

I get the most worked up when I discover that foods I expect to be wholesome have been corrupted and somehow changed over time.  Eggnog is one of these, especially since I went to a few different stores and couldn’t find a single carton that wasn’t sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.  In this case when you are paying a premium price for a seasonal treat, I expect to see premium ingredients.  While the HFCS people may argue it’s exactly the same as sugar, its lower cost disqualifies it as a premium ingredient.

This same outrage swelled the first time I noticed a list of ingredients on a carton of cream.  And I was livid the first time I looked at yogurt labels to find this health food has somehow transformed into candy.  And don’t even get me started on Ben & Jerry’s.  Have you looked at the ingredients statement on their cartons recently?  I can’t even imagine how the brand’s founders feel about what has happened to their creation.

Maybe they are laughing all the way to the bank.

Fundamentally it all comes down to expectations.  Sure, I wish Coke was made with sugar all year long.  I’d probably drink more of it.  But I’m not going to go off the rails because they changed their formulation to include high fructose corn syrup.  It’s junk food.

But when I find that questionable ground beef is made even more questionable with the addition of pink slime, I’m getting angry.

Hopefully this clears things up, because while I’ve written a lot of posts on food, I like to believe that there is a consistent thread that runs through them all.  Amazingly I’ve still got more to say.  So come back tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.  And if you want to experience the Profussor live, come out with me on the Tour de Hot Dog this Saturday.

You can be there when I eat my words.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 13, 2010 2:40 pm

    Sorry Daniel, but I have to call you out on this one. Who was it that said – you are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts. I agree with many if not most of the last 500 posts (BTW, Mucho Congrats!), but this one includes a gross misstatement that cannot go unchallenged. For the record – hot dogs are not junk food!

  2. Cindy permalink
    December 13, 2010 6:10 pm

    Fact: Junk food is defined as “food that tastes good but is high in calories, with little nutritional value.”

    Fact: Hot dogs are high in calories and low in nutritional value.

    Sorry Rambler… it’s not Daniel’s opinion, it’s fact. For the record. ;)

    I totally agree that junk food is not necessarily evil. In the summer months especially, I love me a good-quality hot dog, preferably purchased from a butcher (NOT store-bought, pre-packaged, artificially-colored, conglomerate-owned). I have no problem with treating myself to something that tastes good but is not good for me, as long as it’s in moderation. (But it’s another matter when kids who don’t know any better/can’t decide for themselves are fed hot dogs as a primary staple in their diet.)

    Hot dogs are by their very nature a complex, multi-ingredient product. It’s impossible to make them simply, with just a few ingredients. Eggnog, on the other hand, IS a product that one can (and should) expect to be made simply, with just a few ingredients. BTW, I think eggnog can also be classified as junk food – its enormously high calories surely offset any nutritional value from the eggs and dairy products. But I won’t deny myself a delicious cup or two during the holidays.

    I also agree that there’s no need to be a 100% purist on everything we consume. In an ideal world, sure – I’d eat only organic foods, and I also wouldn’t drink, swear, etc. But there’s too much complexity and variety in American life, and in our food & drink, for most of us to live like ascetics. We pick our battles, and we pick what to be picky about. Allowing for some leeway doesn’t mean that we (or the products we’re passionately picky about) are any less worthy of the fight.

  3. lakesider permalink
    December 13, 2010 10:26 pm

    I feel very honored that my first comment elicited it’s own post, and number 501 at that! I admit I was a little disappointed when it was not recognized earlier in the “Ask the Profusser” segment, but chalked it up to the lack of question marks. Been reading (lurking, stalking) your blog daily for well over a year and find it extremely enjoyable and informative…but this was the first I was compelled to comment. Being a medical professional I am constantly torn between what’s good for you, and what tastes good! Honestly, most “health food”, is just bland. Even the freshest of vegetables benefits from butter and salt. It’s difficult to avoid junk food altogether, and really, who wants to? So I agree, sparingly indulgences of high quality junk food may satisfy. And in the interim when trying to stick to the nutritious fish, lean meats and veggies, it would be nice that they are additive/chemical free. Thanks for clearing that up, and yes, I will be back to hear what you have to share in the future.

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