Cheating, Fantasies & Food

You know how there are cheat foods that are socially acceptable to talk about? You know the kind you can confess to and no one will really judge you — like enchiladas or chocolate chip cookies, because, while they might be The Inch-Inducing Enemy of your fitness goals, they are, at least, at the end of the day, actually food.

And then there are the other kinds of cheat foods that no one talks about that render actual shame for enjoying something that should have never been approved by the FDA for human consumption — like “cheese” that comes out of an aerosol can looking just like star-shaped toothpaste, only it’s neon-orange and glowing like the “hazard” sign it should come with.

My paper-bag-over-my-head food? The Hot Dog. Yes, the food that is widely known to be the end-product of a bunch of animal parts that are unfit to eat on their own … but somehow if they’re ground-up, pumped with artificial flavoring, and sealed with a tight (also-suspect) skin, they become ridiculously delicious. Irresistible sometimes … ok, all the times I’ve ever sat in the stands at a stadium to watch a sporting event. The craving hits like clockwork.

Every. Single. Time.

I mean even at the Kentucky Derby — a 2 minute race — I couldn’t get out of there without eating a dang dog. Luckily, I haven’t gotten tickets to any sporting events since I started this fitness experiment a few weeks ago so I’ve been doing well on the Hot Dog Front.

Until today.

I had a monster craving and without a stadium to blame for it. So I’m blaming Fantasy Football. That’s the only explanation. In this fantasy world, I am an NFL Team Owner. I drafted NFL players. I can trade them if I want to … and as I’m deciding their line-up for Week 3, the craving all of a sudden hits. My fantasy football experience apparently now includes eating a hot dog in my owner’s suite while I watch my team play.

I know no amount of food is going to make the craving go away, so I decide to give in to it and go to the grocery store, bracing myself for the judgmental stares I know I’ll get as soon as I put the package of processed meat-like product on the checkout counter. On the way, I’m hoping that there’s been some headway made in the hot dog industry, that involves more real food and less ground-up garbage. I get to the store and ask my butcher if such hot dogs exist. That fantasy? Pow! It just got real. My butcher leads the way down the aisle and there they are…
First thing I see on the package … “No antibiotics, gluten & casein free, humanely raised, no fillers” … ummm are you sure these are hot dogs? I flipped the package over to confirm and then continued … not only can I read, understand and identify every ingredient, but every ingredient is healthy?!!!
(By the way, they also have chicken and turkey hot dogs just like these!)

I snag a pack and nearly skip to the check-out lane before I realized, I had to solve the bun problem. Can’t go the standard route—hot dog buns fall under the Anti-Fabulous, Inch-Inducing Column (no matter how whole-grain, multi-grain, fortified, gluten-free, macro-nutrient packed, stone-ground or artisan they are or claim to be).

But you have to be able to hold the hot-dog. That’s part of the magic of eating it. That’s what makes it a mouth-watering, memory-invoking American past-time. If you try to slice it up on a plate with a dollop of ketchup, it’s just a toddler’s lunch.

So I went to the produce aisle and decided on Romaine lettuce leaves …
they’re long, sturdy, and have custom-made built-in indents down the middle of each leaf perfectly sized to fit … yes, our beloved Hot Dog.
And of course, if you’ve ever had the spellbinding experience of chomping down into a NYC Vendor Hot Dog, then you know, the other half of the magic is the onion & ketchup wizardry on top, so I snagged a couple of onions at the store too.

Once I got home, less than 5 minutes later, my craving was answered. (That’s the beauty of hotdogs… a few diagonal slits with a knife and a minute or two in the microwave and they’re cooked!)

…toss on some diced onions…
a little ketchup…
Done, Done, and Yuuuuuuuuuuum.

Fantasy Fulfilled. *sigh*

Now let’s hope Andrew Luck comes through for me in Week Three. :)

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