I found something to keep our minds out of the war gutter for a while.
I'm particularly frightened by the Frankfurter Spectacular, as my mother served something similar back in the 70's and I still have nightmares about it.
Mom - who has never tried to pass herself off as good cook - would take a roasting pan, line it with pork-n-beans, and throw a couple of hot dogs wrapped in bacon on top of the beans. She'd bake it and then toss some saurekraut on top for good measure. She called this dinner. My dad called it shit. My sisters and still laugh about it.
This page is quite similar, though not as vast, as the Gallery of Regrettable Food by our own James Lileks. (We did claim him as our own, right? I think Glenn has the adoption papers). As a matter of fact, I discovered James not through the blogosphere, but through his sad, scary pictures of food from days gone by. He even has a picture which is quite similar to the freaky frankfurter dinner my mother made.
I grew up in the suburbs, just one town over from the original famed Levittown, New York. Women cooked, men worked and kids played. Our living rooms were decorated in dark hues of green and orange and all our appliances were brown or olive colored. It's just the way it was in our little Stepford existence.
Dad used to say that mom was an alchemist by trade. Of course, the punchline was that everything she touched turned to shit. He meant this in regards to her culinary skills. I think mom was at an unfair disadvantage in that 1) my father himself was a gourmet cook whose skills were honed in the firehouse of Bushwick, Brooklyn 2) mom had to compete with my grandma - dad's mother - who was Italian and therefore knew how to cook better than anyone else in the world; and 3) the recipes and ingredients of the day just did not lend themselves to dinners worth remembering. Or even worth eating, sometimes.
Meals were generally cooked in one pot, or in one electric skillet, and served in one dish. This "Mexican" specialty looks like almost every dinner my mother cooked.
Apparently, hot dogs were the main staple of family dinners during that era. Witness this example, which looks just like my mom's famous recipe, without the pork-n-beans.
At least she never tried hot dog fondue.
scary hot dog picture from this site