Just As Tasty As the Real Thing

Yesterday we celebrated the girl-child’s birthday. She turned 15 in August, but whatever. Better late than pregnant, I always say.  And besides, my niece hit her 18th two weeks ago, so our par-tay was something of a joint hoo-ha.  We marked the occasions with a family get-together around a campfire, complete with weenie roast, which seemed like a good idea.

Fall was made for roasting hot dogs over a fire, flames warming cheeks and hands, smoke permeating clothing with its delicious aroma. One tiny problem. Girl-child became a vegetarian when she was ten. No hot dogs for her. I know what you’re thinking. She will grow up deprived and twisted if she does not experience such important traditions as weenie roasts. Never fear. Mom to the rescue! Or as Squish would say it “To the wrecks-you!” In this case, I think his version is closer to right.

I did what any mom would do. I bought her some veggie dogs. It took some doing. I learned that there are many choices in the veggie dog category. You’ve got your Smartdogs, your Morningstar farms, and the entire Tofurky family. I finally settled on one brand, vaguely reassured by the label boasting the words “Now roastable!” Which according to spell check isn’t even a word. Spell check, you win.

They look like hot dogs. They feel like hot dogs. They don’t cook like hot dogs. Here’s what a weenie should look like.


Note the beautiful and even charring. So pretty. I can taste it now.


Not this.

I am reassured by the bubbly skin. Hot dogs should peel like that, too, right?


Note the even charring on the real dog. The veggie version looks like it has the pox. And the warnings on the label are pretty insistent that the vega-weenies don’t spend more than 6-7 minutes close to a flame. What it didn’t explain was why. Will an over-roasted vegadog merely taste bad or will it come to life and kill us all? I now suspect the latter.

Girl-child roasted her dog. And watched it bubble. Her grandmother generously offered to fix her a soy burger, but I am opposed to wasting food. I insisted that the kid at least try a bite before writing it off as inedible. She was thrilled.

I have to eat that? Really? You saw the bubbles, right?


Sadly, she was only able to take the one bite. The plate was knocked to the ground, and my mother’s dog, who is part cocker spaniel, part Great White shark and something of an opportunistic feeder, pounced and consumed the remainder. Slowly. And with much regret, the expression on her fuzzy face screaming “Oh, dear God! Why are you trying to kill me?”

So I had to try one. Of course. Because I am nothing if not stubborn. All I can say is Mmmm, yummy. The texture was reminiscent of custard wrapped in a latex balloon, and it tasted like paste. There’s not enough mustard and onion in the world to make that thing palatable.

There were good things that came out of this experience, however. The four-legged dog is no worse for the wear, and she may be forever cured of counter-surfing. And the Not-dogs come five to a package, so there are three left. Any takers?