Hot dogs, buffalo wings, chicken fingers confuse everyone

The confusion began when I was 5 and Dad grilled hot dogs.

“What kind of dogs are they made from?” I asked.

“Wiener dogs, of course.” Dad licked his lips. “Yum-yum.”

“Marcella’s wiener dog? Did you go to Aunt Charlene’s and steal their puppy for supper?” My little chin quivered. I wrapped my arms around my beagle. “You’re not gonna cook Cubbie next, are you?”

Dad rubbed his chin. “We’ll, there is more meat on him than on that dachshund.”

Mom waggled her finger. “Frank, stop scaring the boy. Burton, hot dogs aren’t made from dogs.”

“What are they?”

“Um… uh… pig parts, I think,” Mom said. “Definitely not dogs.”

I refused to eat another hot dog until we visited my cousin and her dog. Phew.

Food names can mess with a kid’s mind. I’m in my mid-60s and they still puzzle me. Have you seen a buffalo with wings? A chicken with fingers? A fish with sticks?

In 2020, a guy named Ander Christensen implored his city council in Lincoln, Neb., to fix one faux food name in particular: “I propose that we as a city remove the name ‘boneless wings’ from our menus and from our hearts. We’ve been living a lie for far too long.”

Chicken wings aren’t boneless and boneless chicken wings aren’t wings. They’re more like chicken nuggets, mushed together from breast meat.

Don’t stop there. At a family picnic a couple years ago, my creative daughter, Melissa, proudly displayed dirt pudding for dessert. The “dirt” turned out be crumbled Oreo cookies. The worms were of the colorful gummy variety.

Dirt pudding wasn’t much of a stretch for a boy who once specialized in baking mud pies. But the bakery never featured cow pies. They were made by, not from, cows.

A young sister-in-law once reported that her friend’s family were so weird: “They make their french fries out of potatoes!”

Returning the name french-fried potatoes could clear confusion. And possibly save the French from a singing.

The ingredients of plum pudding — also known as figgy pudding — include raisins, apricots, currants, apples and orange zest. Neither plums nor figgies flavor this Christmas dish.

Baby carrots aren’t young’uns at all. They’re carved from fully grown adult carrots.

Lady fingers turn out to be sweet sponge biscuits.

Pork “butt” comes from the pig’s shoulders, closer to the snout than the tail end.

Butt, er, I mean, but what are spare ribs? “Let’s eat these. The ol’ hog won’t miss them. They’re spares.”

There’s nothing cheesy about headcheese. That stuff is a gelatinous combo made from various parts — heads, mostly — of pigs, calves or cows.

Cow tongue is actually — OK, that one really is a cow’s tongue. I couldn’t speak when I pulled a Saran-wrapped one out of the freezer.

I don’t even want to talk about my cousins on a ranch in Wyoming who, after a certain annual roundup, enjoy Rocky Mountain Oysters around the campfire. Their cattle ranch may lie near the Rockies but those aren’t oysters. ‘Nuff said.

I have to go now. It’s supper time and Terry has hot dogs sizzling in the frying pan.

Odd, I’m not hearing as much barking in the neighborhood tonight. Just a coincidence. Let’s hope.

Dine with Cole at burts eyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or at www.burtonwcole.com.


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