The Legend of Chicken Hot Dogs

Disclaimer: This is a pretty rough draft. I will probably revisit it in the future and make a more worthwhile post out of it.

If you’ve been around me since December of 2006, you might have heard me utter one of these phrases in a Selma Bouvier voice:

  • “Is that some sort of astronaut food?”
  • “Mmmmmm.”
  • “Your Uncle Saul? Now there was a man who knew _____________.”

I’m not sure the backstory is all that interesting, but there is one, and it doesn’t involve watching an episode of The Simspons. In 2006, in December, I was in Florida for a vacation. Part of said vacation involved a trip to tour Kennedy Space Center, where Americans of every stripe come to congregate and pat themselves on the back for past accomplishments that they, as an individual, had nothing to do with. It’s AMERICA FUCK YEAH in the most harmless of forms, so I rode the wave and enjoyed the spectacle

Toward the end of the day, we were at the Saturn V exhibit, and food was on the agenda. Even in December, you can get sweaty and tired while schlepping around central Florida, and looking at white metal cylinders all day can do funny things to your brain. I was in that rare mental state where you’re tired, sick of people, and yet you find everything funny. Standing in line, I was examining the menu boards, when I heard a voice from behind me, that was so overwhelmingly unique that my ears locked onto it. It was the voice of an old woman with a three-pack-a-day habit and a New York accent. I didn’t catch the first sentence, but the second one will stick with me forever:

“Chicken hot dogs? What the hell are those, Joey? Is that some sort of astronaut food?”

I don’t remember a word Joey said throughout the conversation. Not one. Rather than try to paraphrase, I will let the reader infer his portion of the dialogue, focusing my written attentions only on the lady I think of as “Selma”…

“No. I just don’t understand how you make hot dogs out of chicken. Chicken, that I understand. Hot dogs, those I understand. But chicken hot dogs? Why would you do that?”

At this point, I was both riveted in place with fascination.

“Chicken.” A pause. “Hot dogs.”

Joey says something, and I cannot help but think that when Selma goes back to New Jersey or New York or New Something, the only thing she will take with her is that there is a place in Florida where the hot dogs are made of chicken, that somehow, NASA has violated a fundamental law of nature, and within a certain radius, all hot dogs transmute from pork and beef into fowl.

“Chicken hot dogs.”

The idea of them suddenly seems ridiculous to me, too, and I giggle a little bit. This is unusual because I am every marketer’s wet dream when it comes to variations on products I already use; I have to try them. It’s a compulsion. A fucking mandate from heaven. New Pretzel M&M’s1, Mt. Dew Code Red2, Doritos Surf-N-Turf Tex-Mex3 — any of things will cause me to lay out some hard-earned dollars in exchange for a few minutes in which I have a whole new “remix” experience with a previous product that may or may not be on the market in two months’ time.4 Thus, this fascinating discussion Selma is having with Joey is locked in my head, and I am having horrible visions of a mountain of chicken leftovers being pushed through a sausage press, while simultaneously wondering what that would taste like. I have not said one word, nor interacted with anyone since this diatribe of Selma’s started, and yet every cycle in my brain is dedicated to recording and turning over her statements in my head.

“I just don’t understand, Joey. That’s not sausage. Your Uncle Saul? Now there was a man who knew sausage. Mmmmmmmmm.”

As I approach the counter, I decide that Uncle Saul probably knew best. If the man knew sausage, who was I to argue?

I ordered the chicken fingers.

1. Real.
2. Not only real, but became a full-time product.
3. Not real.
4. Does anyone know what the eff happened to Pepsi Blue?

1 thought on “The Legend of Chicken Hot Dogs”

  1. Chicken hot dogs are likely available in within a shelf or two of the beef- and pork-based hot dogs at your local supermarket. I would bet money they’re manufactured exactly as you imagine. They are off-puttingly beige, even when grilled. And they taste about as much like ungulate hot dogs as a McDonald’s cheeseburger does like one you grill yourself.

    I’m with Uncle Saul on this one.


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