Recipes & Entertaining Ideas / Susan's Food and Art

Dogs, Dog Days and Hot Dog Sauce

Danville was an interesting town. Very beautiful, lots of newly rich folks in the area. Very Bay Area yuppie in their thinking. Sorry guys. When we moved there I was still driving my little Honda Civic that insisted on backfiring like a gassy rhino in it’s later years. I liked it. Made me happy, that was all that mattered to me. I’ve never been a materialistic human by nature. Not that I don’t enjoy nice things, I just don’t require them to be content. My children, however, were horrified. Social suicide to be seen with your parents in the first place, but one that announces her arrival with a sonic boom was simply too much for them to bear. I was instructed to pick them up a block away from school wearing a ski mask and pretend that I was abducting them.

When my husband was away on business, I picked up the slack in the errand department. In truth, when he was home I picked up the slack in the errand department, but we’ll leave that to the marriage counselors to sort out.

At the time I was working for a local property management company. Being on the front lines in the sales office I was required to wear suits and heels, etc. to make the desired impression on new clients.

Barnaby, our golden retriever, was even by golden retriever standards, a large specimen. My husband refused to have him fixed, I assume this is a guy thing, so the poor animal spent his days in the yard digging his way to freedom to find a lady interested in what he had to offer. Consequently, he was always a pile of dirt with hair on it, and I was always filling the holes. Finally, he escaped one day and exchanged his virginal status for bragging rights and one of our neighbors announced we were the proud parents of eight mixed breed puppies. We handed out milk bones and opened a bottle of champagne.

I got a call in the middle of the week that Barnaby had a grooming appointment. Usually I didn’t handle this errand because for as wildly euphoric as the dog was when he got to go in the car, he was equally loath to go to the groomers. The groomer was local, and opened at 6 a.m. for those of us who had to go to work. It was dark that morning, probably early fall. Loading the dog in the car, rolling down the windows so his jowls could flap freely in the wind, we were on our way.

Driving into the parking lot his mood changed. Swear, they can smell vets and groomers two miles away. Understand my heels and suit were in place and functional at this point.

Throwing my purse behind my shoulder, I opened the back door. Barnaby was now pinned against the opposite side of the car shuddering and whining. What a puss. Attaching the leash to his collar I physically dragged his eighty plus behind out into the parking lot managing to shut the door behind me.

Half way across the parking lot he stopped, sitting down. Now I am forced to drag him by his leash while he’s shaking his head and bearing down with his paws. Help. At one point, I believe I actually straddled him like a pony at Daytona. In the interim the heel came off my shoe and my nylons shredded like fine cabbage. My purse had disengaged from my shoulder, dropped to the ground and tampons and lipsticks were rolling all over the asphalt. Somehow I manipulated him into the groomers and got him hooked up.

Walking back out into the parking lot to collect the insides of my purse, I heard conversation and laughing. Four construction guys were leaning against the fence to my right. Gathering my belongings, I ducked my head and proceeded to my car where one guy yelled out, “hey, Sweetie, great show. Let us know when you pick him up and we’ll be waiting right here”. How humiliating, really, how very humiliating.

I love hot dogs. No, thank you, I do not want to know what ear lobes, lips, or glands went into the making of them. I prefer to think of them as contributing to the lack of waste in the world, by using every part of the animal. Sandwiches of all kinds are my specialty. Dagwood has nothing on me. I’ll eat hot dogs every kind of way, coleslaw, sauerkraut, chili, cheese, tomatoes, you name it. This sauce is particularly good and easy. Leftovers store well in the freezer for another time.

Hot Dog Sauce

2 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 cup water
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup catsup
1/2 T salt
1/2 T sugar
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 T chili powder
crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Crumble ground beef to small crumbles. Add onion and green pepper. Cook in large pot over medium heat until browned. Drain. Return to pot. Stir in water. Add tomato sauce, catsup, salt, pepper, chili powder, sugar and pepper flakes. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours until sauce has thickened.

Top this with grated cheddar cheese, and red onion. Mmmm.

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