I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, just for time reference. There were no such things then as microwaves. No food processors to speak of, either, though we did have a blender. With that frame of mind, what did we eat? What things stood out?
In my family, Mom sometimes baked hot dogs stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon. At the time, when these were baked, often the bacon was not done through and would be fatty and flabby. As a child, this was something I could not tolerate. Still, they were really good, for all that, and parts of the bacon were okay. Recently I decided to try this out, with a new perspective. I do not like getting more pans dirty than necessary, but having the bacon done through on these was more important. I decided to partially fry some center cut bacon first, and then wrap this around the hot dog.
Mom made these by cutting a slit down the length of the hot dog, and taking a slice of American cheese folded over on itself, fit it into the cut made in the hot dog. Then she took the bacon and wrapped it around the stuffed hot dog, holding the bacon in place with toothpicks. I have no recollection of oven temperatures and times. Since I first cooked the bacon to about the way it usually turned out after baking in my childhood, I wrapped the hot dogs in the drained and blotted bacon, set the oven at 375 and timed them for 10 minutes. They were perfect.
Another Idea to Ponder
While making these little memory foods, I was thinking about parties that may be for adults, but with children present, or even for a party for children. Children usually like hot dogs, cheese and bacon. Cooked this way with the bacon partly done, leaves everything done properly at the outcome, so these may also appeal to children as a finger food. Many times children are picky and do not care for some foods, but these might just work. Making these as an appetizer, I cooked the bacon partially, as before, cut the slit down the length of the hot dog and filled with cheese, and then cut the filled hot dog into 3 equal pieces, about the width of the bacon. Wrapping one piece of bacon around each hot dog piece, and skewering with a toothpick, I baked them for the same amount of time and these were also just perfect. These will please an adult, but are a possible crossover food for children.
Other Childhood Foods
When we were young, Mom had us make our sandwiches for school, sometimes in advance, and we would freeze them. Grab a frozen sandwich and pop into the lunch box and it was thawed just right by lunch time. One of the combinations we made was peanut butter and ham. This was one that Mom translated over to an appetizer for adults, by taking slices of ham and cutting the slice in half or thirds, depending on size. She put a bit of peanut butter at one end and rolled the ham around the peanut butter. The little rolls were about 3 inches wide, easy to pick up. Since we were already familiar with this combination, this was another party food we would eat.
A childhood meal that has wonderful memories was Creamed Dried Beef and Potatoes. This was often a dinner for us and we loved it. Mom made a simple roux of butter and flour, adding milk to thicken into a white sauce. She cut the dried beef thinly and added it to cook a bit, giving the beef time to flavor the sauce, and then adding in cubed cooked potatoes. Our love of dried beef translated into another delicious finger food. Similarly to the ham rolls with peanut butter, these were dried beef rolls with cream cheese.
All these things and so many more are treasured memories from childhood. Look back into your past and see what interesting new creations can come of an old standby.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope it was informative and helped you along your own culinary journey.
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