How many of you really LOVE a good hotdog? Before I came to China, hotdogs were very low on my list of favorite foods. At a cookout, I would pick a hamburger over a hotdog 7 times out of 10, perhaps. But everything changes when we are separated from the loving embrace of our mother culture. When I was home a few months ago, and had opportunity to eat whatever western food I wanted, there was no single mouthful of food that so filled me with joy as a hotdog, on a bun, with ketchup, mustard, and relish.
So I decided China needed hotdogs. Maybe part of what makes hotdogs so enticing to me is the fact that there are hotdog imposters everywhere here. These things, called huotui (fire legs) look exactly like hotdogs should look but lack any of the flavor of their ballpark cousins. They are lengths of flavorless processed ham — even spam is better. But one sees them and is duped, thinking, “I could really go for a hotdog right now.”
So I set out to make some hotdogs. First, I looked at recipes online. They all looked simple enough. I needed sausage casings, meat, certain spices — “I can do this,” I thought to myself. So I poked around town, asked the cook at the school questions, and after a few weeks of dead ends, false starts, and re-thinkings, I eventually believed I had a workable plan. Continue reading “Sausages are like Laws”