Life, however, is filled with surprises. Among those surprises were the varying levels of excitement generated by different foods. I remember painstakingly making deviled quail eggs garnished with Oscetra caviar. We made souffles of every kind. We ate cheeses and meats I had never heard of. We had an entire baking and pastry school making desserts for us to eat at every meal (yeah, I packed on a few pounds). But what I didn’t see coming was the level of excitement on 2 days in particular: pizza day and hot dog day. Pizza day came and you could load up your personal crust with anything the world’s premiere culinary school had to offer. Anchovies? Check. The aforementioned caviar? Check. Merguez sausage (a North African Lamb delicacy)? No problem. We had a field day loading up our pies with anything and everything. It was good eatin’.
The other day that generated an amazing amount of excitement was hot dog day. It was a multiday process emulsifying the meat, casing the sausages, and smoking the franks. While all of this was going on we were also making foie gras terrines and seafood pates of incredible flavor and sophistication. But the day we pulled those finished hot dogs out of the smoking cabinet we all shivered with joy at the prospect of finding out what an actual hot dog tasted like. Much like so many food items taken for granted by a mass produced society, the mystique of the world of flavor we had been missing out on all this time overwhelmed everyone in that basement garde manger kitchen. Snagging some fresh buns from our baking and pastry friends, we grabbed our dogs and shuffled out in the hallway not even delaying long enough to find somewhere to sit. There, huddled in the hall, surrounded by my cliché kitchen tattoo adorned brethren we relished the simple joy of food that anyone today would describe as pedestrian.