Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chili dogs and nostalgia

Tonight, I enjoyed my third night in a row of eating chili dogs for dinner. It would have been four, but I skipped one day. I can't let the buns go bad, you know. Of course, the package of buns had eight, while the package of hot dogs had seven (weird: seven?), so we'll need to buy another package of dogs to use up the last bun... and then more buns for the extra dogs... And then more dogs... As xkcd has put such things, it's a "delicious cycle".

Here's a picture of the bad boy...

Mmm. Sorry it's a little blurry and I need better lighting. Also maybe a surface that's not the same color as everything else in the photo would be good, but you get the idea. I don't put on a little bit of chili to fit nicely on top; if there's no mess, it's no good. The dog is a Hebrew National beef frank, the best kind in the supermarket (they have to be better because, as they say, "We answer to a higher authority"). My boyfriend aka the Housemate was very pleased when he found out that they were both of our favorites ("I like your taste in wieners"...we're terrible, I know). Anyway, it's a really quick meal, since I use canned chili. I stick the bun in the toaster oven, put the chili and then the hot dog in the microwave, and it's all ready at about the same time. Bang--dinner. Supplemented with veggies, of course.

It had been a long time since I'd had a chili dog. The Housemate and I have a few favorite "quick meals" that we whip up when we're too lazy to cook (really, when he's too lazy to cook, since I always am), but chili dogs are only a recent addition to our menu. An addition I'm very happy to have.

Why do I love chili dogs so much? High sodium and fat content--they've certainly got that going for them. But I think there's just something so guiltily decadent about putting meat on more meat. Like the much-touted Double Down. Ground beef (with beans and gravy) on top of an even more questionable meat processed in a way I'm pretty sure I don't want to know. Delicious. As long as you're a meat eater.

But I believe there is one more important factor in my love for chili dogs. Sonic the Hedgehog. When I was six years old, my older brother got a Sega Genesis, but of course everyone in my family played it (except actually my dad). We owned Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the console; I don't think I was particularly good at either, but I believe we beat both at least once. The second one had Tails, who was cute and I liked very much, but I really liked playing the original because we knew the level select cheat for it (where did one learn cheats like that before the internet?). We also had Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, which doesn't actually have Sonic in it but does have his villain. And though we didn't own them, I have played Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic and Knuckles as well.

There were also two different TV cartoons about Sonic the Hedgehog that I recall watching around that time. I remember what a few of the supporting characters looked like, though I can't recall a single plot from any one of the shows. What I do remember very distinctly is that Sonic loves chili dogs. That was his thing, like how the Ninja Turtles love pizza. So the first time I was introduced to a chili dog at a young age, I remembered that this was the food that Sonic loves. That made it automatically cooler, and perhaps yummier than it already was.

Unfortunately, Sega's successors to the Genesis all failed miserably against tough competition. As his consoles crashed, Sonic faded in popularity while Mario dominated. I would be lying if I said that didn't make me a little sad; I guess it's kind of like playing the Genesis over the Super Nintendo was like picking sides, and my side lost. I came across this video recently that made me laugh pretty hard...and pout a little bit.

Come on, he should have at least remembered his name! *Sigh.* I still like Sonic (in spite of the fact that he doesn't look anything like a hedgehog). And I still love chili dogs. My love of chili dogs may have outlasted Sonic the Hedgehog's popularity, but I still always think of him whenever I'm digging into a good chili dog. So, Sonic the Hedgehog, tonight I raise my chili dog in tribute to you.


RAY J said...

You know Sega and Nintendo had some deal though right? You can get the Sonic games on the Nintendo Consoles (they made games for Gamecube, including an anniversary collection with all the original games - i think this one is on PS2 also) and there's new games for the Wii too! I can't wait to get one!

I got a Sega Genesis in 4th or 5th grade and Sonic 2 came with it - LOVED that game! I never beat it but I did get to the last level - that one was SUCH a pain and soooo confusing! I came close a few times though!

I remember I'd get the cheats from either friends or read about them in gaming magazines, lol... I think Disney put the cheat I got for the Lion King Sega game in their Disney Adventures magazine too, lol...

Ambiguous Geek said...

Now that they've brought out a Sonic Sega superstars racing game for PS3, I am crossing my fingers that they will release the original sonic games for the console. If they did it with Wii, can't they do it with PlayStation?

Sonic was one of my absolute favourite video games to play on the sega growing up.

I have not, however, ever had a chili dog. It's something I desperately want to try.

Anonymous said...

Um....I think it looks a bit ming...the chilli dog thing I mean

Eleni said...

RAY J - That's cool, though he's still playing second fiddle (or third) to Mario. Sonic 2 was great--I loved running around with Tails to help me out. I'm trying to remember whether or not we beat it, and by "we" I mean my little brother, maybe with my help :) Gaming magazines! Ah, those were the days.

AG - That's cool, a Sonic revival on all of Sega's one-time competitor's consoles. Yum, chili dogs. They're pretty easy to put together. Frequently garnished with shredded cheese and onions.

MYF - :( I don't know what "ming" means, but ouch. I know it's a terrible picture... the ones with flash looked even weirder, I don't know what the deal was with the lighting in the room. Here's a better picture of someone else's

Soph! said...

I eat Hebrew National Beef franks too! They're my favorite! Well, any beef or tofu dog is!

I loooved Sonic too. My favorite was the Sonic and Knuckles game!

Megan said...

Shout Factory puts out The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Underground on DVD, so I was forced to QC some of it. It's like a cross between Bugs Bunny and Road Runner cartoons - with chili dogs.

Eleni said...

Soph - Yup, they're the best! I tried a tofu dog once, but was unimpressed. I clearly needed some tofu chili to go with it.

Megan - Haha, that seems to be a pretty accurate description!

I should note, going off some earlier comments, that I am aware that BioWare did Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood for Nintendo DS at some point. I don't know how the game is, but it is BioWare, so it has that going for it.

Holly said...

I make vegetarian chili dogs all the time, and they totally remind me of sonic. I had a sonic stuffed animal that I carried around and loved as a child. Good times....hahaha

Eleni said...

Vegetarian chili dogs must be considerably healthier. Maybe I'll give it a try.

Ooh, a Sonic stuffed animal. Good times, indeed.