I love a good manifesto.
It warms the cockles of my heart when someone stands up and puts it out there: who they are, who they are not, what they believe. Things they might, in fact, die for if shit went south and got overly dramatic or fraught.
Take corn dogs, for instance.
I have an old friend who is almost like a brother who now mostly exists for me on Facebook. He was a great friend in person and is now a great friend online.
But he has gone his entire life not having ever tasted the ambrosia that is a corn dog.
How is this possible? In this day and age, with an abundance of corn dogs to be had, how can he have not eaten the greasy golden goodness of tube meat encased in sweetcrunchycreamy corn bread?
And back the fuck away with ketchup. Mustard only. #ThisIsNotAmateurHour
When I expressed my disbelief in this corn dog-sized hole in his heart (that was hitherto undiscovered) and my own love of corn dogs, he said, and I quote:
“I would’ve pegged you as anti-corn dog.”
A dagger. Like a dagger to the heart.
How can ANYONE be anti-corn dog? Is that even possible? I question the validity of the term itself.
And where on earth would he have gotten the anti-corn dog vibe?
This is not the first time I have run up against this sentiment. In my yoga teacher training, I routinely get asked for healthy recipes, and people there say they need to look at my blog when they are trying to eat something that is good for them.
Let’s go to the record: my last two recipes have been for cake and Nanaimo bars, a tooth-achingly sweet yet delicious concoction that serves very few and still manages to use an entire stick of butter in one of its three layers.
I make a coffee cake that uses two cups of sugar and an entire bar of cream cheese.
The book that I just wrote features more dessert recipes than any other kind in any other section. By a lot.
Yes, the things I create are gluten free. But health food? They are not.
So it seems fitting to set the record straight.
This is not a manifesto.
I believe in eating well.
I believe in fresh food, cooked with love.
I believe in butter, lots of it, and heavy cream. I also believe in full-fat cream cheese and whole milk.
I love sugar. I don’t believe in sugar substitutes. If you substitute agave for sugar, do it because agave has its own delicious taste, but don’t try to fool yourself into thinking it is magically better for you than regular sugar. #DittoHoney
I think everyone should be able to eat something delicious when they come to my house, regardless of their dietary restrictions. Sometimes this means limiting fat, salt, and sugar. These are instances in which I will do whatever I need to do to make a person feel welcome.
If something makes you feel bad, don’t eat it, and ignore the haters. #IAmLookingAtYouGlutenShamers
I am not above a box of macaroni and cheese. Nor am I below it. Mostly it is somewhere in the middle, right behind my navel.
I have eaten an entire bag of chips for dinner.
I don’t believe in diets. I don’t believe in dieting. I don’t believe in “cheat days.”
I believe in moderation in all things, including moderation (thanks, Oscar Wilde).
I believe that cooking and feeding people is an art that everyone should have access to. So stow your elitist bullshit (like the $20 fried pig’s tail – are YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME – currently on offer at a local nose-to-tail hipster place that I won’t name but should).
And I believe that when you go to the fair or a carnival, GET A FUCKING CORN DOG.
So. Mike. For you, here is a corn dog.
Mike Kendall’s First Corn Dog
Note: Because I believe good food should be affordable, I won’t always use organic things. GMOs are up for debate, and I will not enter the fray here. HOWEVER. Because hot dogs are generally made of, as my friend Luke says, lips and assholes, spend your money on good ones. Either go to a butcher you trust, or at least go kosher. I like Hebrew National (#SupportTheJews #MyFatherWouldBeProud) and Applegate’s uncured, no nitrates organic stadium dogs for both taste and texture. You can also use veggie dogs if you must; I used ToFurky’s vegan version of hot dog in testing.
One package of hot dogs
1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (gluten-filled flour works here, too), plus a little more to coat the dogs
1 cup cornmeal
6 T sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (OR, easy cheater way: Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 1/4 cups of milk and let sit for ten minutes. Proceed as directed. #BOOM)
Vegetable oil for frying (a nice big bottle. #Yum)
I use an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven for frying. If you have a fryer, that works, too. Heat oil to 350 degrees. I aim for about three inches of oil in the pot; you may not need as much. You do, however, need to heat it to 350. #Trust
Mix dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
Mix wet ingredients in a small bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until there are no lumps (I like a whisk for this purpose. Don’t be gentle; it’s not a baby bunny.).
There are two ways to go about frying up some homemade fair food.
Cut hot dogs into 2-inch pieces and coat in flour. Dip into batter, then remove with a fork and drop into hot oil. Fry until golden brown, moving them around as needed to ensure crispy goodness all over. Use tongs or a spider to remove to paper towels to drain.
Less easy way (requires more attention and the purchase of sturdy skewers):
Pour batter into a tall drinking glass.
Skewer your hot dogs through the end almost all the way to the top. Roll hot dogs in flour to coat, then dip that dog into the batter.
Place in heated oil and fry that baby up until the outside is golden brown and delicious, about three minutes. Make sure to flip around in the oil so that all sides are brown.
Pro tip: As you lower the dogs into the oil, go slowly and swirl the top of the dog in the hot oil. This seals the batter so that it doesn’t fly off in all directions and looks more like fair corn dogs.
Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain. Serve with mustard, or, begrudgingly, with ketchup.
I won’t lie: sriracha mayo is also delicious here, as is honey mustard.
- Leftover batter can be fried on its own and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Go for broke and top with a can of cherry pie filling or chocolate pudding and it’s like the fair has come to you.
- Leftover batter also keeps in the ‘fridge for a day.
- Add cayenne to your batter, a teaspoon or two, for a little spicy dog.