Pregnancy took a toll on my taste buds, robbing me of my generally adventurous culinary cravings and replacing them with those of a toddler. My aversions were fierce. I wanted nothing to do with the new recipes gracing the pages of my many food mags, instead turning to childhood favorites: PB & J, mac & cheese, tuna noodle casserole, chicken fingers, and the forbidden hot dog!
My husband will never live down the hot dog incident. It was about six months in and bad enough that I had to forego the Chicago dog at the Braves game; thank goodness for Holeman & Finch’s burger outpost at the stadium… I understand that the franks at baseball games, stewing in hot dirty water for who knows how long, might be harboring bacteria, but surely the “House Crafted Dogs” at our current neighborhood joint were fresh and safe for consumption! Insert guilt trip, lecture about the risk not being worth the consequences, and a change of order. Dinner continued with just a hint of resentment until I noticed another future mommy, whom I knew, sitting nearby and guess what she was eating…
For most, this deviation from normal eating habits is just par for the pregnancy course. But for me it was quite an ordeal. As the owner of a boutique catering company, it interfered with my ability to do my job. Gone were my dreams of spending nine plump months holed up in my kitchen testing all the recipes my ever-growing bump desired. I was turned off by many of my own dishes! To this day I have not fully recovered, but have gained a new perspective, that of the more food-wary individuals who never fail to order steak and potatoes, and that of my child.
In this new phase of life, where I aim to please both adults and children alike without slaving over two totally separate meals, I am learning to perfect simple recipes that can be dressed up for grown-up tastes. If you, too, are looking for something to please a crowd this holiday weekend or have just been deprived of the all-American staple for 9 months, I highly recommend trying your hot dogs spiral-cut and with new toppings at your next cookout. The spiraling of the dogs is a fun in-advance project for older kids and might even eliminate the choking hazard for younger ones. It yields a superior product that’s both crispy on the inside and the outside and is more easily coated with condiments, for my fellow sauce-lovers. I like to buy the all beef hot dogs from Spotted Trotter; they have locations in Kirkwood and Krog Street Market and should be safe for consumption during pregnancy once grilled. Sandwich the grilled franks in toasted top-sliced New England style buns, top with this simple apricot mostarda, sweet and spicy red pepper relish, or plain yellow mustard & ketchup for the little ones, and enjoy as smiles creep across the faces of your entire family!