At The Manly Housekeeper, we like to revel in our successes and learn from our failures. That’s the principle that guides this occasional series. I’ll examine a cooking failure of mine and see if I can make improvements to the dish.
I wanted to kick things off with a food failure of mine that happened about 20 years ago, yet is still clear in my mind.
When I was growing up, I would have a snack after getting home from school. Usually this was cereal or some crackers, but some days I got a little more adventurous. On this particular afternoon, I decided to make a sandwich. Ingredients: vienna sausages and green olives on oat nut bread. Don’t ask me how I decided on these three ingredients, but the combination was awful. I can safely say that sandwich is the worst thing I’ve ever made.
What are vienna sausages, you ask? Consider yourself lucky that you haven’t tried them. Let’s just say that Spam is gourmet by comparison. Vienna sausages come canned, seven miniature hot dogs to a container. The texture of a vienna sausage is the most offensive part – it is almost like a paste, and the skin of the sausage doesn’t have any crunch, because the casing has been removed. The flavor is terrible too, of course. It’s salty, with a strong bitter and tinny finish.
Why did my family have this food item in our kitchen, you ask? According to my dad, his family used to eat vienna sausages while on camping trips. He has fond memories of the pungent sausages from his childhood, but he freely admits now that vienna sausages are disgusting. Which still doesn’t explain why they were in our kitchen cabinet …
To revisit this food failure, I remade the original sandwich, then tried one bite. Was it still as disgusting as I remembered? Just watch the video.
I had high hopes for the revised dish. I knew the bread was good, and I was impressed with the tapenade. It all came down to the sausages, and the sausages were still terrible. There was no way a few minutes in a marinade was going to overcome that powerfully strong background flavor.
At the end, I did with my sandwich what I should have done 20 years ago – thrown it out. All told, I took one bite of the original sandwich and one bite of the upgraded sandwich. That was enough vienna sausage to last me for at least another 20 years.