Normally I don't eat hot dogs. I've had too many
cheap, icky dogs, and heard too many stories about what
goes in them. However, I couldn't resist making the
octopi I see in bento boxes in manga. So, I got some
lowfat kosher beef franks - Hebrew National - and, wow,
they taste good! If I'd had those before I would never
have gone off hot dogs in the first place.
To make a hot dog octopus, cut a frank in half. Then
cut one half up the long way, stopping an inch from
the top. Bisect it again so you have four legs. Bisect
each leg so you have eight. Boil them as you normally
would and the legs will curl up. If you microwave them,
pose them on a plate with their legs sprawled around
them, holding them upright, so they'll curl right.
Pat dry and make a little
face with drops of mustard, ketchup, or whatever if
If you want to make little Halloweenie treats, make
the octopi using whole hot dogs, and serve them so the
legs sprawl around in all directions. Be careful when
boiling more than one at a time, though; the legs can
To make a hot dog spider, cut the hot dog
in half, then slice one half of the dog into legs. Depending
on the size of the compartment the spider will be in,
cut it into four or eight legs. If you cut four legs,
cut them in half to make eight short legs. Cut almost
through the hot dog where you want the knees to be so
you can bend the leg joint. Microwave all the pieces,
then arrange them on the rice, putting the legs down
first, and setting the body - the uncut half of the
dog - on top. You can put eight sesame seeds on the
head end for eyes. You can also, using kizami nori (nori
cut into strips about as thin as cassette tape), make
a web on the rice before assembling the spider.
about hot dog daisies? Cut a hot dog into fourths.
Then cut the segments as you would for hot dog octopi,
except make only six "legs," and stop a half
inch or less from the top. Then boil them as you normally
would, or pose them on a plate with their legs - er,
petals - outward and microwave them. Pack these petal-side-up
on top of rice, steamed broccoli, or some other vegetation.
You can put a pea or a carrot coin in the center to
make them look especially floral.
you're feeling adventurous, try making a free-form mutant
hot dog. When you cook them, the meat expands while
the skin does not, causing the outward curl you see
in the legs of a hot dog octopus. So, try making all
sorts of random shallow-angled cuts in a hot dog and
see what happens! You can get some weird, elaborate,
even pretty designs that way. It's best to do most of
the cutting on two sides, so the bits will curl in those
directions, making it easy to pack flat.