There are some food pictures on my computer which I refer back to frequently. I open them, drool over them for a few minutes, seriously contemplate setting them as my desktop background, my cover photo, my Linkedin profile picture, finally decide against this and hesitantly close them. Yeah, sure, some of them are of luxury ingredients I lucked into trying – painfully fresh lumps of uni, smooth chunks of grilled foie, paper-thin shavings of black truffle, tender hunks of Kobe. But sometimes low profile dishes do the trick too, since they embody an experience, a feeling, a social situation, a season…
One of these is the humble corn dog, a festival food favorite, a hot dog poked onto a stick, dipped into a cornmeal batter and deep fried in oil. I recently had one at the OD Pavilion Arcade on Ocean Boulevard in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on a recent beach-centric Memorial Day Weekend trip. My host and good friend suggested, after a few hours of basking in the sun, to visit the arcade and win her family some gargantuan pink teddybears. The latter did not happen since we only managed to gather enough points for a single pack of sour cherry Fun Dip… But we did assuage our hunger, the type of hunger which seems to only happen as a by-product of melanin production. I’m speaking of the appetite that feels so wonderful to satisfy, not the one from boredom and sitting in an office chair all day, which I have become unfortunately used to. That active, sexy, real hunger is what I’m talking about. No counting calories, no consideration whatsoever for the ingredients one is putting in one’s body.
A corn dog with mustard hit the spot perfectly on this day. The tangy mustard cut the fat in the fried coating. The coating provided a crisp bite on the exterior, followed by a mushy, slightly grainy cornmeal texture all the way through to the meat on the inside, which was plump and juicy. The combination of the natural sweetness of the cornmeal with the salty dog on the inside was wonderful. What goes best with fried food under the hot (almost) summer sun? Beer. Not just any beer. Cheap beer. The more watery and neutral tasting the better. One that gives you a buzz while also hydrating your raisin-like shriveled beach body. Enter Bud Light. I normally hate it with a passion shared by any and all with a non death-mute palate who has ever attended college in the U.S. Normally, it’s for those who can handle drinking gallons of something cheap just to gradually fade into a drunken stupor, leaving the consumer slow and slurring. I’m not a fan. But on a beach with a corn dog a Bud Light works perfectly and I would choose it over a wheaty Hefeweisen or complex IPA any day.
The memories conjured by these photos are of a spectacularly cloudless day on the beach, a happy mind liberated of any and all worries that might burden it throughout the week. Phone ignored accept when Instagramming beach scenes to inspire envy within my social network, enjoying the company of a good friend and reminiscing of the past. Somehow the mustard seemed more vibrantly yellow, the coating more crispy, the dog inside more meaty under the gentle caress of May sun. An experience to enjoy fully while it lasts and store in memory to pull out on cold winter nights.