Some things really are as bad as you remember them

What do you think of when you think of Austria?


For someone who’s never been there, the word still brings a surprising number of things to my mind, the first being The Sound of Music.

A Royal Lipizzaner Stallion from Austria sashays across an arena somewhere.
A Royal Lipizzaner Stallion from Austria sashays across an arena somewhere.

After that, my thoughts about Austria turn darker by degrees. There are the Royal Lipizzaner Stallions, known to thrill audiences the world over with their un-horselike cavorting.

Conan hails from Austria.
Conan hails from Austria.

Then there’s Conan the Barbarian, who was born in Austria and fought in the Gnome Wars there before moving on to wealth and fame in California.

Austria’s capital is Vienna, which sends my thoughts plummeting from The Sound of Music (which I actually enjoyed) to the opposite end of the spectrum. Because when I think of Vienna, I think of American-style Vienna sausages, which are definitely NOT among a few of my favorite things.

Dear god, where do these things really come from?
Dear god, where do these things really come from?

If she wasn’t already dead, it would kill my poor Nana to know how I hate Vienna sausages. She used to buy them for me by the case when I was in college because she thought they were just the sort of easy, cheap meal that a college man should like. I never had the heart to tell her I think they taste like ass.

I feel the need to insert a short lesson on linguistics here, because being the good Texan that she was, my Nana never said Vienna like you say Vienna. No, she pronounced Vienna like this: Vie-eée-nie, and where the nasty little weenies were concerned, she left out the word “sausages” altogether. In her parlance, one would simply “eat a can of Vieenies.”

My Nana was right about one thing, however: Eating Vieenies really is a cheap meal. Even with all the money I’m making off this blog, the truth is that it’s not always easy to make ends meet around here, and that might be true for a lot of my readers and fellow bloggers, too.

It’s getting so expensive to even go to the grocery store, and that’s why I’m starting a new series here at Roamin’ Gnomials about budget meals, and making cheap, bad food more palatable. Of course that’s a pretty tall order when you’re talking about Vieenies.

Into the kitchen

First up was a Vieenie sandwich. My mother used to put them in my school lunch box on occasion, probably at the end of the month when she couldn’t afford real lunch meat. I hated those sandwiches then, but I hated the one I made today even more.

Popping the lid is like opening the gates of Hell. Whoever said 7 is a lucky number never met a can of Vye-eée-nies.
Popping the lid is like opening the gates of Hell. Whoever said 7 is a lucky number never met a can of Vieenies.

After opening the can, I poured off the weenie juice, suppressing a gag as it gurgled down the kitchen drain. Seven flaccid Vieenies were staring back at me when I held my breath and peered into the can. How to get them out? Don’t stick a knife into the can or you risk circumcising one or more of them. My method is to turn the can upside down and give it no more than two shakes. Use plenty of wrist action and they should plop right out.

Pouring off this honeyed weenie nectar is a must.
Pouring off this honeyed weenie nectar is a must.

Now think about what you’re constructing. For a Vieenie sandwich that you’re going to lift up to your mouth, you can’t have the little suckers rolling around in there. So mimicking my mother’s technique, I sliced each one lengthwise, which yielded flat surfaces that I hoped would resist unwanted motion.

After a couple of shakes, I'm left eyeing the prize.
After a couple of shakes, I’m left eyeing the prize.

Next I slathered two pieces of whole wheat bread with Miracle Whip salad dressing, because that’s what my mother always used. No mayonnaise for us, we were a Miracle Whip family all the way. Now to be completely authentic, I should have been using white bread, but my wife won’t allow it in the house. She always says, “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead,” which might be true, but when you’re talking about a Vieenie sandwich, dying sooner would be a blessing.

I took several quick bites to try and get it over with quickly. I almost lost it when I saw that glistening pink Vye-eée-nie on the right as it begins to slip its restraints.
I took several quick bites to try and get it over with quickly, but lost the will to live when I saw one glistening pink Vieenie start to slip its restraints.
Flattening the sides of the Vye-eée-nies doesn't always keep them in check, especially after they're greased with Miracle Whip.
Flattening the sides of the Vieenies doesn’t always keep them in check, especially after they’re greased with Miracle Whip.

Honest to god, I almost hurled when those Vieenie raped my mouth. The flavor, the texture, it was all too much, and it put paid to my plans to write about other ways to eat this crap. I can’t do it.  I can’t face the horror of hot Vieenies, even if I doctor them up with a crunchy coating of garlic salt or barbecue sauce like I used to do.

I did, however, make this short video about the most horrible thing that can happen to a can of Vieenies. Under no circumstances should you EVER allow them to get ice cold. Never take them on a winter camping trip. Never put them into the refrigerator. If you allow too much cooling to occur, the grisly nectar inside the can will turn into a disgusting splooge that is nearly impossible to remove from the weenies. And I’m pretty sure that not even Conan the Barbarian would eat them then.

I almost wept when I saw the congealed splooge dripping from a chilled can.


Add yours →

  1. You did it wrong. Vienna weenies should only be served with mustard on SALTINES. Totally different taste experience. Once which I haven’t tried again since graduating college in ’77.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One, not once.


  3. A couple of thoughts: First, I’m truly impressed at how adept you’ve become at this blogging thing. Not only including photos, but original photos at that — and now, video. [Sound of one person, clapping.] Second, I always equate Vienna sausages with fishing trips, as my Mom would pack some along just in case we didn’t catch anything worth eating. And being a big fan of camping, I came to enjoy the little weenies as well — but with mustard, as mentioned above by missmsry. In all candor, I also have a fondness for Underwood’s Deviled Ham, which was another of my Mom’s camp foodbox essentials. Spread on toast smeared with mayo, and topped with a slice of Swiss cheese, it was — and would be still, if I ever remembered to buy some — practically gourmet vittles. And third, my appreciation for introducing me to a word I’d never before encountered in all my 65-plus years: “splooge.”


    • Thanks Bill. Yes, Underwood’s Deviled Ham got a mention in my Highway of Time post awhile back. It IS tasty, and I saw it today when I was buying the Vieenies. Should have picked up a can then, and maybe I’ll do so soon when I address other cheap meals mostly from a bygone era.


  4. You’re getting good at this. I certainly ate my share of vieenies in my youth. Such not-fond memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I actually thought they were a treat when my mom packed in a lunch for us. It sure beat pickled loaf. I hated it worse than spiced luncheon meat. No telling what was in all those processed meats.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Linda your cousin Klaus September 26, 2014 — 11:16 pm

    Check out potted meat if you want to go a step beyond Vienna sausages


  7. Hilarious! Out of morbid curiosity my mother bought them once. And that was one time too many! Thank goodness we didn’t experience the splooge. That would leave anyone scarred for life! 🙂
    I think your next entry should be about Spam 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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