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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.