In this weird season of blur, I’ve been lucky enough to travel a few times. I visited family in Hopkinton, MA, going by train to Providence, RI where I sampled a hot dog at Haven Brothers, a long-lived local institution.
During the weekend we walked a section of the Charles Rail Trail, a long, flat expanse with memorial benches every so often, the whole flooded with masked walkers and dogs.
At one point we went into a store selling mostly dog treats with a few intended for us four-legged types. The trail is interesting with historical markers so you know when you’re walking through Mudville, immortalized in Casey at the Bat. The poem was written in 1888 by Ernest Thayer and first published in The San Francisco Examiner. This link takes you to the poem: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45398/casey-at-the-bat
The following weekend I visited friends at their house in NW CT. One night we went to a concert called Wanda Loves William, featuring singer Wanda Houseton with the HBH Band, the event organized on behalf of Shakespeare in the Litchfield Hills. The four-piece band was fabulous as was Wanda who is full of sexy innuendo and personality. After an overcast day the weather turned beautiful and sunny as we sat in our carefully defined pods where we were allowed to remove our masks. In the beautiful evening, Wanda sang (among other standards) Oh What a Beautiful Morning to an enthusiastic audience. Check out Wanda and the band and, should you wish, buy a CD. http://www.wandaworld.biz/whb.html
Both weekends were a treat as I was around friends and family for chatting, meals and simple hanging out, casual pleasures I used to take for granted.
This recipe is baseball-oriented—sort of. I’ve never eaten a hot dog gussied up with additional meat sauce but then again I’ve never done a lot of things that this pandemic season has inspired.
Sauce for Coney Island Hot Dogs
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup beef stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Prepare grill for medium-high heat. In a Dutch oven (or other heavy pot), cook beef 8-10 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles. Stir in remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Move pot to indirect heat. Cook, uncovered, 20-25 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Make the hot dogs any way you like, insert into buns and top with this sauce. Yes, a lot of lily-gilding but so what? In a real ball park you could drink beer but in this season of Zoom and home schooling, something a lot stronger might be indicated. You can still sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame.