For all the clever, original crafts on Pinterest, there’s also a dark side. Every month, Anna and Gabriella will be recreating the most deranged recipes they find, for your enjoyment.
We don’t know which one of us found it first. But for months, we’d been exchanging photos of it on Gchat: a single hot dog, sliced to resemble an octopus, on a bed of ramen that was dyed green like seaweed. We found several variations: blue ramen and goldfish crackers for more of a deep-sea-inspired ambience, a macaroni-and-cheese bed, a version adorned with plastic googly eyes. There was a loosely related offshoot in which two hot dogs paddle a hot-dog-bun boat using pretzel sticks through a sea of blueberries, hot dogs stuffed into the front of an anonymous woman’s pantyhose, and even a nativity scene crafted from a hot dog baby Jesus nestled into a bed of french fries.
Perhaps it sounds strange that we spend so much time staring at photos of mutilated foodstuffs. But we met while working in food media. Anna legitimately loves crafting and elaborate DIY projects, and Gabriella loves fucked-up stuff. Our friendship exists at the intersection of these things.
One thing that we’ve learned is that hot dog crafts are in the zeitgeist. They’ve been anthropomorphized, turned into sea creatures, ravaged in a thousand ways to become cuter, funnier, and grosser than they are in their “natural” state. We obviously needed to make one ourselves.
We went with the classic octopus delicately resting on a bed of green ramen seaweed, staring at us with a placid smile on its shiny, meaty little face. So many hundreds of bloggers have made this and posted it to Pinterest that it’s near impossible to trace the recipe to its origins. How did it come to be so popular, we wondered?
On one hand, it was so darn cute. On the other, it was terrifying. Why not make seaweed out of vegetables, which are green in the first place? Why not make seaweed out of seaweed? Why not just eat a hot dog?
Doing our best to put these apprehensions aside, we gave the recipe an honest try. If you’d like to too, here’s how:
What you’ll need:
1 package hot dogs
1 package mini hot dogs
Lots of instant ramen
Green food coloring
To get started, boil a big pot of water. Add six ramen briquettes with or without their flavor packets and enough green food coloring to make you feel slightly queasy. If, like us, your main objective here is shock value, go for about ten drops.
After the ramen has cooked for three minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove it from the water and place in a large bowl, a serving platter, your bathtub, a friend’s head, or whatever else you have on hand.
Using a sharp knife, make a slit in the hot dog, about 3/4ths of the hot dog’s length. Cut each of these hot dog legs into four strips so that the hot dog has a total of eight dangling legs because we are making an octopus here. Repeat as needed.
Drop hot dogs into a large pot of boiling water. Breathe in deeply. Cook them for about six minutes, at which point you will notice that the legs have curled outward and the smell of boiled hot dogs has permeated your entire home.
After your hot dogs cook, make yourself a cocktail to enjoy while crafting. Rim a wine glass with mustard, then combine 1/2 cup of hot dog water with one ounce of vodka and a few drops of green food coloring.
Using a toothpick dipped in yellow mustard, draw two eyes and a smiley face on each octopus. Arrange octopi atop green ramen.
One of our friends happens to have hair that is luscious and thick, not unlike ramen, and we wondered, over the course of creating this dish, whether it would be possible to style her hair like a bowl of ramen. Would the octopus hot dog find a happy home there, too? The only way to tell was by nestling one of these octodogs in there, with a light sprinkling of green ramen.
What we learned: One of the greatest challenges in creating this recipe was not puking. The smell was particularly a trigger for Gabriella, who once vomited in her tote bag after smelling hot dogs boiling. Additionally, it was far too much time to spend making some of nature’s most reliably instant foods: ramen and hot dogs. We also longed for some alternatives to the mustard eyes—alternatives that would go well with ramen and not rub off so easily. Maybe next time (will there be a next time?) we will try sesame seeds like some of our wise Pinterest predecessors. It might also be worthwile, in the future, to place one of the hot dog octopi inside of a sealed jar, inside of a tank of water, and see if it becomes sentient and escapes.