You may think from all the hype surrounding National Pig in a Blanket Day that we’re talking about the little bitty cocktail weenies wrapped in pastry dough and served as hors d’oeuvres.
Not so much.
To be sure, those count, too, but you can wrap those bad boys in bacon as a lure, and they’re still just barely big enough to see.
And, yes, April 24 is always National Pig in a Blanket Day.
First, a little history
Contrary to conventional wisdom, pigs-in-a-blanket, or pigs-in-blankets, as they’re called in the United Kingdom, were on the convenience food scene long before 1957.
In fact, pigs-in-a-blanket may be one of the first convenience foods.
Food history tells us that they were carried as lunch by fieldworkers in medieval Great Britain.
PIAB may also qualify as one of the culinary world’s first sandwiches – dating perhaps even to the dawn of the sandwich and not just to its much-disputed “début” in 1752.
Through miniaturization, modern cocktail weenies have down-sized pigs-in-a-blanket to canapés, but that’s not how they started out.
If you’ve ever had kolache (pronounced koh-LAT-chee, plural of kolach) – sausages and cheese baked into a Czech and Slovak version of PIAB, then you have some idea of how one can make a meal of them.
Some kolache are more like whole meals baked into bread balls, a very old version of the Hot Pocket®.
It’s true that some prefer their PIAB baked in potato bread – remember we’re talking portability.
Pigs-in-a-blanket represent a quantum leap in British cuisine as it ramps up the convenience factor of toad-in-the-hole, another British staple, by wrapping the sausage toad in bread dough instead of mashed potatoes and other loose vegetables.
Like their kindred spirits corn dogs, pigs-in-a-blanket are meant to be big and meaty and simple – Southern comfort food at one of its many heights.
Unless you’re into the mini version, leave the cocktail weenies and Vienna sausages at the store, and look for full-size, all beef hot dogs, Italian sausages, brats and like that.
While only a real trooper will want to roll out croissant dough from scratch just to make a batch of PIAB, you can very easily make your own biscuit dough.
Yes, PIAB is that easy to make, even when you make your own crust.
It’s even easier if you use pre-made, refrigerated dough like Pillsbury® Crescents® (what used to be called “poppin’ fresh,” if memory serves).
Some cooks sporting a streak of the wild-ass will even wrap their choice of meats in pancakes.
The best part is that you don’t have to cook the meat first.
Lay out your dough, roll your hot dogs or sausages up in it, then bake your pigs-in-a-blanket in the oven according to the directions on the package or in your bread recipe.
About half an hour later, bingo! PIAB piping hot and ready to eat.
Into protein and fat? (PIAB is not a low-fat food.)
Go hog wild and wrap in the meats in bacon and ham and cheese, before they hit the dough.
P.S.: PIAB is great with ice-cold beer.
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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org