1988. 4th grade. My 10th year as a human girl. This was a seminal year for me. This was the year I first learned to swear, graduating from the clean “Shaks!” and its variants “Shackers!” and “Shakening potpot!” to the A-Grade filth of “P.I.” (P.I. mo, P.I. niya, P.I. niyong lahat!). When I first realized I couldn’t keep a secret, blurting out to my whole family that my best friend just had her first period. And when I first got a taste of hotdogs fried in ketchup.
Frying hotdogs in ketchup is entirely different from frying hotdogs then putting ketchup on them. Ketchup, in the latter case, is mere condiment, an option that may be done away with. In the former, ketchup is sauce, an integral part of the dish, a necessary and sufficient condition (to rip off Carl Rogers; for more of his ideas, check out “The Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Therapeutic Change”). While I can claim credit for this recipe, I have to give props to the mother of my Grade 4 classmate, Christine Joy Caraig, who prepared this dish for Christine Joy’s lunchbox. On hindsight, I don’t think I even got to taste Christine Joy’s hotdogs. I just know that I saw them and they looked different—and tasty!—swimming in oily ketchup. I couldn’t wait to make my own. So I did and I’ve been eating HFIK since then, especially when I’m in the mood to jazz up regular hotdogs.
Behold, my recipe for HFIK:
3-4 hotdogs, chopped into bite-sized pieces
3 tbsp* tomato ketchup (you can use spicy or sweet, depending on your taste)
1 tbsp soy sauce (you can also use Worcestershire sauce or Knorr seasoning, just adjust sugar)
1 tsp brown sugar
1. Fry hotdogs according to preference (some like it raw-looking, others like it almost burned). Set aside.
2. Combine ketchup, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Mix and season with pepper. (You may also add your favorite spices like basil or crushed red pepper flakes).
3. Pour the ketchup mixture into the same pan (but with most of the oil removed) and cook over low heat until the sauce bubbles.
4. Return hotdogs to pan. Cook for a few minutes, allowing the ketchup to smother the hotdogs.
5. Serve with fried rice.
6. Turn TV on and enjoy.
*Amounts are arbitrary. Consider them guides, not set values.