Food products that are offenses against nature: Fast Franks

Date:July 19, 2007 / year-entry #263
Orig Link:
Comments:    55
Summary:My colleague (who posts under the pseudonym Cloudy Starlight) tipped me off to some wonderful products which made me just stare at the screen agape, unable to express my, um, awe. I'll focus on one of the products today; the others will have to wait for another day. First, let's suppose you've got a hankerin'...

My colleague (who posts under the pseudonym Cloudy Starlight) tipped me off to some wonderful products which made me just stare at the screen agape, unable to express my, um, awe. I'll focus on one of the products today; the others will have to wait for another day.

First, let's suppose you've got a hankerin' for a hot dog. Your adventure might go like this:

"Gotta have a hot dog, gotta have a hot dog. Where's that hot dog? In the fridge. Right, in the fridge. Open the fridge, find the hot dog. Find the hot dog. Got it. Need a bun. Where's the bun? Where's the bun! My kingdom for a bun! Oh, there's the bun, «pant pant» ah, my bun, my precious. Okay, get a plate, need a plate. No, that one's too big. No, that's not microwave-safe. Okay, got a small microwave-safe plate. Put bun with hot dog on plate. Put plate in microwave oven. Punch in thirty seconds. Thirty seconds. Go. Oh wait, close door. Okay, go. Twenty-nine. Twenty-eight. Isn't there anything faster than a microwave?! Three. Two. One. DING! Yes! I have a hot dog! Put hot dog in bun. Ow, hot hot hot. Yes! Dog is in the bun! Let the hot dog-lisciousy goodness commence!"

If that's your experience with cooking a hot dog in a microwave, may I first recommend psychological treatment. You really need help.

Second, Oscar Mayer Fast Franks has been created just for you. Instead of that entire adventure with the bun and the plate, the good people at Kraft have already put the hot dog in a bun and even provided the plate! Thus you've saved an entire four seconds of hot dog preparation time. Added up over a year of a daily hot dog obsession, that comes out to nearly twenty-five minutes of your life wasted putting hot dogs in buns and putting them on plates. You could watch an entire episode of Futurama with time left over to replay the best jokes!

Let's take a look at their press release. I reprint it here in its entire awesomeness:

New Oscar Mayer Fast Franks Speed into Summer

MADISON, WI, May 31, 2006 —It's mouthwatering to imagine -- a tasty, hot and juicy Oscar Mayer hot dog wrapped inside a soft and warm bakery-fresh bun. And now imagine only having to wait thirty-five seconds for that first delicious bite.

The great taste and convenience of hot dogs in a bun come together with Oscar Mayer Fast Franks. Each individually wrapped Oscar Mayer Fast Frank tastes great thanks to a specially designed microwavable paper tray that heats the bun just right -- so it's soft and warm right out of the microwave. Preparation is easy, and there's no cook top mess or boiling water! The hot dog is simply unwrapped, placed in the bun on a specially designed microwaveable tray and heated for a quick 35 seconds, making a delicious all-in-one hot after-school snack for kids, a fun dinner item or part of a quick and yummy lunch for the whole family. Whether it's in the kitchen or on the go, Oscar Mayer Fast Franks are a summertime favorite that can now be enjoyed any day or time of the year.

Innovation in a Bun: An Oscar Mayer Tradition

For more than 120 years, Oscar Mayer continues to lead the industry in making hot dogs using only quality meat and no fillers. In a trusted brand families love, Oscar Mayer has created this innovative new product to satisfy America's love for hot dogs in a more convenient way. By leveraging proprietary dough technology, Oscar Mayer Fast Franks have made hot dogs easier to enjoy than ever before.

Oscar Mayer Fast Franks will be available in most grocery and convenience stores' refrigerated sections nationwide beginning this summer.

About Kraft Foods
Kraft Foods (NYSE:KFT) is the world's second-largest food and beverage company. For more than 100 years, we've been dedicated to helping people around the world eat and live better. Hundreds of millions of times a day, in more than 150 countries, consumers reach for their favorite Kraft brands including Kraft cheeses and dinners, Jacobs, Gevalia and Maxwell House coffees, Oscar Mayer meats, DiGiorno pizzas, Oreo cookies, Ritz and Wheat Thins crackers and chips, Philadelphia cream cheese, Milka and Côte d'Or chocolates, Honey Bunches of Oats cereals, Good Seasons salad dressings and Tang refreshment beverage. They've also started adding our Tassimo hot beverage system, South Beach Diet line and a growing range of better-for-you Sensible Solution products to their shopping baskets, continually expanding their list of Kraft favorites.

Julie Roberts, Mercury Recording artist, self titled album, 'A' (May 2004), was certified gold and led to two Horizon Award nominations (2004) from the Country Music Association. She was also nominated for Top New Artist Nominee (2005) and Top New Female Vocalist Nominee (2006) by the Academy of Country Music Awards, as well as Breakthrough Artist Nominee (2005) by the Country Music Television Awards. Roberts sophomore album Men & Mascara, produced by Byron Gallimore, is set to debut June 2006.

That's right, they use proprietary dough technology. This ain't your grandfather's hot dog bun, no siree. We had researchers toiling away day and night perfecting their dough technology to bring you this perfect specimen of a hot dog bun.

And what's with that whole Julie Roberts thing at the end? What does that have to do with hot dogs? And "A" isn't a self-titled album. Her name isn't "A"; it's Julie Roberts!

But that's okay, because it's a quick and yummy lunch for the whole family. Note that that's a family of three people, since only three hot dogs come in a package. We're talking mommy, daddy, and the kid who throws a tantrum unless he gets a microwave hot dog in thirty seconds.

Wait a second, what did it say at the top? Thirty-five seconds? Not thirty seconds? My four-seconds savings gone down the tubes! Noooo! Don't take away my Futurama!

Nitpicker's corner

  • The word ain't is inappropriate in formal writing.
  • Same goes for the word hankerin'.
  • The kid might be a girl.
  • This entry contains sentence fragments as well as run-on sentences.

Apparently there are people who apply the rules of formal scholarly writing under the mistaken impression that blogs are formal scholarly writing. These people should go hang out on LiveJournal until their heads explode.

Comments (55)
  1. Burger King says:

    There were a bunch of Burger King radio commercials to talk about their "stacker burgers". The tongue-in-cheek commercials referenced proprietary meat-on-meat technology, a space-age bun to contain all the meat, and the audactious claims that it doesn’t take 47 men to lift.

    I wonder who greenlighted "proprietary dough technology." Maybe it was supposed to be a joke?

  2. Mike says:

    It would be real innovation if the hot dog could heat itself – like Wolfgang Puck’s ill-fated self-heating coffee.  ( ,

    Then one would have a better chance of enjoying it on the go!

  3. Nathan says:

    I believe Oreo cookies has their (annual?) contest for singing the jingle. At least the local radio keeps pumping ads for it..

    I wonder if the proprietary part is selling the dog/bun combination. Given how darn near anything can be patented, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kraft Foods has a patent on this..

    I still like the sky-mall hot-dog bun and hot dog cooker toaster combo (search on "Pop-up Hotdog Cooker" if you haven’t seen it..).

  4. Adam says:

    Oh, and according to Wikipedia, the album is called "Julie Roberts", so they got the "self-titled" part right. They just got the name of the album wrong.

    Yes, any copy editor should have picked up on it.

  5. William Tell says:

    I don’t know how it is in the US, but in Euroland you do not attempt to heat a hotdog in a microwave.

    The bread goes limp and soggy, and the hotdog tears or even explodes.  Of course, this is freshly baked bread, without perservatives, and the dog is a "vinerly".

    I would purchase ‘Fast Franks’ if given the chance – saves me 10 minutes: heat bread in oven, bring water to boil, cool down with a dash of beer – heat hotdog in water for 3-4 minutes.

  6. Njit Pikovski says:

    In soviet russia, the hot dog heats the microwave

  7. richard says:

    If you are that desperate for a hotdog, why even bother waiting for it to warm up?

  8. Andrew Feldstein says:

    The real innovation is being able to buy the same number of hot dogs and buns at the same time!

  9. Orion Adrian says:

    It might be good if it didn’t make the hot dog bun soggy and chewy.

  10. James Schend says:

    The Futurama reference being to the Professor’s "Electric Frankfurter" and/or Fry’s self-microwaving Bavarian Cream Dog?

    Since this is a stupid pop-culture topic, and has no practical relevance whatsoever, needless-to-say, there’s a Wikipedia page!:

  11. Skizz says:

    "using only quality meat and no fillers"

    Hang on a moment. That link lists the ingredients as containing: MECHANICALLY SEPARATED TURKEY, MECHANICALLY SEPARATED CHICKEN, WATER and CORN SYRUP. Quality? No fillers? It’s also got a lot of salt (33% daily value) but hey, it’s less than 2%!


    OK, I admit it, I’m the one in the shop reading the labels.

  12. Andy says:

    "Apparently there are people who apply the rules of formal scholarly writing under the mistaken impression that blogs are formal scholarly writing. These people should go hang out on LiveJournal until their heads explode"

    Best nit pickers corner statement so far!

  13. Mike says:

    That "Gotta have a hot dog, gotta have a hot dog" (and the similar repetitions) made me think of the Doctor Dolittle movie (Eddie Murphy) and the psycothic dog "Throw the ball, throw the ball". :-)

    I wonder if that was what Raymond had in mind while writing it.

    On a more serious note, this post displays a sad state of (parts of) humanity, as that text probably makes some people actually buy it. :-(

    To connect to the blog’s usual content, it also reminds me of Windows. How? Each new version is "More secure than ever!" and "Now with new flashy… thingies".

  14. Rich says:

    If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought this article was written for SEO purposes.

  15. SM says:

    At first I misread the singer’s name as "Julia Roberts."  I was wondering if maybe the actress decided to begin a singing career.  And perhaps released an album of hot dog songs.

    Not that it makes any more sense as Julie Roberts.

  16. Mr Cranky says:

    It seems to me that ‘self-titled’ just means that the album named itself.  I suppose the album could name itself anything it wanted to (assuming no undue external influence that would degrade the ‘self-titled’ concept), but maybe ‘A’ is about the limit of its knowledge.

    Or did they mean eponymous album?

  17. Hayden says:

    Does the theory "if Kraft make it, confirm it’s really food before eating" have any validity?

    (cf., "Processed Cheese Product")

  18. poochner says:

    Well, according to Wikipedia (not an absolute authority, but other sources seem to agree): "An eponym is the name of a person, whether real or fictitious, who has (or is thought to have) given rise to the name of a particular place, tribe, discovery, or other item. An eponymous person is the person referred to by the eponym. In contemporary English, the term eponymous is often used to mean self-titled. The word eponym is often used for the thing titled."

    This would imply that "self-titled" is indeed correct.

  19. Simon Cooke says:

    Doesn’t Corn Syrup count as a filler?

  20. poochner says:

    Nope, corn syrup is just "gunk."  A filler would be textured soy protein, sawdust, or something like that.  

  21. Bob Quigman says:

    Ok, you make all this noise about saving a few seconds to cook tubular casings filled with meat by-products and fillers, yet you spent a whole lot of time crafting this blog entry and complaining about words like "ain’t" and "hankerin".

    Did you work on the Vista development team?

  22. Nature says:

    I don’t see how they are offensive.

  23. CRathjen says:

    Raymond, you have some great off-beat blog posts, but this one is one of your best.

    • Using "ain’t" in a blog post: 5 snide comments

    • Using "hanerkin’" in a blog post: 15 snide comments

    • Watching a formal-scholarly-writing-fanatic’s head explode after spending 10 minutes on LiveJournal: Priceless

  24. SM says:

    @Bob Quigman: Sarcasm detector broken?

  25. Fábio Martins says:

    I love Nitpicker’s corner.

  26. Edward says:

    I do not identify the programs or companies whose products I discuss in computer-related entries, because my purpose is not to mock and ridicule the computer industry but rather to highlight a problem.

    Oh, only the “computer” industry.

    [Allow me to clarify. This is not a “Help people in the prepared food industry produce better products” blog. I can’t believe I had to write that. -Raymond]
  27. bramster says:

    Steven Wright said

    "I put some instant coffee into the Microwave and  almost went back in time"

  28. Kemp says:

    "that virtually disintermediated the application of power to the task."

    That’s the sentence that pushed my marketing-speak parser over the edge.

  29. Kemp says:

    Sorry for double-posting, but… Edward, as stated repeatedly, this blog belongs to exactly one person and he can make (almost) whatever rules he wants for it.

  30. ATZ Man says:

    The bakers and the frank-makers actually had several meetings about matching up the number of buns in a package of buns with the number of franks in a package of franks. Meetings! Travel expense reports! All of that! Fortunately it has mostly worked out.

  31. Roger says:

    1.) The "proprietary dough technology" they’re talking about is just that — technology they invented for keeping a bun from becoming soggy or chewy after being microwaved. Breads don’t taste right in the microwave; these are supposed to. That’s what’s proprietary.

    2.) This is old. Real, real old. When was the last time you went to a supermarket?

    3.) Granted, it’s an incredibly lame product, but this is a pretty stupid thing to nitpick about — especially when some of your nitpicks aren’t even valid.

  32. miles archer says:

    You need special dough to keep the hot dog bun from become like concrete. Wet and gunky to start then setting to a stone-like consistency.

    This is one case where primitive technology (aka cooking over a real fire) is preferable to high tech.

    oh, and thanks for the post. One of the best yet.

  33. Derlin says:

    I remember in elementary school a representative from the local power company came with a miniature mock up of electric poles to teach about electrical safety.  The representative proceeded to cook some hot dogs by shorting out the power lines between the poles, with the warning that something similar could happen to us if we touched a downed power line.

  34. Adam says:

    "they use proprietary dough technology"

    Hey, they don’t just *use* it, they *leverage* it! IMHO, you really should have included "leverage" in the highlighted section. :)

  35. Steve says:

    Why aren’t you replacing the name of the company in this case? Do your in house layers stay calm when it is a non-competitor?

    [Because the purpose of this entry is to mock and ridicule, not to teach a lesson. I thought that was obvious. (The rule against naming companies is my own, because I learned that if I name companies while trying to teach a lesson, people focus on the company rather than the learn the lesson.) -Raymond]
  36. Steven says:

    In the UK there is a company who sells similar products (microwavable burgers, hot dogs and the like) who launched an advertising campaign in universities.  Their main line was it was best to eat their stuff late at night, cos you’d be too drunk to cook for yourself and you would either a) burn yourself, b) burn the house down.

    Was quite an ingenious advertising campaign I thought :)

  37. Mike Dunn says:

    Nothing can top Pancakes & Sausage on a stick (as featured on The Daily Show)

  38. Brian says:

    This post would not be complete without the pop-up hotdog cooker:

    It’s like a toaster, except for hot dogs (and buns!)

  39. Tim says:

    I wish that all you nitpickers who force Raymond to qualify everything he writes would just lay off the poor guy! We don’t want him to start self-censoring just to avoid your feeble quips.  

    [Too late. I’ve been self-censoring for years because of the nitpickers. -Raymond]
  40. Zippy the Pinhead says:

    As far as **WHY** Julie Roberts is mentioned at all, it looks like she has something to do with a sing-the-Oscar-Meyer-song contest, and was not removed from the boilerplate at the bottom of this (newer) press release.

    [Great job following that link there. -Raymond]
  41. hexatron says:

    I have nothing intelligent to contribute to this thread.

    But that didn’t stop anyone else.

    [That was funny. I count that as a valuable contribution. -Raymond]
  42. mikeb says:

    Hey – I’ve actually had these things, and they’re pretty good (as far as hotdogs go).

    And the bit about the buns (or dough) being proprietary – I’ll tell you what, you get a very different experience putting a regular old hotdog bun in the microwave for as long as it takes to heat the whole hotdog.

    If you don’t use the ‘Fast Franks’ then you better heat the dog and the bun separately.

    Hmmm… it seems like I know far too much about hotdogs (don’t forget the onions and mustard!).

  43. Mikkin says:

    Before the microwave, there were dedicated hot dog cookers that virtually disintermediated the application of power to the task. You stick the dogs between little prongs, close the lid, and press a button to *electrocute* them. It was faster than a microwave and hot dog brand agnostic, but for buns and plates you were on your own.

  44. borlock says:

    It is unacceptable that the hot dogs takes 35 seconds to heat. The typical Microwave’s instant cook buttons only operates in 30 second intervals.

    That’s what you get when you have engineers creating a product without thinking about the end to end scenario.

  45. Julio says:

    @Steven: Last month in Brazil a company started selling microwavable hamburgers. The TV ad says the burgers have a "super microwave taste".

    I do *not* want to try one of those. I strongly believe I won’t like the taste of plastic, steel, LCD and circuit boards of a microwave oven.

  46. Drak says:

    Not to rain on the parade, but I think the comment of it being a 3 person family might be due to a misread:

    [PART of a quick and yummy lunch for the whole family]

    So a box of 3 is only part of the yummy lunch, meaning the whole lunch could be contained in perhaps 2 boxes?

  47. Massif says:

    "self titled" means, obviously, that she called it ‘A’, ALL BY HERSELF. No-one helped her title the album, so, therefore, it was "self titled."

    It seems so clear to me. ;)

  48. MikeC says:

    @ Hexatron – Comedy gold…..!

    @ Brian:

    I actually like the nitpickers for 2 reasons:

    1. The Nitpickers’ Corner is always amusing

    2. No matter what happens in my life, no matter how bad things get, it reassures me that I am actually quite balanced and rational compared to some people…

  49. Larry Lard says:

    Cool, another hit for "I can’t believe I had to write that", the easy way to Raymond’s best comment-comments :)

  50. Nature 2 says:

    So, none realized that a whole bunch of (soon to be discharged) packaging for a freakin’ hotdog is a bit too much?  The future is buried in waste my friends …..  Wanna save time? Eat sugar; same net

  51. N. Velope says:

      Don’t complain about hot dog manufacturers – they’re just trying to make ends meat.

    [Oh, that was offal. -Raymond]
  52. zzz says:

    Isn’t there some chemical based heating bags*? Wrap one around the bread and a bag of water with the sausage inside .. and sell this as a complete solution.

    *there’s probably some proper name for this kind of self-heating bag idk about

  53. Stew says:


    They were riffing off some Fire Brigade ads from about five years ago. Yes, our emergency services explicitly said to drunk people "Get a kebab, don’t be one." The instant-burger manufacturers are hawking a similar idea, but nowhere near as nice as a good kebab.

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