Piglets in Blankies
April 19, 2011 13:49

     It’s funny the way traditions develop. Two seemingly unrelated things become so connected that it is impossible to have one without the other. Thanksgiving and turkey. Easter and eggs. New Year’s Eve and pigs in a blanket. It might be an odd combination to some, but I can’t remember a New Year’s Eve without the little dog in my hand.
     My family rings in the New Year (and my dad’s birthday) sardined on the couch, watching the 24-hour marathon of "The Twilight Zone," courtesy of the SyFy Network. We have seen every episode too many times, but unlike my dad, they never get old. And I’ve even picked up a few cooking tips
     You’ll rarely find my sister in the kitchen, but wrapping weenies in dough is one thing that gets her off the couch. We actually enjoy making them together, almost as much as we enjoy eating them. And it can’t get much easier.
     I buy two cylinders of Pillsbury crescent rolls per one package of cocktail wieners, and usually use up everything. My favorite part of baking them is opening the crescent can. 


I find that as I unwrap the seal, my shoulders inch up toward my ears and my head shies away, as though cranking a jack-in-the-box. Anticipation builds, and finally the dough bursts out with an airy pop that always surprises me. I unroll the dough, use a pizza cutter to slice each triangle into 3 smaller triangles, and then wrap the pigs up nice and warm.    
     Years of experience and experimentation have taught me that the pigs turn out much happier if they have a greater blanket to pig ratio; the result is more pillowy and buttery. They are the best right out of the oven, so we usually make the first batch to eat while baking the second. 
     And like with my New Year’s Eve plans, I prefer to keep my dogs simple. Popping a plain piggy in my pie hole is perfect, but I understand others crave condiments. You can serve them with ketchup, mustard, barbeque sauce, or anything other dip you whip up. I’ve even seen the weenies sliced open and stuffed with cheese, and then wrapped and baked. Whatever curls your tail, really. 
     The only problem is, I hate waiting until December 31st to get my dog on. The truth is, there’s no reason why I should have to. I recently stumbled upon a spooky variation, Halloweenies, and now Halloween may very well be the start of another timeless tradition. But wait! The American Farm Bureau Foundation has declared April 24th "National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day" on its Dates to Celebrate Agriculture calendar. This year, it happens to fall on Easter, so now I have two reasons to dig into pig. Quit hogging the covers, pigs in a blanket all around!