Posted by: Erica Retrochef | July 15, 2013

Franks in Potato Blankets

Kids like hot dogs. Parents like them too, for the simplicity — just heat ‘n’ eat, basically. And retro recipes really love hot dogs.

But sometimes it feels like frankfurters aren’t terribly fancy. I’m sure you’ve all said to yourselves at some point, “man, I wish this frank had some swank.”


It’s worth noting that this World War II advertisement is from an era of rationing, so the “point-thrifty frankfurter” means that a wiener would cost you less rationing points than something that was recognizable as a cut of actual meat.

Also, Crisco’s marketing department highlighted the “digestibility” of Crisco frequently in advertising for decades. It’s actually a complete myth, of course, but just think about the visceral reaction that most people have to the word “lard” — fattening! bad for you! disgusting! ew! — and you’ll realize just how well Crisco did at convincing people that their vegetable shortening was better in innumerable ways. (Take a listen to this 2012 Planet Money podcast for a more detailed history.)

Anyway, we’ve got some mashed potatoes and some frankfurters, and we’re going to make some swank.



Wrap thin frankfurters in a coating of leftover mashed potatoes. Roll in flour. Melt enough Crisco in hot skillet to cover bottom of pan generously. Fry coated frankfurters till golden brown. It’s a joy to fry with Crisco. There’s no heavy smoke or smell … no off-taste to the food. No need to worry about digestions, either. For foods fried crisp and brown in all-vegetable Crisco are so digestible even children may eat ’em!

I have yet to meet a kid that didn’t eat any fried food that was offered, regardless of what it was fried in. Starting to see why “digestible” is so silly?


Potatoes, shortening, hot dogs. Feeling the swank yet?


Mashed potatoes are not easy to wrap around a hot dog; they like to squish, not stay in tube shape.


The cylindrical shape does make it very easy to dredge in flour, though. Just roll!


And they’re fairly small, so more than one can be cooked at a time even in a medium-sized frying pan.


It doesn’t take long for the flour coating to slightly brown; since everything here is already cooked, actually, my only goal at this stage was to get the hot dogs warm.


This ended up being somewhat like a hot dog wrapped in a french fry. The potato didn’t manage to get quite as solid as I would have liked (which would make it more of a “bun” than a goopy coating), but it more or less held together and was a little crisp on the outside.


A splash of ketchup makes this taste even more like fries. The kids weren’t terribly impressed with the potato shell, though; with or without ketchup, they far preferred the hot dog interior to the potato blanket. And it was a heck of a lot harder to make this than, say, serve franks next to the leftover mashed potatoes. But assuming you’re willing to put in the effort, I think this is a tasty dish. More swank than I expected!

1943 advertisement comes to you from the Kittysneezes Tumblr


  1. Actually sounds good. I’d tweak the recipe a bit by giving the dogs a saute before wrapping them, and seasoning the potato – maybe some chopped onion.

  2. How about this: Make mashed potato patties. Embed them with thin sliced hot dog coins, and fry each one like a pancake (flip with a spatula to do both sides). Same taste, easier to cook.

    • …AND if you do it like potato pancakes with hot dog ‘pennies’, the hot dogs will get some ‘crunch’ on them too.

  3. silly, silly you.

    if it was not swanky enough, you were not using enough crisco.

    • HA! Greasy, greasy swank…

      • “Greasy Swank” is now going to be the title of my debut eponymous hip-hop album.

  4. This sounds tasty. I personally would use veggie franks and season the potato “crust”

  5. My childhood self would have loved these, especially since we didn’t get to have french fries often. I would try to convince myself that anything potato-ey was like a french fry.

  6. Have just stumbled on this blog, and I love it – I have so many old cookbooks with these crazy recipes in them which I have never tried because they just look so strange. Now I don’t need to try them, because you’re doing it for me!

    The potato would form better around the frank if it had a small bit of flour stirred into it. I agree the potato should be seasoned. I also think you might get a better result by brushing a bit of oil onto these and baking in a very hot oven.

  7. […] Crisco advertisements that promised “lighter, more tender” cake. Knowing that they also invented the whole “more digestible” baloney, I don’t have much confidence in […]

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