This Little Piggy
By Mother Goose
“This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none.
This little piggy went ...
Wee, wee, wee,
all the way home!”
However, my little piggies ended up inside bacon, crescent roll dough and pancakes!
In 1957, a cute recipe appeared in the new Betty Crocker’s Cooking for Boys and Girls cookbook. This cookbook was geared towards parents, alright, let’s be honest, the homemaker mom, to teach her children cooking skills. Hotdogs were baked inside a bread dough, and enjoyed for lunch or dinner. In 1965, Pillsbury introduced crescent rolls, and included a recipe for crescent roll dogs which added slices of American cheese to the process.
The name “pigs in a blanket” is another one of those “Who claims to have invented it first?” origins. Essentially the “pigs” refer to sausages that were roasted, wrapped in rolls, and eaten by laborers. This is traced back to Germany, around the 1400s (remember, they also invented the ever-popular hotdog) where they were called Würstchen im Schlafrock (translation: sausages in pajamas). In the 1600s, the Irish, English and Scottish laborers were following the lead of German laborers, and ate these sausage rolls alongside meat pies and pasties. In the 1900s, a recipe for “kilted soldiers” became popular for the Christmas holiday. Small sausages, named chipolatas, were wrapped, and roasted, in bacon. The “cocktail” pigs in a blanket were basically born, and the bread wrapped version followed.
The breakfast style pigs in a blanket? Grilled sausages wrapped in fluffy pancakes, drenched in maple syrup, breakfast style pigs in a blanket? As far as I could ferret out of culinary sites, full of historical data, was linked to IHOP. The first International House of Pancakes opened in a suburb of Los Angeles in 1958, and breakfast style pigs in a blanket was on the menu. I have to presume that they got the idea from the 1957 Betty Crocker cookbook, revised it by using thinner pancakes for easy rolling, instead of bread or crescent dough, and it was a hit.
The concept of wrapping sausage inside some type of dough is worldwide, however, in America, hotdogs are used more often. Sausage is primarily made with meat from the pig, while hotdogs can be all-beef, poultry only, or some combination of pork, beef and poultry. For a meal, full length hotdogs, smoked sausages, or grilled brats can be rolled in dough, baked in the oven, and served with condiments and side dishes. The cocktail style are the mini versions of the meats, again, also wrapped in dough and baked.
Now making those is a lot of work, but there is a much easier way of course. Purchase the full length, wrap in the dough and cut them up into bite size, individual pieces before baking. First off, this is less work than wrapping those tiny “little smokies” or cocktail franks, and price wise, less expensive in the long run. Do a price comparison, and depending on where you live, and prices charged at your favorite market, it probably will be less in price. Also, compare your prices to buying the premade, frozen brands; make sure to check how many are in the package. One can of crescent roll dough has eight pieces; one package of hotdogs is, usually, also eight. After rolling the hotdog in the dough (make sure to seal up the dog completely), cut into four sections; that is 32 pieces. Unless you are buying from a bulk store, the average size at a local market is 12-24 pieces, and the price is kind of high for the amount inside the package. You are paying, for the convenience, of having the work done for you.
Another plus, to making it at home, is you can add what you want; press shredded cheese, bacon bits, diced jalapenos, diced onions, or savory seasonings onto the dough, then procced with the wrapping and baking. The dough is your canvas, now be a culinary artist! As I have pushed in many of my articles, children at home, get them involved, and they do not have to be little ones. Get those teenagers and college-aged to learn kitchen skills as well; prep work, creation, completion, and clean up!
Summer will be officially beginning soon, and here come all the summery events, parties, picnics and simply having fun in the sun times. Do not forget the perfect little snack for all those times, pigs in a blanket.