Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Can anyone remember the carousels that once graced the lunch counters of many department stores? I’m not talking about the ones that stood outside of the stores and entertained children on wooden horses, giraffes, or lions or the ones in amusement parks. I am talking about the carousels that held skewered hot dogs and sausages and moved them in a continuous circle over a heat source, to roast. The savory aroma used to fill the stores with a warm, tasty scent of bubbling hot meats. It enticed customers into making one last purchase before they left the store. Pungent and spicy smells of onions, catsup, and mustard added to the allure. It was an intimate part of making mouths water for the uncommon taste of such common fare.
Brown skinned and beautiful, the hot dogs moved in a sultry circle displaying their darkly tanned skin for all to see. The vendor would answer the customer’s call by removing one of these luscious lovelies from its perch and place it into a heated soft bun. Wrapping the entire purchase in a paper napkin, the counterperson would pass the flavor filled bundle to the hands of waiting patron that would hurry to the condiment containers to cover the warm frankfurter with favorite toppings, making the hot dog even more appealing to their palate. Often with bags of recently purchased items circling the feet, they would close their eyes as they enjoyed the first bite. Chewing, mixed the chosen topping into an anticipated mélange of tongue-tingling flavors.

Stores have gotten rid of the carousels, going to a grill that rolled the hot dogs up and down by way of oscillating metal fingers. The aroma was still there, but the visual excitement of those rotating, ever-circling tubes of tastiness has disappeared. The stimulation of rescuing one of those slender beauties from captivity no longer exists. The need to pay the ransom to free a lowly hot dog has disappeared as well. The knight riding in on a shopping cart has been swallowed up.

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