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Neal Slavin: Nylen’s Frankfurters in Full Dress
My most delightful and favorite “tidbit gastronomique” is called the “Nylen Full-Dress Frank.” It’s named after a professional colleague, Judy Nylen, who not by chance is also its creator . . .
The frankfurter need not be left naked! It can be formalized, decked out, and ethnicized for a sumptuous midnight snack or fun party fare. Condiments, garnishes, and accents can take on any theme. Those described below are “regional costumes” to be grouped buffet style for a party so guests can create their own masterpieces.
Basics: For a party of 24
48 Frankfurters 48 Buns
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in one or more large pots. Remove pots from heat, and put in frankfurters. Cover and let stand 7 minutes. Frankfurters can be served right from the pot, or kept warm on a hot tray set on low. They will last several hours in warm water.
Buns can be warmed in an electric bun warmer or an improvised version created by placing a basket in an electric frying pan or wok, wrapping buns in a large napkin and covering.
2 cups sauerkraut
Heat sauerkraut through and keep warm on hot tray; smother frankfurter.
1 cup applesauce
1 cup crab apples, sliced
Spoon applesauce over frankfurter, and garnish with crab apples.
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 head of curly Spanish lettuce
1/2 cup Thousand Island dressing
Place lettuce under frankfurter which has been sliced lengthwise; stuff with tomato slices down the center and top with dressing.
2 cups frozen macaroni and cheese, baked according to package
1/2 pound. bacon, cut in half and fried lightly crisp
1 cup cheddar cheese
Spoon macaroni onto bun, put in frankfurter, cover with a little more macaroni, top with bacon and grated cheese, and melt in toaster oven.
4 frying peppers, in rings
2 cups chili, without beans
1 cup onion, finely chopped
Heat chili through, and keep warm on hot tray. String peppers, 3 or 4, on to frankfurter, top with chili and onions.
1/2 cup water chestnuts, sliced
1 cup canned sliced peaches
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, sliced
1/2 cup sweet and sour sauce
Cut frankfurter in short, diagonal slits, and stuff these with water chestnuts. Top with peaches, bamboo shoots, and sauce.
1 cup kumquats, peeled and quartered
1 large red onion, sliced in rings
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Slice frankfurter lengthwise and stuff with 3 or 4 kumquat quarters, alternating with red onion. Surround with mayonnaise.
2 cups pickle relish—Emerald style
1 small bunch watercress
Smother frankfurter in relish, and garnish with watercress “clovers.”
2 cups baked beans
1 bunch curly parsley
Heat beans through, and keep warm on hot tray; spoon over frankfurter, and garnish with parsley.
1 cup pineapple rings, halved
1/2 cantaloupe, cubed
1/2 cup Major Grey’s Chutney (may substitute any mango chutney)
Place pineapple rings over frankfurter, garnish with cantaloupe, and top with chutney.
1 cup brown mustard (or any favorite)
1/4 cup snipped chives
Smother frankfurter in traditional manner.
1 cup pizza sauce
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 red bell pepper, in thin strips
1 green pepper, sliced in thin strips
12 fresh mushrooms, sliced
Keep pizza sauce warm on hot tray. Spoon over bun, put in frankfurter, and top with grated cheese, pepper strips, and mushrooms. Put frankfurter in toaster oven to melt cheese.
The book provides a time capsule of contemporary photographers of the 1970s and a fascinating look at how they depicted food, family, and home, taking readers behind the camera and into the hearts, and stomachs of some of photography’s most important practitioners.
Available for purchase: Aperture Foundation