Saturday, 2 May 2015

Pluto Pup: Yesterday's Hero

The Pluto Pup. Depending where you grew up, you might call this a Dagwood Dog or a Corn Dog.

Usually found at carnivals, fairs, fetes, it is a generously battered hot dog/frankfurt/sav on a stick.

It is also the kind of food that was way more delicious in the olden days.

I loved them then. And I hate them now. The Pluto Pup from days gone by is a different beast to what is sold now.

My encounters with the Pluto Pup were limited to ‘carnival’ type events – the school fete, the show, perhaps a rodeo or two.

Our primary school fete.

When I first started thinking about this, a funny picture popped up in my mind’s eye - a lone Pluto Pup van parked in the playground of my old primary school.

A few seconds later, a hayride steams past, and proceeds to go up and down, up and down.

There must have been more than that.

Ah, yes, there were snow cones. Rich cordial poured on to shaved ice. A must for this little fete-goer.

One year there was a flower arrangement competition. I do believe I won a green glass vase for first prize – probably more to do with the calibre of the flowers from our garden than my 10 year old floristry skills.

A Cake stall - laden with about 500 toffees sprinkled with hundreds and thousands.

A White Elephant stall. Not the most exciting stall in those days. People didn’t have that much excess to cull.

Fairy floss. Of course.

The Lucky dip. Much better value in those days, and more special, because people’s houses weren’t already groaning with piles of plastic toys and assorted crap.

The Craft stall. Lots of knitted bits and pieces, crocheted toilet roll covers with dolls on top, tea cosies and the like. I remember one year my mum made a fish from a cake of soap, covered in Tulle netting tied at the back so it fanned out into a tail, and there were pearl-topped pins stuck in the soap to represent scales. I watched the craft stall like a hawk to see which customer was lucky enough to get their hands on that piece of crafty genius.

There was no jumping castle. No face painting (and no mile-long queue for face-painting). No $30 pre-purchased wrist bands for ride entry.

And no over-priced dodgy bulk-manufactured frozen crap masquerading as Pluto Pups!

With apologies to any modern-day Pluto Pup vendors who may be reading here, why do you need to use frozen, pre-prepared goods? If you are charging $5 each, would it kill you to buy some (unfrozen) frankfurts, poke a stick in them, make up some batter and fry them in oil that is less than three weeks old?

And if you have only one type of item on sale (and I’m just making an assumption here, based on the signage on the outside of your van) you could probably cook them a little closer to the time of purchase instead of leaving them to fester in a heating tray. It’s not like you have a 5-course banquet to prepare.

Just my 10 cents (or $5) worth …

photo credit: 1011 via photopin (license)


  1. I have never heard of these! I did try twisty potatoes at the Royal Melb Show last year and they were sensational. (A whole potato twisted around a stick in a spiral and deep fried.) I can't wait to eat these again this year.

    1. That's funny. Now that you have said you haven't heard of these you will hear or see about them several times in the next few days - that always happens to me anyway. Thanks for visiting Jody.

  2. Pluto pups scare me - a girl I went to school with said she got hep A from one. I don't know if that's true but I've steered well clear since!!

    1. It probably had more to do with the food prep/serving standards of the vendor in question, or the original source of the food. Who knows. Steer clear, anyway. You're not missing anything!

  3. I worked in a fish/chicken and chip shop for eight years. We sold Dippy Dogs, and we used real dons franks and battered them ourselves. They were the bomb!
    Oh I so remember the sprinkled toffees, I used to love school fete day!

    1. Yes, Alicia, we are on the same page. Those dippy dogs sound authentic, minus the stick of course. :)