Maine at Weiners & Portland Food Coma

Today’s Press Herald includes a profile of Joe Ricchio and his blog Portland Food Coma,

On a recent afternoon, Ricchio was enjoying lunch at Pizza Villa, reveling in it almost. Days earlier, he had survived an intense three-day kitchen lockdown to create “Buddha Jumps Over The Wall,” a Chinese meal that involves whole chicken and duck, abalone, quail eggs, bamboo leaves, dueling stocks and a shark’s fin. It was his 31st birthday and the occasion called for unbridled decadence.

and reporter Ray Routhier spent the day working at Wieners learning about what it takes to run the Commercial Street food cart.

I would not have thought there was any engineering involved in preparing a hot dog.

But I realized quickly – as I tried to sell franks from a cart called Wieners on Commercial Street last week – that there definitely is. The spatial relationship between the dog, the bun, the onions, the relish, the ketchup and the mustard is a delicate thing that cannot be trifled with.

My problem was, I trifled.

I would not have thought there was any engineering involved in preparing a hot dog.

click image to enlarge

Ray Routhier tries to get the squiggle of mustard to look just so as he works the hot dog stand of Jess Cady-Giguere in Portland.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Jess Cady-Giguere demonstrates her method for assembling a hot dog and condiments at her cart, Wieners, in Portland.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

ABOUT THIS SERIES
MAINE AT WORK takes an interactive look at iconic, visible or just plain interesting jobs done by folks in Maine. Reporter Ray Routhier shadows a worker or workers, reports what he sees and tries his hand at some of the job’s duties.
IF YOU’D LIKE to suggest a job to be explored in this feature, e-mail rrouthier@pressherald.com or call 791-6454.
THIS WEEK’S JOB

TITLE: Hot dog seller and owner of Wieners, a cart at the corner of Dana and Commercial streets on Portland’s waterfront.
WORKER: Jess Cady-Giguere, 27, of Portland.
HOURS: Roughly 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at least five days a week.
DUTIES: Towing the cart, buying supplies, preparing the cart, and cooking, selling and presenting hot dogs, sausages and chili.
SURPRISING FACTS: Cady-Giguere sometimes has to work in the rain just to make sure people know she’s still in business and to keep her spot. Also, putting a hot dog in a bun, with condiments, is surprisingly hard to do without touching them directly with your hands.
PERKS: Being outside on the waterfront on beautiful days and being able to take your dog to work.

But I realized quickly – as I tried to sell franks from a cart called Wieners on Commercial Street last week – that there definitely is. The spatial relationship between the dog, the bun, the onions, the relish, the ketchup and the mustard is a delicate thing that cannot be trifled with.
My problem was, I trifled.