Book Review: Hot Dog Taste Test

hot dog taste test

Hot Dog Taste Test, Lisa Hanawalt, 173 pgs, Drawn & Quarterly, drawnandquarterly.com, $24.95

Lisa Hanawalt likes butts. Given that she is the production designer of BoJack Horseman, it may not be surprising to learn that she also likes horses and anthropomorphized animals. In other words, she likes giving animals human butts.

All of that love comes together in Hot Dog Taste Test, her colourful follow-up to 2013’s My Dirty Dumb Eyes. Along with animals with human genitalia, she also gives us an assortment of lists (including a list of baking tips that includes “bake if you like brown things”), drawings (including a selection of menstrual hut designs) and photographs (including pottery covered in genitals).

It also gives us illustrated food reporting. Collected from Hanawalt’s work for Lucky Peach magazine, this book combines real information with laughs. As Hanawalt observes, not enough food reporting includes information about going to the bathroom, considering it is “the inevitable result of all this.” She rectifies this by illustrating the many ways people have pooped through history (and into the future) and what happens when you sit directly on a public toilet (hint, you get “peepoo butt.” You can see what this looks like in gross detail in Hot Dog Taste Test).

To wipe the vision of “peepoo butt” from your memory, cute things happen too. She visits an otter sanctuary and swims with otter pups while simultaneously giving the reader real facts about the habits of exotic animals and how terrible she thinks the rest of her life will be when she is no longer covered in wet otters.

But don’t get too used to the journalistic information lest you believe that “poo it up” is food photography terminology for torching food until it is browned.

Yep. Lisa Hanawalt likes horses and butts. And, inevitably, poo. It’s a joy that she shares these loves of hers with us. (Lindsay Gibb)

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