The cafeteria was serving Beanie Weenie, one of those meals apparently so delicious that the day before someone always said, "Hey, don't forget tomorrow's Beanie Weenie Day!" I had practically chowed it all down as soon as the hairnetted lunch lady slopped it onto my plate. Mmmmmmm. Beanie Weenie.…Little did she know she was adding fuel to a long-standing debate between me and my brother. Read here, here, and here.
The short version: Neal has long insisted that ‘frings’ (an appetizer consisting of french fries mixed with onion rings) is a bogus word, inasmuch as no other word in the English language is both morphologically and syntactically plural, without any identifiable singular element (i.e., you can’t find just one ‘fring’ – it’s always a fry or a ring). He later modified his claim in order to rule out some examples I provided, such as ‘troops’, ‘rapids’, and ‘falls’, by requiring that the singular element’s meaning be unclear in principle (whereas the meaning of ‘troop’, ‘rapid’, and ‘fall’ would be obvious if we used these words).
Neal eventually conceded the debate, but only grudgingly, on the basis of his own questionable example (‘stoplight peppers’) instead of my excellent ones. But now I see the opportunity to convert my TKO into a KO. You see, while DGM refers to the delicacy in question as ‘beanie-weenie’, in Neal’s and my home – and I suspect in many parts of the country – the dish is called ‘beanie-weenies.’ It’s morphologically plural (‘beanie-weenies’ has a standard plural ending), it’s syntactically plural (you would say, “My beanie-weenies are getting cold”), and there’s no such thing as a lone ‘beanie-weenie’ (it’s always a bean or a weenie). Take that, Neal!
Okay, I see one way that Neal might squirm out of this. He might contend that ‘beanie’ is an adjective modifying the plural noun ‘weenies’. The singular element would be a single weenie with beans or bean-essence all over it. But I disagree. If you’ve eaten beanie-weenies, you know that beans usually dominate the dish; if the adjectival explanation were correct, the dish would be called ‘weenie-beanies’. Also, the dish consists not just of beans and weenies, but also sauce and (sometimes) spices. If someone extracted a single weenie from the mix, we all know it would just be a weenie, not a beanie-weenie.