The month of July is “National Hot Dog Month”.
From Memorial Day through Labor Day, we Americans chow down on roughly 7 billion hot dogs.
That averages out to 818 hot dogs consumed every second during these “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer”.
On Independence Day alone, we patriots wolf down more than 150 million franks.
Laid end to end, they would go from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles 5 times.
Los Angeles, by the way, is the top hot dog eating city in America and 7-11 stores sell more than 100 million hot dogs annually.
Now there’s a lot of question as to who actually invented the hot dog.
Most believe the “dogs” probably originated in Vienna, Austria or Frankfurt. Germany.
Sausages were mentioned in Homer’s “The Odyssey” and Nero’s chef, Gaius reportedly cooked up some links for his boss, while he fiddled away his time.
Frankfurt, Germany officials lay claim to inventing the hot dogs with a butcher, Johann Georghehner producing them in the late 1600’s.
Hot dogs in America appear to be connected to a pair of Austro-Hungarian brothers who immigrated to Chicago and brought a recipe with them for the 1893 World’s Fair.
They founded a beef production company in the Windy City still cranking our wieners today.
There’s a lot of bad press regarding hot dog ingredients but most are made of beef, pork, chicken or turkey with salt, paprika, garlic and other spices sprinkled in for flavoring.
Chicago is famous for its’ dogs with onion, relish, pepper, pickles, tomato, mustard and celery seed (but NO ketchup!).
The Coney Island-style tops the dog with chili, cheese, mustard and onions.
In 2013, the Japanese created black hot dogs and buns, dying them with charcoal ash.
I just leave them on the grill extra long to give them that “incinerated” look.
Most look upon the hot dog as a low end delight but in 2014, one sold in Seattle for $169.
This beauty was smothered in butter teriyaki, grilled onions, maitake mushrooms, wagyu beef, foie gras`, shaved black truffles, caviar plus Japanese mayo and served on a brioche bun.
The Guinness World Record folks say in 2014 a fund-raiser for a Sacramento children’s hospital served up three-quarter pound, 18 inch monsters and one sold for more than $145.
It was bathed in moose milk cheese, maple syrup bacon, organic baby greens, whole-grain mustard and cranberries.
When the British royalty visited the “colonies” in 1939, the Roosevelt’s had hot dogs served at at a White House picnic.
It is reported King George VI was so smitten, he asked for seconds.
Hot dogs even went into space during the Apollo space program.
Hot dogs have been a staple at Major League Baseball ever since the St. Louis Browns served the in the 1890’s.
The top pick for topping hot dogs?
Reports say mustard is the #1 choice for 71% of us with ketchup (or is it catsup?) second.
The American Meat Trade Association even has an “etiquette” guide for hot dogs.
If you’re older than 18, it is “tacky” to top your hot dog with ketchup.
No eating utensils should be used for consuming a hot dog.
They should be served on nothing fancier than a paper plate or an “everyday” dish.
No fancy buns, no sun-dried tomatoes or basil and never serve your hot dogs with wine.
They even say you should take 5 bites for a typical hot dog and 7 chomps for a foot-long.
There’s even controversy over whether or not a hot dog is a “sandwich”.
The Merriam-Webster folks support considering it a sandwich since it is a piece of split bread with a filling.
True hot dog lovers claim it is its’ own entity.
And, they’re called hot dogs because they sort of resemble dachshunds which we often refer to as “wiener dogs”.
Whether you call them hot dogs, wieners, frankfurter, dogs or franks, I love them.
I’ve become a hot dog dipper, going sans bun and dipping that meat projectile into a generous splat of mustard.
And, there’s no better mustard for those dogs than “Stadium Mustard’ from Cleveland, Ohio.
If the Browns or the Indians were miserable, you could salve your wounds with a hot dog smothered in that brownish-yellow topping.
As kids, Mom would take us along when she went shopping at Weidles meat market in Mansfield, OH.
The butcher would always as my sisters and I if we’d like a hot dog.
I’d day “Yes!” but my sisters would shake their heads “No!” despite my urges and coaching because I’d be happy to nibble the ones they were handed.
It seems fitting to close this tribute to the hot dog with a tip of “Johnny-on-the-Spot”hat to the Armour meat people who had us all singing this little ditty years ago.
Armour hot dogs.
What kind of kids eat Armour hot dogs?
Kids who climb on rocks.
Even kids with chicken pox
Eat hot dogs,
Armour hog dogs.
The dogs kids love to munch.”
Happy Hot Dog Month!
By the way, next week’s blog will be “Magi Ate Tatanka” and I’ll tell you about our fantastic Canadian Rockies vacation.