July is National Hot Dog Month, today is the Fourth of July (arguably the most hot-dog-centric day of the year), and my novel BIG MOUTH is chock full of hot dogs. Sounds to me like a great time for a closer look at this fine American cuisine…
HOT DOGS, TUBE MEAT, WEINIES, FRANKS. Whatever you call ’em, they’re as All-American as apple pie. But . . . ever wonder what’s actually in the things? Well, if your package of dogs says “with variety meats”, you’re getting something extra special, that’s for sure, like hearts, kidneys, or liver, for instance. Sound like more than you bargained for? Don’t fret, most hot dogs don’t have variety meats anymore. These days, they mostly come with plain old meat trimmings (poultry or beef), spices, ice chips, and curing ingredients. And Americans love them. This year, Americans will eat enough hot dogs at major league ballparks to stretch from RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., to AT&T Park in San Francisco. New Yorkers will be doing most of the eating, with Los Angeles and Baltimore coming in right behind them. And guys are more likely than girls to have eaten a hot dog in the past week. So, what do all these hot dog eaters like on their hot links? You may be surprised. According to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, the favorite condiment on a hot dog is . . . drumroll, please . . . mustard! Ketchup comes in a close second. However, some people are adamantly anti-ketchup when it comes to hot dogs. In Chicago, most “true” hot dog stands and restaurants refuse to even stock ketchup, believing that dousing a dog in red stifles the taste of the dog rather than compliments it. And now, for the most important fact about hot dogs ever: Hot dogs typically come in 10 packs while hot dog buns come in bags of 8 because the buns are baked in clusters of four, in pans designed to hold eight rolls. You’d think the hot dog manufacturers would adjust to the pan clusters already, but except for a few rebel companies, they are set in their ways. Even with this controversy, Americans stay loyal to their tube meat. Why, they even gave the mighty hot dog its own holiday: July is the National Hot Dog Month, and 19th July is the National Hot Dog Day.
Is all this hot dog talk making you hungry? Wanna order up some doggies, but still not sure what to call them? Try these names at the next hot dog stand and see what they get you:
â€¢ “Heisser Hund” (German)
â€¢ “Varmkorv” (Sweden)
â€¢ “Grillpolser” (Norwegian and Danish)
â€¢ “Worstjes” (Dutch)
â€¢ “Makkarat” (Finnish)
One last fact: The World’s Longest Hot Dog was 60m (196.85 ft), and rested within a 60.3m bun. Are you up for it?