National Hot Dog Day Stirs Up Some Memories


Today is National Hot Dog Day.   Of  this,  Peter Bella, the Cooking Cop, reminds us on the ChicagoNow circuit.  Peter reverentially says he's going to celebrate the occasion by....drum roll please....eating a hot dog.

I imagine somewhere on this day there will be or has already been  a joyous  Hot Dog Parade.   With replicas of Oscar Meyer's mobile.  Or one of those stomach-turning  eating competitions. "And the winner is Will Weiner who consumed 500 redhots in 5 minutes!"

Like Mr. Bella, I too love a good hot dog, no matter what people say is in them (snippets of snouts and earlobes, and other pig parts no self-respecting rasher of   bacon would ever be seen in public with) .  I like  mustard, onions,  and tomatoes on my dogs.  Sometimes chili or cheese. Maybe relish occasionally. Some would say piccalilli, but that sounds like something you do at the local garden nursery.  Under no circumstances hot peppers.

There are of course people who would never ingest a hot dog.  Who in fact detest them. Like our family doctor, Dr. Beales.   She has her reasons.  Even though her husband, Dave, if he were aware of the significance of this day, would probably scarf down a few.   They have been happily married for at least 35 years. So it's clear the hot dog is not necessarily a homewrecker.

Back when there was an interdiction against eating meat on Fridays in the Catholic Church, I remember once how the humble hot dog became an occasion of sin.  I was a mere lad at the time.  And couldn't resist the overpowering aroma from one of those street vendors near Kelly Park on the Southwest side.  Hunger trumped canon law.

I bit into the succulent frankfurter with all its  trimmings. Including sauerkraut.  Hey, I grew up in a Polish neighborhood.

Hmmmmmm!  Delish!

I looked at my forbidden meal after that bite. Just to appreciate its juicy redness....And saw instead something vaguely green. I gagged a bit. And unloaded what I hadn't swallowed in the nearest trash container.

I figured it was Divine Retribution.   I promised myself if I ever again ate a hot dog on a Friday, I would let my little brother take the first bite.




Filed under: Family Life, Food, Religion


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  • As you can guess, I don't eat hot dogs with pigs' snouts. I did engage in a dialog (on some baseball forum) about the White Sox official Kosher and trefe dogs when Best's Kosher was still in business, and noted on Cubs Insider that one can tell the difference between a NY and Chicago dog in that the NY dog tastes too greasy.

    The only way to eat a dog is the Chicago way (some dispute over when that originated), but I don't take the Serrano pepper, and the pickle keeps falling out (sometimes the tomato, too).

    There was a debate on Channel 11 whether the first dogs in Chicago were Viennese or German, but obviously Oscar Mayer started here and was German.

    The last time I was in Josh's (recommended by Bob Sirott), some boy asked for ketchup on his dog, right under the display for the book "Never Put Ketchup On A Hot Dog."

  • Ketchup on a hot dog? Yech!

    Kosher hot dogs, BTW, have always been my favorites. My wife had an uncle who worked at David Berg and sometimes supplied us with a few.

    In Chicago Ridge on Ridgeland Avenue there's a butcher shop (Jack & Pat's) whose hot dogs are among our favorites too.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    David Berg were good. My mother was partial to Sinai 48, which were sold in a long string in the basement at Goldblatt's.*

    Apparently all of them (including Best Kosher) got taken over by Sara Lee/Hillshire Farms, which killed the business.

    But I always wondered whether Jimmy Dean Sausage (another of their brands) had Rowlf meat (back when the Muppet was with Jimmy Dean).

    *The basement also had a lunch counter, with the lingering aroma of hot dogs and a big barrel of Richardson's root beer.

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