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.
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.