Saturday, July 01, 2017

Hot Dog!

Jim from Petoskey, Michigan, asked why the humble hot dog has more than one name. As often happens when naming food or drink, territoriality is involved.

Those who maintain that the item was invented in Vienna call it a wiener. In German, that means of Vienna. Others tout Frankfort, Germany, as the source of the delicacy. They opt for the name frankfurter – of Frankfort.

The appellation hot dog seems to have been invented by Yale college students in the late nineteenth century, a sarcastic reference to meat whose provenance was in doubt. Disgustingly, some unscrupulous butchers in the 19th century (and earlier) were buying slaughtered dogs to add to their sausages. SeeBarry Popik’s column.

Speaking of territoriality, many cities or regions have their own version of the hot dog, and each claims to be the best. Visit the website of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council for a rundown on hot dogs across America. I was raised in Chicago, where it is a mortal sin to put catsup on a hot dog. Or even ketchup.

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