Monday, June 21, 2010

Hot Diggity Dogs !!!

Hot dogs are synonymous with summer.  What a better way to kick off the first day of summer than with the almighty hot dog.
When we think of hot dogs, we think of baseball, barbecues and summertime. But what are hot dogs?  Simply put hot dogs are cooked sausages made of a combination of beef, pork, turkey, chicken or just all beef, which is cured, smoked and cooked.  Seasonings vary from brand to brand with the majority of them including salt,pepper, garlic , nutmeg and dry mustard.  The seasonings are what sets hot dogs apart from each other.
Coney Island for some,is the home of the hot dog and one man Charles Feltman(1841-1910) a German butcher opened up a hot dog stand in Brooklyn, New York. He sold 3,684 sausages served in his warm rolls in the first year of operation. A employee of  Mr. Feltman , Nathan Handwerker(1892-1974) stepped away from Feltman, and founded with his wife Ida, Nathan's Famous, Inc., home of the World's Greatest Hot Dog.  Nathan sold his hot dogs for 5 cents a piece.  It is said that then is where the line was drawn.  Eddie Cantor(1892-1964)actor and Jimmy Durante(1893-1980)comedian and musician harbored a grudge against the flourishing business of Charles Feltman and suggested to Nathan that he sell his dogs for half of what Feltman sold them for. To add to that Nathan hired a  up and coming redhead Clara Bowtiinelli(1905-1965) who later became Clara Bow a famous silent film actress. So you see there was some ties there.  I'm just saying......... Hot dogs have for Nathans' become a annual Fourth of July rite of passage with their Hot Dog Eating Contest at the original stand since 1916.  The 32nd President Franklin D. Roosevelt was so impressed with hot dogs that he wanted to share this American tradition with visiting King George VI(1895-1952) of England and his queen at a picnic at the President's estate in Hyde Park, New York.  The press was in such a twitter about the event that the menu made the front page of the New York Times: 
Menu for Picnic at Hyde Park
Sunday, June 11, 1939
Virginia Ham
Hot Dogs (if weather permits)
Smoked Turkey
Cranberry Jelly
Green Salad
Strawberry Shortcake
Coffee, Beer and Soft Drink.
The First Lady was in such a tizzy about the upcoming picnic and the commonness of the  hot dog and she in fact tried to stop the hot dog from being served.  It is a good thing that she was unsuccessful because the King enjoyed them so much he asked for seconds.
How the hot dog came to America is really a mute point now. It's here and thank goodness it is.  Americans will consume 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day and on Fourth of July alone 150 million hot dogs will be consumed that is enough hot dogs to stretch from D.C. to L.A. five times over.
My doctor told me stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people. ~Orson Welles(1915-1985)


chefktakei said...

for me, it is not just the seasonings, but also the amount of smoke (could be considered a seasoning), even more important is the casings. most hot dogs do not have a casing, but i feel this is a mistake. not only does a natural casing keep in moisture (unless you overcook and the dog blows up)but it adds texture to the hot dog...the hot dog has a crunch when you bite into it.

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