July 23 is National Hot Dog Day.
The origin of the hot dog: Historians say the “little sausages” first appeared in America when 19th century German immigrants began selling them from push carts in NYC.
The name “hot dog” is often attributed to cartoonist who observed the carts selling “red hot dachshund dogs” on the New York Polo grounds and was unable to spell dachshund, so he printed “hot dogs” instead. However, this cartoon has not been found, prompting many historians to question the legend’s accuracy. The immigrant vendors of the time also brought their dachshund dogs, prompting their carts to be called dog wagons. Possessing good humor, these vendors were known to tease that their sausages were made from their dachshunds. Certainly, this was nothing more than a friendly joke, but this may be where the term “hot dog” was coined.
Franks and wieners were the original name for the americanized hot dogs and named for their hometowns, Frankfurt, Germany and Vienna, Austria. While hot dogs, franks and wieners are commonly used interchangeably today, a frank typically refers to an all-beef product, while a wiener usually contains pork.
- The saying “as American as hot dogs, apple pie and baseball” comes from the fact that most hot dogs in America are consumed during baseball games. In fact, it’s estimated that baseball fans will consume more than 26 million hot dogs at US baseball stadiums this season.
- Association with hot dogs and baseball began as early at 1893 with Chris von der Ahe, German immigrant who owned St. Louis Browns and Amusement Park.
- The most popular hot dog topping among adults? It’s mustard, at 87.6%. Among kids, it’s ketchup.
- More hot dogs are eaten in Los Angeles than anywhere else in the country, beating out it’s old rival New York City which now comes in second.
- We consume so many hot dogs, in so many venues, that the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council hesitates to forecast consumption. But, it does report that each year we buy over 837 million packages of hot dogs at retail outlets.
- According to the National Hot Dog Council, Americans eat about 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
- Speaking of the Big Apple, the nation’s most famous competitive eating contest takes place each year during Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on the 4th of July in Coney Island.
Put hot dog toppings between the hot dog and the bun. Always “dress the dog,” not the bun. Condiments should be applied in the following order: wet condiments like mustard and chili are applied first, followed by chunky condiments like relish, onions and sauerkraut, followed by shredded cheese, followed by spices, like celery salt or pepper.
Eat hot dogs on buns with your hands. Utensils should not touch hot dogs on buns.
Take more than five bites to finish a hot dog. For foot-long wiener, seven bites are acceptable.
Lick away condiments remaining on the fingers after eating a hot dog.
Use ketchup on your hot dog after the age of 18. Mustard, relish, onions, cheese and chili are acceptable.