Welcome to Hot Dog Season!

Welcome to Hot Dog Season!

Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

We have officially entered “Hot Dog Season,” as July ushers in National Hot Dog Month. It appears that 74 million Americans will be barbequing this 4th of July. What will we be serving? One hundred fifty million hot dogs! Yep, that’s enough to stretch from Washington D.C. to Los Angelous. Five times. Holy mustard! Americans consume 20 billion hot dogs a year, which translates to 70 for every man, woman and child.

Historians claim that in Ancient Rome, Emperor Nero’s chef Gaius, first made a version of the hot dog by rolling stuffed pig intestines. Later, the German immigrants brought sausages to America and a visionary named Nathan Handwerker made the first hot dogs. He became the founder of Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs.

The reason why hotdogs come in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight has been a long, unsolved mystery that has spanned decades. The answer seems to be that hot dogs are sold by weight and each wiener weighs 1.6 ounces, making 10 hot dogs a “perfect” pound. Maybe, but more likely we have ten in a package because they have been sold this way since 1940.

One math teacher in Phoenix claims there should be a mandatory question that high school students must answer before graduation: How many packages of hot dogs (10 in a pack) and packages of buns (8 in a pack) must you purchase to have an equal amount of both?

Perhaps the greatest debate regarding hot dogs is what condiments should be used. If you are from Chicago, please stop reading, because what I am about to say might destroy you. Ketchup is pretty good on a hot dog! Okay, add a little mustard, maybe relish, but this boycotting of ketchup, one of the greatest “food enhancement” discoveries of all time, is just crazy.

I do have “hot dog” standards though. I read where a famous chef has a recipe for all of us to try next time we grill a hot dog. Take the wieners and toss them in some garlic infused olive oil, then roll in rosemary and thyme. Place the hot dogs on the grill and then make a mango-mayo-relish mixture to spread on the dogs. No ordinary buns! Get Italian rolls and brown quickly on the barbeque before cutting the hot dogs in half and placing in said bun with sprouts, feta cheese and dill pickles. And that is how you screw up a perfectly good barbecue!

Have ten minutes to spare? Joey Chestnut holds the world record of eating 76 hot dogs (and buns) at the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. In ten minutes. Oh, to be a champion and get to wear the coveted “bejeweled” mustard-yellow belt an astonishing fifteen times. Not sure how one can accomplish this feat, but rumor has it could become an Olympic sport.

This July 4th celebrate by lighting up the grill, flying the flag, maybe watching fireworks or a parade. Enjoy the “Hot Dog Season” with friends and family. Eat like a champion. Relish the holiday. Have your own eating contest – where the wiener takes all.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Contact Judy at [email protected] or visit www.arouondthebluhmintown.com.

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