FWIW: Two "hot dog" articles this week
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Wed Aug 31 02:00:19 UTC 2005
Two "hot dog" articles, for what they're worth.
Frank talk about hot dogs
By Marialisa Calta
Newspaper Enterprise Association
August 30, 2005
You may think of a hot dog as something to grill for your end-of-summer
Labor Day barbecue, but Professor Gerald Cohen of the University of
Missouri-Rolla thinks of it as something of an etymological hot potato.
That's because the origin of the phrase has been much clouded by myth that
Cohen, led by fellow researcher Barry Popik and aided by the late David
Shulman, has at last been put to rest in "The Origins of the Phrase 'Hot Dog' "
(2004), a limited edition, 293-page tome of linguistic detective work.
This may seem like a lot of pages devoted to a single slang phrase. But to
Cohen, who wrote two books on the origin of the term "shyster" and whose heroes
include the late Allen Walker Reed, who spent some part of 50 years
researching the colloquialism "OK," that's what it took to get the job done.
Many culinary dictionaries say that the Frankfurter sausage was given the
name "hot dog" by T.A. "Tad" Dorgan, a sports cartoonist in New York City in the
early 1900s. Legend has it that Dorgan drew a cartoon of dachshund-shaped
sausages with legs being sold at the Polo Grounds. Stumped by the spelling of
the word "Dachshund," it is said, Dorgan simply labeled the cartoon "hot
Although Dorgan did draw a similar cartoon several years later, using a
bicycle race at Madison Square Garden as a backdrop, the "Polo Grounds hot dog
cartoon" has never surfaced, becoming a sort of Holy Grail for the Dorgan
faction of etymologists.
"The reason it has never surfaced -- are you sitting down? -- is because it
doesn't exist," says Cohen, who has offered a $200 reward for the cartoon.
As it turns out, the origin of the phrase is a bit darker, and a lot more
"What group often combines a keen sense of humor with bad taste?" Cohen asks.
In the 19th century, dog meat did actually turn up in sausages. Popik,
Cohen's colleague (and a man who has done groundbreaking research on "Big Apple"
and "Windy City," among other phrases) discovered it was a group of 1894 or
1895 Yale students who started applying the phrase "hot dog" to sausage.
Concerns about the contents of hot dogs have abounded ever since, most
currently focused on the amount of fat, salt and nitrites in many brands. But none
of it seems to hamper sales. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council
(_www.hot-dog.org_ (http://www.hot-dog.org/) ), says Americans eat about 2 billion
pounds of hot dogs every year (stats on sausages, which are often sold in
non-standard packages, are harder to come by; but sales are increasing). The
biggest season for the hot dog runs from July 4 through Labor Day.
Even the "nutrition police" among us would not try to deny folks their hot
dogs, especially not with a big holiday weekend coming up. Janice Newell Bissex
and Liz Weiss, nutritionists and authors of "The Mom's Guide to Meal
Makeovers" (Broadway Books, 2004) advise that you "err on the side of caution" and
seek out nitrite-free brands.
Elizabeth Karmel, author of "Taming the Flame" (Wiley Publishing, 2005),
gives basic instructions for grilling hot dogs, knackwurst (all-beef sausages,
slightly more substantial than hot dogs), and other sausages. The following
recipes are all from "Taming the Flame: Secrets for Hot-and-Quick Grilling and
Low-and-Slow BBQ" by Elizabeth Karmel (Wiley Publishing, 2005).
The great regional frankfurters, in NYC
by Nina Lalli
August 25th, 2005 5:22 PM
In these last summer days, let's take a moment to celebrate the great hot
dog, a lovably humble food, in its many, many forms. Almost everywhere you go,
dogs are prepared strictly according to a local style.
Before a recent vacation to Maine, I received a slew of tips on favorite
lobster shacks and where to get the best steamers and clam rolls. But to my
surprise, the advice most passionately and repeatedly pressed upon me was not to
miss a shack called _Flo's_ (http://www.floshot%20dogs.com/) , which
specializes in hot dogs.
When a shellfish timeout was imperative, I remembered the urgent looks in the
eyes of people who had been there and their desperate imploring: "You must
get the special!" We ignored the suggestion of our lovely innkeeper, also a
cop, for the fancy places in town. This was instinctive—if I wanted wasabi
foam, I'd have eaten it in New York, most likely years ago. On the coast of
Maine, I was eager for regional fare. I always want whatever is inside a roadside
Flo's has been in place since 1959, and is only open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. A
line stretched out the door when I arrived. Everyone seemed giddy, hopped up
on hot dog anticipation. Their eyes were wide and some seemed to be
practicing their orders—their lips moved as they crept forward. Eventually, Gail
Stacy (who one thinks of as "Flo," though in fact the real Flo was her
mother-in-law), called out from behind the counter, "Can I have two more come inside?"
I stepped in, and closed the screen door behind me, in the face of a burly
guy who had brought his son. The line was an orderly, squished "U," and the men
stooped so as not to bump their heads on the ceiling. "Flo" immediately
asked how many dogs we wanted, and later, how we wanted them. Dutifully, we
requested the special, which is slathered in her legendary relish, a thin squirt
of mayonnaise, and a sprinkle of celery salt.
Like everyone else, we wound up purchasing a few jars of the relish, which,
at $7.95, proves Flo is no fool. When one woman ordered just a hot dog, the
proprietress launched into a friendly but persuasive sales pitch about the
relish. "Some people call it Flo's sauce, some call it Flo's relish, and some
people just call it sauce," she said. Meanwhile, the sign above her head
advertised Flo's famous "hot sauce." She asked the customer whether she was aware
that you could use the sauce on hamburgers as well as hot dogs, and that it
made a great marinade? "You could even put it on fish!" The woman added one jar
to her order, and Flo went back to her steamed buns and scrawled list of
orders. She was the only employee there.
We took our dogs outside and experienced the cult of Flo's. The relish is
dark, sweet and sour, and reminiscent of French onion soup or English-style
relish, but with salty anchovies and tamarind in the background. The hot dog
itself was superior, and the steamed bun loyally stuck to its sides like a slice
of wonder bread sticks to the roof of a kid's mouth. The mayonnaise goo-ed it
all together and made it just sick enough to inspire fanaticism. Flo's motto
is: "Secrets locked inside."
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