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. 
 "College students." 
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).
Dog Run
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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