I browsed the greeting cards this morning at the 5 & 10 but could not find one appropriate for today, National Hot Dog Day. Something on a nice mustard hued card stock. Something featuring a cute dachshund on a bun perhaps. That’s what I had in mind.
Originally called a dachshund sausage, the word hotdog was coined in 1901 by a sports cartoonist named Tad Dorgan. With the vendors voices ringing in his head – Get your Dachshund Sausages! – Mr Dorgan made an unsuccessful stab at spelling Dachshund before simply applying the moniker hotdog. I wonder if Mr Dorgan ate his dog with a tad bit of mustard.
Personally I like a hotdog that snaps when you bite it. That snap would be the natural casing bursting in your teeth. Then the juice squirts out. Delish. With mustard. Although I would eat a hotdog any which way. I love the New York System dogs served in Providence, RI, with their thin, finely textured meat sauce. Meat on meat. Hmm. Weird but good. A dirty water dog will do in a pinch, especially if you load it up with condiments.
Speaking of condiments, the experts at the National Hotdog and Sausage Council strictly recommend applying condiments to the dog and not the bun, and in this order: first wet (mustard for example), then chunky (relish or onions), then cheese if desired, then any spices.
Now for something truly gruesome, a hotdog octupus.
For instructions on making your own Hoctodog look here.
Which brings to mind a personal hotdog cooking tragedy. Picture this, a gorgeous fall Vermont morning. Think archetypic – crystal clear blue sky, a chilly edge to the air, bit of a breeze, the sun giving everything a sparkle. My friend has a burn permit and a gigantic pile of brush. We think, bonfire! Pull up a couple chairs, drink coffee, read the Sunday Times, if it burns long enough maybe grill some wienies on sticks for lunch.
As the satisfaction from breakfast waned and our lunch appetites waxed, the fire soldiered on, red hot, smoldering embers spread across the flat patch of soil. I know what you are thinking – out of control fire. Nope. Worse.
What we needed were some nice long, strong sticks for our dogs, but we could not find any – musta burned em all up. My brainy idea was to use a steel (the spearlike thing you use to put an edge on a knife), attaching a long heavy skewer to it with…hmmm….what? I know! A hair elastic, a thick one. That’s what was lying about.
Next brainy idea: cut slits in the ends of my dog. There is a name for this – twizzler dog, or fringy dog or pom pom dog, but something more clever that I can’t remember. You see, the slits create more surface, more surface to singe, more crispy stuff. Ideal. Poked my custom dog onto the skewer and headed to the fire. Found a hot spot and vigilantly stood over it, rotisseri-ing the handle of the steel, spinning the dog slowly, patiently.
As the hotdog expanded from the inferno, the ends sprung out like a scared mop, and the skin torched into crunchy perfection. My mouth was watering and I was dreaming contentedly of brown mustard when ~ SNAP ~ the hair elastic popped, my contraption separated and my dream dog plopped into the ashes. Damn, what an irretrievable mess, all that nice surface coated evenly with fine, gray dust. It was a Hebrew National. Sigh.