July 16, 2012
July is National Hot Dog Month. This is not a big surprise when you consider how many hot dogs we Americans consume (approximately 7 billion) on the 4th of July alone! However, when I learned this little fact, it did start me wondering about the history of the hot dog; so I set out on a little fact finding venture. Obviously the first hot-dog-like product we find historically is the sausage, which hails back as far as the 9th Century BC having been mentioned in Homer's Odyssey. In 1487 (five years before Columbus sailed to the New World) the frankfurter was created in - of all places - Frankfurt, Germany by a German butcher, Johann George Lahner, who developed sausages that were called both the frankfurter and the wiener. Once the hot dog crossed the ocean and emerged on American soil, the stories got more complicated. Everyone wants to claim this "all American" food to be their creation! In 1871, Charles Feltman, a German butcher, opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand. In New York, in 1900, a German immigrant sold a frank from a sidewalk pushcart called a "Dachshund sausage". By 1893, sausages became THE food to eat at baseball games. This treat was believed to be started by a St. Louis bar owner. However, it was not until the St. Louis World's Fair that a sausage-on-a-bun was made up to be called the "hot dog" for the first time.
Little known but exciting hot dog trivia:
- It takes 6.1 bites to consume an average hot dog.
- Al Capone and Cary Grant's favorite food was Nathan's Coney Island hot dog!
- Babe Ruth once ate 12 hot dogs and 8 bottles of soda between games in a double header. (He also reportedly went to the hospital later with severe indigestion).
- Nathan's holds an annual hot dog and bun eating contest. At present it appears the 2012 winner, Joey Chestnut, ate 68 Hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes!
Fun Hot Dog Reads: