When I was a kid I grew up watching teenage American movies. There was this typical American street snack that caught my attention in baseball matches. Soon it became a dream that my mother refused to make it come true.
When I turned eighteen, I shifted to romantic comedies, and Meg Ryan brought it back in “addicted to love”. You see? I was destined to try one! Health wise; it’s the worst food you can eat. It is so bad that it ended in courts! To tick off this one item of my bucket list, I met with an American friend from Hawaii “Dorian” to have a sinful American hotdog, followed by a confession: it was awesome!
Between 1910 and 1919, Immigration was at its highest rank in America, bringing new flavours from Italian, German, Jewish, Chinese and Eastern European Kitchens. Soon, food terms such as Italian-American, Chinese-American and Jewish-American began popping up like rabbits.
Some dishes that are typically considered American have their origins in other countries; like hotdogs. Frankfurt was imported from Germany and popularised in America, sold at hotdog stands that became associated with baseball game and America. The association between hotdogs and baseball began as early as 1900 when Harry Stevens; an immigrant from England, and a food concessionaire; was unable to sell ice cream, and instead ordered his staff to collect together ‘dachshund sausages’, stuffing them into bread rolls and shouted Get your red hots! but a New York Post cartoonist who was recording the event, misspelled dachshund, so when he drew the cartoon, he called them hotdogs.
Despite many disputes over the claim to Stevens having been the inventor of the hot dog; The state of Ohio celebrated “Harry Stevens Hot Dog Day” in June 2013 with live music and hotdog dressing competition in honour of Harry Stevens.
Soon later, there were concerns and debates about the usage of dog meats, until Black Tuesday threw America into the Great Depression in 1930s forcing people to be economical and conserve meals. Protein, the most expensive part of the meal, had to be reduced and was substituted by cheap meals of hotdogs and burgers.
In America today, hotdog stands and trucks sell hotdogs at street and highway locations. At convenience stores, hotdogs are kept heated on rotating grills, and during Red Sox games, vendors traverse the stadium selling the hotdogs plain, giving customers the choice of adding the condiments.
Part of this trend also settled in Australia, hotdogs are sold in major NRL games at stadiums for as low as $3.00 for a plain bun, which is quiet a bland experience especially when there is a long queue and nothing else to eat.
My finest hotdog experience took place at Batch Burgers and Espresso at 3A Broughton St, Kirribilli; the hotdog cost 3 times more but tastes hundred times better! Topped with your choice of Tomato sauce and BBQ Sauce, mustard, and pickles, with the possibility of licking fingers without apologising or feeling guilty.
The safest way to eat a hotdog is at home, the recipe below has been modified. It still doesn’t guarantee you a healthy life but definitely a healthier choice since you know what’s going into it.
Hotdogs are best purchased from your local butcher. Go for the fresh ones that are low in fat & low in sodium.
Warm 2 bread rolls. Meanwhile, place 2 hotdogs in hot boiling water and cover it for 5 minutes. Instead of cheese, spread 1 tbsp of coleslaw salad in each roll and place the hotdogs, drizzle over tomato sauce and mustard.
Turn on the TV, flip to a sport channel, throw yourself on a couch and enjoy the doggies.