Let’s Talk with Diane AS Stuckart

National Hot Day Day

by Diane A.S. Stuckart

Today is National Hot Dog Day, a celebration of what might be considered the USA’s original “fast food”. And unlike all the other foods that get their own holidays (yeah, you, National Artichoke Day), the intrepid wiener deserves every accolade it gets. Not just because they taste good, though that’s reason enough. It’s because this iconic sausage on a bun has permeated our culture in so many ways, and for so long.

Your grandpa didn’t shout, Ham Burger! when he wanted show enthusiasm for something really great. And your great-grandma didn’t term that show-off Ivy Leaguer at the dance a real pizza slice. Yep, the phrase “hot dog” has been around as an expression denoting hipness and coolness and recklessness since the late 19th century.

But that’s not all. If you’re a Disney fan, you might know that Mickey Mouse’s first spoken words on the silver screen (back when he was but a crudely drawn black-and-white outline) were “Hot dogs!”. And before that, hot dogs and baseball paired up in the early 1900s for what would become a permanent marriage of food and sport when the original sausage on bun first made an appearance at St. Louis Stadium.

And what other cuisine is responsible for, not one, but two memorable commercial jingles from the 1960s? In fact, I bet you’re singing one of those jingles in your head right now! If you’re old enough to remember the Oscar Mayer tune, in particular, you probably also recall that you once could get your very own Wiener Whistle sealed inside the package of hot dogs. Seriously, has any other meat product ever included a free toy?

Yep, hot dogs rule! You can get one anywhere – on a street corner, in front of a Home Depot, twenty four hours a day at 7-11, at Costco’s food court. What you top it with, however, is a whole other topic for another day. I’ll just say that my husband thinks the perfect dog consists of bun, wiener, ketchup, and hot mustard. The correct answer, however, is bun, wiener, mustard, relish, and sauerkraut. And anyone who disagrees with that is just a big old Oscar Mayer wiener!

So, what do you put on your hot dog…and will you have one today in honor of National Hot Dog Day?