Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Sausages have been documented as far back as the 9th century, and Germany gets the lion’s share of the credit for the origin of the frankfurter (things from cities in Germany are identified with the city of origin by adding the “er” at the end, a person from Hamburg is a Hamburger for example). Frankfurt was the shizz back in the day, long before there was a unified Germany and city-states were the norm.

Famous Dog....not tasty
When Europeans discovered/invaded/stole the land we now call the United States of America they naturally brought much of their national foods with them (thank you Italy...go to hell England). With New York City being the target of many immigrants from across the pond it wasn’t long before pushcarts begin selling frankfurters on the streets of circa the 1860’s.

Famous Dog...somewhat tasty (properly cooked)
In 1893, during the Columbian Exposition in Chicago is the widely accepted event in which vendors sold the small sausages, which were popular due to being inexpensive and easy to eat, on a bun. Thus was born the hot dog. And during the same year the Germans of all people started an American tradition. German immigrant Chris Von de Ahe, who owned the St. Louis Browns major league baseball team, started serving hot dogs at the ballpark. The idea sort of caught on.

How popular did hot dogs at ballpark become? Fast forward to 2013. Last year baseball fans at 20,421,361 hot dogs. That’s over TWENTY MILLION dogs. And that was ONLY at the Major League ballparks of which there are 30. There are many, many more Minor League parks, High School fields etc. You get the picture. If you are watching some hardball and skip the dog you are downright un-American.
Famous Dog in Natural Habitat...very tasty

I can’t really put my finger on what makes a dog a the park taste differently. I, like many eaters, don’t eat a lot of hot dogs outside of the ballpark. But once I plunk my butt down on the bleachers watching my team toss the horsehide around it just doesn’t seem right until I have downed a dog. Maybe it is eating it outside, maybe it just compliments the sight, sounds and smells of a baseball park….I really don’t know But I do know this: this summer, I have more than 30 chances to find out. The road trip begins Saturday.

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