This is a special little request from Maggie over at The Zombies Ate my Brains…
In the US – the hot dog can be just about anything. Technically, it’s a thin cylinder of ground meat – usually a blend of a couple different proteins – various flavorants and binders, heated until cooked through, then slapped on a thicker tube of sliced, baked bread product before being garnished with the consumer’s choice from a cornucopia of sauces, veggies and seasonings.
We have the world-famous Chicago-style Red-Hots… This is an all beef dog, white-bread bun with poppy-seeds baked into the top, garnished with sweet pickle relish, onions, mustard, tomato, a dill pickle spear, sport peppers and just a shot of celery salt.
They take their dogs seriously in the windy city…
We also have your ‘Gourmet-blend’ dogs – which are ‘flavored with a bounty of the freshest herbs and spices,’ have a ‘special coarse-grind blend of the finest cuts of beef and pork,’ and come in an all-natural casing… served hot and steamy on a 7 grain ‘artisan’ bun, lovingly topped with a generous portion of garlic-and-Parmesan aioli.
In the tiny town of Waterloo, WI – they have a festival around dogs called Weiner & Kraut days. Every man, woman and child within a 5 county radius descend on this small town for an entire weekend to devour all the hot dogs they can eat, with as much sourkraut, mustard and onions as can be (un)reasonably crammed atop the bun.
They use the collected gastro-emissions to power the town all winter long.
We have your standard, mass-produced industrial sausages – sold with catchy jingles, cartoon-dogs dancing the night away, and, if you’re lucky, you might just get a Weenie-whistle from the spokes-Weenie-wagon as it passes through your home town.
But only if you can sing the jingle…
Hell, we Wisconsinites even tied the hot dog to our Baseball team. At any Brewer’s game throughout the season, the half-time show includes the Klement’s Sausage Races.
Everywhere, throughout the States, you can find this ubiquitous processed meat-product. They’re in convenience stores on the special roller-grills. They’re in concession stands in parks, stadiums, fairgrounds, and all your better tourist traps. Hell, in the bigger cities, there are even these little carts that some guy pushes around on the street – dogs on the go, for those on the go…anytime…anyplace!
And…of course – every day the temperature reaches above 50 degrees in this state – you can bet your last dollar that some fella has fired up the grill in the backyard to flame-roast these special little tube steaks in an attempt to blot out the memory of winter.
I prefer my hot dogs coarse grind, natural casing, slightly spicy, with a good, grainy mustard and plenty of raw onions. Occasionally, I’ll go for either chili or sourkraut – but I gotta be in juuuuuuuuuuust the right mood.
the Wasband, on the other hand, worships ketchup. In his mind, that shit goes on everything. Dogs? Ketchup. Enough to float the Titanic. Steak? Ketchup. Enough to kill the taste. Fish? Ketchup. Enough to make the breading soggy. He likes his ketchup with a sprinkling of french fries, and adds the vile stuff to chili. He’s the only person I’ve ever seen take one of the little ketchup packets given out by any take-out restaurant, tear the foil, and suck the package dry.
I personally disliked ketchup before I went keto. Now…you might as well just sit with the sugar bowl and spoon the crystallized stuff directly into your mouth while sucking on a tomato.
It’s. That. Sweet.
But to the Wazband – ketchup is not a condiment. It’s a vegetable…and one that needs to be consumed in mass quantities at every meal.
On one of our day vacations, we went to one of the summer water-park tourist traps in the area. We spent the day frolicking in the huge pool of antiseptically-clean water, appropriately themed with fiberglass statues and carefully selected plants interspersed through and around the concrete walkways with an estimated 209,000 other people who had the same idea.
For me…this was the perfect opportunity to work on my sunburn. Nothing turns my pale skin the color of a freshly boiled lobster faster than spending time in the center of a gigantic, sunlight-reflecting pool of water.
For the record, I have two skin tones…red and white. There are no shades of brown in between.
We splashed in the shallows, rode innertubes in the wave pool, and stood in line for the water slides, the toilets, the single patch of shade hidden in the middle of this concrete jungle.
When tummies started growling, we ducked out of the water to stand in line for one of the multitude of vendor stands surrounding the park.
Their specialty was ‘The Best Damn Hot Dogs in the Dells…’
By this point, I swear my skin was audibly sizzling…and a table opened up IN THE SHADE. I rattled off a very simple order to the Wazband, and ran to claim the table before I burst into active flame.
He brought to the table our Cokes, two orders of fries, and a plate full of ketchup. He swore to me there ware actual hot dogs, in buns, under the red goop.
I bit my tongue.
Counted to 10.
Bit my tongue again.
Selected an even higher number.
Chomped on that sucker a third time….just in case.
And asked – deadpan: ‘Why is there an ocean of ketchup on my hot dog?’
He hadn’t considered, even though we’d been a couple for at least a decade at this point, that I despise ketchup. He’d dressed the dogs to his preference without any thought.
I ate a lot of fries that afternoon. He ate the hot dogs. There was no saving them from the red menace.
NEVER leave a man alone with your hot dog. They can’t be trusted.
And I still have tooth-marks on my tongue.