LC Van Savage
The Delicasy from Aught Six>/h3>
Food. It’s been on all our minds during this recent American Holiday –-- Thanksgiving. We all know what the traditional dishes are for that day. However, there are other American traditional foods that are typically not served on Thanksgiving Day, but certainly on every other day, and one of those foodstuffs is, yes, the hot dog.
We all surely know the history of the Groaning Board thing on the last Thursday of each November, but what exactly is the history of the hot dog you ask yourself, and lucky you, I am here to provide you with some answers.
Back in aught six and I don’t mean 2006, sausages were a kind of novelty to Americans. They were well liked when people could get them and had a variety of names; frankfurters, red hots, franks, dachshund sausages and yes, I know what you’re thinking, wieners. But America is and always has been, over-stuffed with brilliant entrepreneurs and one of them back in aught was one Harry Stevens. He used to sell hot sausages to the ballgame goers at the old home of the NY Giants, the Polo Grounds. His hired hands strode about shouting, “Get your red hot dachshund sausages! “while carrying an insulated metal case full of the delicacies slung ‘round their necks.
That was a little awkward to shout out---kind of clumsy sounding, right? And kind of gross to those who owned and loved dachshunds as pets, so in time Harry and his workers just yelled out, “Get your red hot dogs here!” Or in New Yorkspeak, “Gitchya red hot dawgs heeah!” And another American tradition was born.
Funny though---the term “hot dog” kind of shot off in all directions. Who knew? “Hot dog!” became an exclamation for “Way cool!” or before that, “It’s good! I’m happy!” and even the beloved “Gee willikers!” and I have no idea of where “willikers” came from or what it means. But we all said it.
Then there was “hot diggity dog!” and I also don’t have a clue where “diggity” came from but I’ll admit to saying it a whole lot. And those of us of a certain age right now this moment can sing, “Hot diggity, dog diggity/ Boom what you do to me!” and yes, I can sing that whole song too, as did Perry Como in 1956.
And, a “hot dogger” became the phrase applied to humans who do dangerous, impossible and stupid things on skis, surf and skate boards, in airplanes, at the ends of bungee cords, and manage to mostly live and brag about it all later on.
Hot dogs, the kind we eat, appear to be a totally American invention, although I’ll bet the rent that other countries will demand equal time and insist it all started with them. Oh, but then another guy, a famous American cartoonist, named Thomas Aloysius Dorgan claims he started the name “hot dogs” although after years of research no one has found even one of his cartoons with a rendering of a hot dog in it. Everybody wants to get in on the act.
But who cares? Even with all the dark and frightening “news” of what “they” put into hot dogs, with all the negatives and bad press over the years, hot dogs have prevailed. Hey, they are delicious, fun, simple, can be eaten anywhere in any season, in or out of a bun, smothered in ketchup or mustard or relish or sauerkraut or all of the above, cooked inside or out on a grill, and they can even be nuked. I swear they are not made of ground dachshunds and folks, as we already know, hot dogs are here to stay.
Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.