Saturday, July 22, 2006

Entirely Too Much Wiener Information

I have never liked hot dogs. I like ketchup, mustard, onions, relish and even buns, but never the dog. It has never appealed to me. My mother will tell you that I sometimes ate them as a child but that was also lumped into a time that I now refer to as "when I was a brainwashed toddler." Further evidence of this truth is that I would also eat brussels sprouts and my only wish was to have my entire bedroom adorned in Strawberry Shortcake paraphernalia. See, I told you, brainwashed. I also like things having to do with hot dogs such as baseball games and street vendors. A friend from Chicago once told me that I couldn't go to Chicago with him unless I ate a hot dog, it wouldn't be a true Chicago visit. We never went to Chicago together.

Anyway, back to the hot dog. As much as I do not find them appealing, I do find them interesting. I mean, it's a stick of meat, people. What's not interesting about that?

Because I like to disgust myself early in the morning, I looked up how the hot dog is made. (If you love hot dogs, skip the rest of this post. It's for your own protection). Right away, I knew I'd made a serious mistake. Although I never intend to eat a hot dog, there are just some things a human should not know. Words like "grinder" and "meat binder and filler" should never be read by anyone, ever. Here is Wikipedia's take on commercial hot dog preparation:

Hot dogs are typically prepared commercially by mixing all of the ingredients (meats, spices, binders and fillers, if any) in large vats where rapidly moving blades grind and mix the ingredients in the same operation, assuring a homogeneous product. This mixture is then forced through tubes into casings for cooking. Most hot dogs sold in the US are called "skinless" as opposed to more expensive "natural casing" hot dogs.

Particularly interesting to me is how ground meat is shaped into hot dog form in the first place. Yet another mistake of my overly curious mind.

As with virtually all sausages, hot dogs must be in a casing in order to be cooked. Traditionally this casing is made from the thoroughly cleaned small intestines of sheep, and are known as "natural casing" hot dogs. These kinds of hot dogs are preferred by some for their firmer texture and the "snap" that releases juices and flavor when the product is bitten into.

The "snap." So that's what keeps us coming back. Yum.

Which bring us to the history of the hot dog. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (What? It's a real thing.) says the history of the hot dog is as interesting and controversial as the meat itself. There is an ongoing debate in the wiener world over where the hot dog, also known as the frankfurter or frank, originated. Hot dog fans are admirably idealistic. A large majority tend to agree that the hot dog originated in Frankfurt, Germany. However, there are wiener experts that have successfully proven the hot dog we know and love in America today originated in Europe. It was a common sausage and European immigrant butchers brought it- and it's casing- with them to the North Americas. No matter where they believe it was born though, hot dog connoisseurs agree on one thing: The hot dog (the sausage of the common man) is the oldest form of processed food known today. In fact, the hot dog was even mentioned in Homer's Oddessey as far back as the Ninth Century, B.C. Wieneriffic, no?

As you read this (if you've made it this far) you might wonder what brought on this interest in processed meat. Well, over the past few days some news stations and, as recently as today, The Today Show, have been running a story of two Colorado sisters and their hot dog. That's right, Flora Zimbelman and her sister, Rose, pranked each other with the same hot dog for fifty-four years. It all started when Flora put an uncooked hot dog in her sister's suitcase and left it for her to find later. The women spent the next fifty-four years shuttling it back and forth between their homes and always finding it in unsuspecting places; under their pillows, behind their curtains and in their drawers. Sadly, Rose lost her battle with cancer this year and the hot dog has since resided at Flora's as an everlasting reminder of her sister and the humor they shared.

In addition to this story, there is also the story of a Colorado man that has had a hot dog on the antenna of his car for five years. Richard Karroll was grilling hot dogs on July 4, 2001 when one fell off the grill. He figured no one would eat it so he stuck it on the antenna of his car. Five years and 80,000 miles later, the dog still stands. Not even a bird was tempted to nibble. "It appears to have become part of the antenna," Karroll says.

These stories say three things to me. First, there are people here in Colorado far more interesting than I'll ever be. Second, if a hot dog can survive fifty-four years of pranks or 80,000 miles of sun, rain and snow, we should not be eating it. Siding our house or building a canoe with them maybe, but not eating. And third, I need to start thinking of much better pranks to pull on my sister.

I always knew I was right. I knew I never sang the along with that hot dog commercial for a reason. Notice how they never sing "oh I wish I was stuffed inside a sterilized sheep intestine" or "I wish I were an 'all beef' frank with a dairy-based filler." Not me, thanks. Not me.

I'm going to a baseball game tonight and I don't know what I'll do when I see someone eating a hot dog. Maybe I'll ask them about the "snap."


Neil said...

I love hot dogs. So, I skipped over half of your post. I didn't want to know.

bollocks 12355 said...

Im English but occasionally I eat a nice hot dog, the rest of the time I drink piss warm beer & eat fish & chips and watch the soccer and bow and scrape to the Royal Family, me old cock sparrer!

puerileuwaite said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
puerileuwaite said...

Sorry. Had to correct a grammatical error.

Thank you JR for the public service. My current roofing material is only guaranteed for 40-years. So I have to at least consider hot dogs next time. Plus, if it repels birds (especially crows), all the better.

Sister Buckle said...

That's thesis standard research there, girl.

Sizzle said...

i hate hot dogs. i just took a picture of the hot dogs at target that go round and round and round for hours. ewww. grossout! but those stories with the hot dogs lasting years? that is just foul. imagine what it does to your insides!?

i am so glad i don't eat them.

justrun said...

Neil- Good boy.

Mack- I'd rather have beer and fish & chips any time, even if the beer is warm and the fish is cold.
Thanks for visiting.

Pueriluewaite- Seriously, huh.

SB- You would not believe how easy it was to find that information. One click leads to another and another. Truly disgusting.

Sizz- I know... gag, huh?

justacoolcat said...

Was it amusing to everyone that your longest post as of yet was about weiner?

Or is it just me?

Bre said...

I'm much more of a cheeseburger person, myself.... but I'm a sucker for "dollar dog night" at the Phillies games... I skipped most of this too... Don't want to loose THAT!

justrun said...

JACC- Trust me, no one was more surprised than me. I can't even begin to analyze that one.

Bre- Oh heck yeah, I am completely into the cheeseburger.

GirlGoyle said...

Well it was like watching a car wreck...I couldn't stop reading. I got to the bottom and snapped - YUCK!!!! I can just see those sharp blades going round and round in vats of left over meats and fat. Oh how gross! Thanks by the way...for the visual. Ya...thanks!

P.S. Word verification today says it all - Hekzz

Celina said...

I already know all this (even watched the "specials" on Food Network/History Channel), and I still like hot dogs! YUM! :) Personally, I think sausage is "grosser" (you know, with all the chunks of STUFF)! But, great post, anyways!