Menu Close

Hot Dogs

Author Shelley Fraser Mickle
Air Date 7/25/2000

Hot Dogs Transcript

I can’t remember the first time I ate a hot dog. But I can remember the first time a hot dog slipped out of its bun while I was eating it. I was five, and the mustard ruined my dress.

In fact, my whole childhood was dotted with mustard and catsup and memories of weenies on sticks roasted over an open fire in someone’s backyard. Oh! How wonderful it was to be sent into the outskirts of Billey Dwyer’s backyard by Mr. Dwyer to hunt out the perfect stick to roast a hot dog on. Meanwhile, Mr. Dwyer himself was stoking up a backyard fire. It was important that the stick not have many curves in it and that it be thin. It had to be green, too, so it wouldn’t catch on fire. Mr. Dwyer would take out his pocket knife and sharpen the end of your stick to the point of a pencil. We would then thread the long fat body of a hot dog on it and hold it over the fire. I remember many of my sticks bowing under the weight and forming a rainbow arch onto the center of the fire, which got the fat inside of it hissing and cracking so that sometimes it just slid on off the stick right into the middle of the fire. When this happened, the older kids always made fun of you. But then, sooner or later, it would happen to them. On, hot dog roasting was a great equalizer. 

Actually the hot dog got its name in 1905 when a Chicago cartoonist, Thomas Dorgan, at the age of 29 drew a picture of a dachshund inside of a frankfurter bun. Quick to cook and easy to store, hot dogs have led a good life in America. However, in 1917, there was a rumor about hot dogs on Coney Island. A fellow named Nathan Handwerker was selling them for 5 cents, and the other hot dog dealers spread the word that a 5 cent ho tdog could make you sick. But Nathan Handwerker was no slouch. He hired people to stand around his hot dog stand wearing white jackets with stethoscopes hanging out of their pockets. He then spread the word that doctors from Coney Island Hospital were eating his 5 cent hot dogs like nobody’s business. 

The truth is, I think, that no matter what anybody says about a hot dog, they’re here for good. Well, just take me as an example. I’ve slapped chili on the, sliced them up and fried them in a pan, cut them into sections and drowned them in beans, and even eaten them cold and then denied it. 

Yeah, you can’t grow up in America without having a long, personal history with hot dogs. 

Posted in Food, Stories