One of the most popular fast foods, after hamburgers and pizzas has to be the underrated hot dog. And in preparation for International Hot Dog this Friday (17 July), we thought you’d like to…um, “beef up” on your knowledge of this sausage-in-a-bun that’s been around of years. Trust us, the kids will be impressed.
Historians believe that the origin of the Vienna sausage used in hot dogs can be traced all the way back to the Roman emperor Nero.
German immigrants to New York were the first to sell wiener sausages from a pushcart in the 1860s, which led to the modern-day ho tdog as we know it. There are many stories of people who claim to have brought together the wiener and the bun, but according to Josh Chetwynd, author of How the Hot Dog Found Its Bun, there are only two credible contenders:
One story takes place in the 1880s in St. Louis where hot dogs were referred to as “red hots”. A vendor was selling red hots on the city streets and passed out white gloves so people who bought them wouldn’t get burnt or have greasy hands. But after people began stealing the gloves, the vendor turned to his brother-in-law to help solve the problem. His brother-in-law, a baker, suggested the vendor pair a soft roll with the red hots. Voila – the complete hot dog!
Another story takes place on Coney Island, involving a man named Charles Feltman, who sold sandwiches on his cart. Unable to completely fill up his cart, he decided to sell something else and wondered if red hots could be added to a bun and eaten the same way as a sandwich. The rest is hot dog history..
5 kid-friendly hot dog alternatives
While good old tomato sauce is every kid’s favourite hot dog topping, the usual dog in a bun can get a bit boring. So, why not invite your kids into the kitchen and get them involved in making their own hot dogs. Simply microwave a vienna sausage, slice, and serve it in one of these fun ways:
- Mini skewers: Thread thin slices of hot dogs and small cheese cubes together to make two-bite skewers.
- Spider dogs: Create an edible “spider” by cutting into the ends of a hotdog. Gently pull these gangly “legs” apart and serve with two dots of mustard in the center of the dog for the spider “eyes”
- Edible centipede: Slice a hot dog in half lengthwise. Place half of the dog on a plate and cut into 2cm pieces. Pipe two mustard eyes up top and you’ve got a centipede kids can eat one bite at a time!
- Hot dog butterfly: Cut a hot dog into 10cm pieces. Place on top of two nacho cheese chips to create butterfly “wings” and serve!
- Rainbow dog: Slice a hot dog into 2cm pieces, then place in a bun. Pipe alternating lines of mustard and tomato sauce between each piece to create a colorful “rainbow” dog
Alternative hot dog toppings for the adults
In South Africa, the much-loved “boerie roll” is a close relative of the hot dog and is often served with chutney, chakalaka or fried onions, but the chefs from the Capsicum Culinary Studio in Johannesburg suggest the following:
- “I’m a lover of all things cheesy and spicy, so a mix of mozarella and gouda with jalapenos or piquant peppers is my go to topping” – Lungi Makiza
- “I like sriracha mayo to give a little spicy kick to the hot dog. I also like to add some fresh rocket for a peppery flavour” – Mark Coombe
- “Caramelised onions and blue cheese – yummy!” – Natasha Jooste
- “Mexican salsa with white cheddar cheese… Try it, and you’ll never look back.”- Bianca Jacobs
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