The hot dog: fun in a bun | Sunday Observer

The hot dog: fun in a bun

All of us have had our culinary indulgence with the hot dog. The fact that it is easy to make, and more easier to eat keeps it at the top in terms of fast food in many countries, with pizza and burghers dominating second place.

Sri Lanka has not been influenced that strongly with the succulent sausage in a baked bun, but for decades it was a famous snack and best bite on a long trip.

So how did this humble item gain our foodies attention decades ago?

Many claim and defiantly defend that the hot dog originated in Frankfurt, Germany. The German pork sausage known as frankfurter has a regal history from the 13th century- it was served as a coronation treat for Emperor Maximilan. Later in the 18th century a butcher named Johan Lahner is said to have mixed both the pork and beef and enhanced the recipe.

In these times hotdog casings were made from the small intestines of sheep. In German speaking nations people refer to the hot dog sausage as wiener. St.Louis a town in Missouri, USA also has a claim for selling the sausage in a bun. It was sold by Feuchtwanger, a German immigrant. In 1867 a man from Coney Island, New York redefined the humble bun by making a custom built stand with a stove for boiling the sausages and served them in a bun. Even today the Coney Island hot dogs made by Charles Feltman decades ago are venerated as the original version. In this era some foodies remained skeptical of the hot dog as they feared real dog meat was used in the hot dog!!

So how did we get the name hot dog?

I guess the credit for that goes to sports cartoonist Thomas Dorgan who often made fun of drawing German people as dachshunds (today known by some as a sausage dog), and created a cartoon of a talking hot dog. The hot dog became a sensation captivating the American public. In 1939 President Franklin Roosevelt served a hotdog to King George VI on a state picnic. The world’s longest hotdog measuring 197 feet was made by a Japanese company Shizuoka in 2006.

Hot dog eating competitions are common in the US and spreading to other countries as well. The world record for eating hotdogs is held by a 39 year old Japanese man Takeru Kobayashi who ate 69 hotdogs (2016). He also holds the world record for eating 62 wedge of pizza in Canada. The world’s most expensive hotdog is sold in Seattle costing 169 dollars. The bun holds a 12 inch sausage and is layered with grilled onions, wagyu beef, black truffles, maitake mushrooms, caviar and Japanese mayo.