Hi Listeners! Anna and Lia are about to get frank with you, because this episode is all about Hot Dogs! Prepare to play detective as Anna Van Valin, our Foodlosopher, helps us solve the mysteries of the mystery meat in the Deep Dish: Is the mismatch between the number of buns and wieners in a pack a conspiracy? Is the Hot Dog a sandwich? And the question we’re all afraid to ask: Why do we call it a hot “dog”??? But first, Lia Ballentine, our Chef-Creator, gives us the history of the frankfurter and how it became a classic American food, the national food council behind the biggest hot dog celebration of the year and it’s fearless leader “The Queen of Wien.” Plus, you’ll relish the story of the bitter rivalry behind two legends of the competitive eating world: Takeru Kobayahi and Joey Chestnut. Franks for listening!
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Explore more from the show:
* Check out the official website of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council here.
* Learn the proper way to eat a hot dog in this etiquette guide.
* Watch the trailer for “The Good, The Bad, The Hungry."
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0:00:01.6 Anna Van Valin: At some point it has had monikers that included the word sandwich so like Chicago's signature hot dog was known at some point as the depression sandwich.
0:00:13.1 Lia Ballentine: Oh, like, I guess during the great depression.
0:00:16.6 AV: Yeah, it was very cheap, it was like. And so it was called a depression sandwich, which, I mean, any sandwich can be a depression sandwich.
0:00:25.1 LB: Yeah.
0:00:25.5 AV: Depending on how your day is going.
0:00:27.3 LB: I've had some sad sandwiches before.
0:00:32.0 AV: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Every Day is a Food Day. A show about the stories of scandals, history and holidays behind your favorite foods.
0:00:56.6 LB: I'm Lia Ballentine, a chef creator.
0:01:00.1 AV: And I'm Anna van Valin, your resident foodlosopher.
0:01:02.0 LB: Today we're on a roll because this episode is all about hot dogs. First off, I'm going to tell you about how we got this classic American food. Why the biggest hot dog cookout of the year happens on Capitol Hill and the powerful National Hot Dog and Sausage Council led by a woman who calls herself the Queen of Wein.
0:01:20.4 AV: Then we're gonna solve some mysteries of the mystery meat in the deep dish is the mismatch between the number of buns and hot dogs and in a pack actually the product of a conspiracy, who makes the final call on whether a hot dog is in fact, a sandwich. Why do we call it a hot dog? And do we really wanna know?
0:01:39.2 LB: Every Day is a Food Day is up for two People's Choice podcast awards, and we need your vote. Go to podcastawards.com, follow the instructions to vote and nominate us in the arts and best female hosted categories. We'll put the link in the show notes for you. Voting closes July 31st.
0:01:56.7 AV: If you wanna support this women and BIPOC created is independent podcast, click the, buy me a coffee link in the show notes or on our website to help us cover the cost of production. And please leave us a rating and review.
0:02:08.1 LB: For more delicious content about these foods and stories and a peak behind the scenes. Check out the links in our show notes to visit our website, join our mailing list and connect with us on social media at the screen name at Food Day Pod, including our monthly Instagram lives.
0:02:22.5 AV: Hey Lia.
0:02:25.4 LB: Hey Anna.
0:02:29.3 AV: We're talking about hot dogs.
0:02:30.4 LB: We sure are. I'm exited.
0:02:31.9 AV: It's summer.
0:02:32.8 LB: I know.
0:02:34.2 AV: Grills out. It's hot dog time. Do you have topping loyalty?
0:02:37.6 LB: I know it's wrong, but I do put ketchup on mine.
0:02:40.9 AV: We'll discuss.
0:02:42.5 LB: I've heard it's wrong.
0:02:44.1 AV: We'll discuss people have opinions. There is official statements.
0:02:47.6 LB: I mean, I'll do ketchup mustard relish. I'll eat it with no toppings. [laughter] if I don't have any available, I will just eat it. I could do a chili dog. I gotta get my gut ready for it though.
0:03:00.5 AV: Yeah, you have to be prepared. You don't pick a chili dog on a whim. No.
0:03:05.0 LB: No. You have to be so prepared and know that you probably should go home after you eat the chili dog. If you're not already at home.
0:03:12.6 AV: Yeah.
0:03:13.3 LB: My first experience with hot dogs was in spaghetti. [laughter] so...
0:03:18.3 AV: What?
0:03:18.6 LB: Anna, have you heard of Filipino spaghetti?
0:03:21.1 AV: You've mentioned like sweet spaghetti, but that, that in and of itself is a question mark for me, but it's not speed and sweet spaghetti with hot dogs, right?
0:03:28.9 LB: Yeah. It's sweet spaghetti.
0:03:30.1 AV: What? Oh my gosh.
0:03:31.3 LB: Yeah.
0:03:31.7 AV: Okay.
0:03:32.4 LB: It's a different for sure.
0:03:33.5 AV: Start from the beginning.
0:03:34.4 LB: Filipino spaghetti is spaghetti noodles. Like your boxed pasta with hot dogs and instead of a marinara sauce, it's banana ketchup. It's sweet.
0:03:44.2 AV: I don't know how to wrap my head around this. I'm gonna have to try it.
0:03:46.9 LB: You can try it. That's the great thing. There's, you can get the jolly spaghetti at Jollibee. So I know there's Jollibee near you. I think there's a Jollibee in San Antonio.
0:03:55.0 AV: Jollibee is Filipino fast food, right?
0:03:57.4 LB: Yeah. It's like our McDonalds.
0:04:00.3 AV: So what happened the first time you saw a hot dog in a bun were you like, this is all wrong?
0:04:05.2 LB: Well. When I saw it, I was like, this is American [laughter] and I'm going to eat my hot dog the American way. Now that I'm in America. I remember having field day at school in elementary school. And the lunch was like hot dogs. And they let you have soda that day, which was like really crazy. And I thought this, yeah. I feel like a real American kid now eating my hot dog in a bun with a tiny bag of Lay's potato chips classic and in a Coca-Cola. It was great.
0:04:32.6 AV: It doesn't get much more American than that. Unless they like handed you a slice of apple pie and an Eagle flew overhead.
0:04:38.8 LB: Oh, if only. [laughter]
0:04:43.7 AV: So then there's Oscar Mayer Weiner. Yeah. And the Oscar Mayer Weiner song, which we all know and it's a catchy jingle. And then I think at some point as an adult, I thought about the words and I was like, oh no, this child is like, the only way anyone will love me is if I'm a consumable tube of meat.
0:05:02.7 LB: Oh, how sad? I've never really thought about the, the lyrics to the Oscar Mayer Weiner song.
0:05:08.0 AV: Did I just ruin it for everyone? [laughter] and everyone would be in love with me. [laughter] I wanna be like kid you're worthy. You don't need to change.
0:05:17.2 LB: My baloney has a first name. [laughter]
0:05:22.3 AV: It needs some real friends.
0:05:24.5 LB: It was kind of fancy. If you could get Oscar Mayer Wieners.
0:05:27.9 AV: Really? Like the name brand.
0:05:29.3 LB: Yeah. The name brand. The name brand hot dog.
0:05:31.3 AV: That's true. I'm sure my dad exclusively bought the Wegman's house brand [laughter] of hot dogs.
0:05:37.9 LB: Mine did not have a first name. [laughter]
0:05:41.3 AV: But Wegmans always comes up with like a catchy name. So it would be like the Wegdog. Oh yeah.
0:05:45.9 LB: That's way cuter than Oscar Mayer.
0:05:48.9 AV: I heard that you might be getting a visit.
0:05:50.9 LB: Oh yeah. You know that you can track the Oscar Mayer Weiner mobile. So you will never miss it if it's near you.
0:05:57.6 AV: You can.
0:05:58.6 LB: Oh yeah. If you go to the Oscar Mayer website, there is a map and it's updated with all the locations where this Weiner mobile will be next. And I just found out it's gonna be at the HEB near me next week. So maybe by the time you listen to this, I would've already had my fun at the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.
0:06:15.8 AV: Do you think that you will need like a special license to drive the Wienermobile...
0:06:20.8 LB: It's got its own classification on.
0:06:23.3 AV: It does.
0:06:23.3 LB: The license. There's like commercial and then there's Wienermobile.
0:06:27.1 AV: And There's Wienermobile.
0:06:29.3 AV: Well, that is going to be very, very cool.
0:06:31.1 LB: Yeah. I'm excited.
0:06:31.3 AV: I can't believe it's not just like a list of dates, like a rock tour, like a music tour.
0:06:36.6 LB: Oh, but wouldn't that be cool.
0:06:38.6 AV: Oh yeah. And then you could get a t-shirt that is like...
0:06:40.6 LB: You get the a shirt? [laughter] the 2022.
0:06:43.6 AV: North America tour.
0:06:46.3 LB: Weiner Mobile Tour. But I did see on the Wienermobile website that if you're a college student, you could apply to be one of those hot dog Wienermobile ambassadors. And I was thinking how cool of a job that would be to travel the country in a giant Wiener. And then just like greet people, make them happy and then drive the Wiener around.
0:07:03.8 AV: Everybody's happy to see you.
0:07:05.3 LB: Yeah. Seem like a pretty cool job.
0:07:07.1 AV: It's either an intern at Margaritaville.
0:07:10.3 LB: Oh, right. [laughter]
0:07:11.3 AV: Or you could be a Wiener ambassador.
0:07:14.8 LB: Mm-hmm. You know that...
0:07:15.8 AV: I feel like those two should be related in some way.
0:07:20.8 LB: I would love to see that on a resume though, summer 2022 interned as a hot dog ambassador for Oscar Mayer Wiener.
0:07:26.9 AV: You would get every single interview. Oh yeah Every interview. People would just wanna hear about that. They'd be like you're in no way qualified, but please tell me about the Wienermobile.
0:07:35.9 LB: Tell me more [laughter] and you also interned at Margaritaville.
0:07:40.1 AV: What?
0:07:40.9 LB: That would be pretty fun. I just imagine it's like Saved By The Bell the college years when they're working at the resort.
0:07:45.9 AV: No, man. These days it would be like Below Deck. Oh, it would be bad.
0:07:49.9 LB: It would be that's true. [laughter]
0:07:51.9 AV: Probably, as I'm saying this Bravo TV is making the pilot.
0:07:55.9 LB: They probably are.
0:07:56.9 AV: If not, we should pitch it. [laughter]
0:07:58.4 LB: Mm-hmm. Well, Anna, did you know that Mickey mouse his first words that he ever uttered on screen were hot dog.
0:08:07.4 AV: Really?
0:08:08.1 LB: Yeah.
0:08:08.4 AV: Wait, in reference to the food or like as an exclamation, like hot dog?
0:08:12.9 LB: Both. So in this film, the carnival kid they'd already made like other little shorts with Mickey mouse, but he wasn't speaking yet. And so in this one Mickey mouse actually had a voice and he was playing a hot dog vendor. So the first thing he says is hot dogs hot dogs [laughter]
0:08:28.1 AV: Amazing. I did not know that. Yeah. And I think it's been a while since I've watched Mickey mouse cartoon, but I feel like that's one of his exclamations of choice, right?
0:08:39.1 LB: Exactly. Yeah. He says it all the time. And I was like, why does he choose to say hot dogs? But that's because that was like his first occupation. He is and was a hot dog vendor.
0:08:47.6 AV: Or is it... It's not like a dig at Pluto.
0:08:50.0 LB: Oh, poor Pluto.
0:08:52.6 AV: Or goofy.
0:08:54.5 LB: Man Goofy.
0:08:55.4 AV: Goofy.
0:08:56.4 LB: You know how we feel about goofy?
0:08:58.0 AV: Yeah.
0:08:58.5 LB: I will always now think of Murder Con when I think of goofy.
0:09:01.5 AV: Murder Con that's when the pineapple episode, everyone, if you haven't listened to it that's, yes. And if you're asking, what does pineapple have to do with something called Murder Con and also what is Murder Con? We don't have time. You're gonna have to listen to it. [laughter]
0:09:15.4 AV: So we're gonna get started. But first we just wanna thank everybody who came to our IG live this month. And so many people responded to our IG polls and submitted questions like Eric and Big Nick and Alicia and everybody. So thank you so much for throwing those in for participating and everybody who's on our social medias. We love making this show and putting it out there, but we also absolutely love the interaction part when we get to hear from you. So we will have another IG live shortly. So sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Instagram and you'll get to see when that is and then join us. We're hilarious.
0:09:50.5 LB: It's a lot of fun. Who knows, like where our conversations take us.
0:09:54.0 AV: Right.
0:09:54.5 LB: I think we started talking about cookies and offering our behind the scenes and little insider info and then we got some folks jumping in with really cool comments and feedback. And we went all over the place.
0:10:06.5 AV: We ended up talking about Dickies.
0:10:08.4 LB: Yeah. Dickies.
0:10:09.0 AV: The fake out shirts, and then ended up volunteering ourselves as food festival judges.
0:10:16.0 LB: That is on the table, guys. We are here to come to your food festival and help judge for you.
0:10:21.1 AV: Yeah. And when I say volunteer, we might just show up. [laughter]
0:10:23.5 LB: That's true, we we'll bring up our own score pads.
0:10:29.1 AV: Is there anything else you wanna tell the people, Lia?
0:10:31.6 LB: Yes. We also wanna tell you that we are in the running for two People's Choice podcast awards.
0:10:38.5 AV: Woo.
0:10:39.0 LB: And we need your vote.
0:10:40.3 AV: Yes.
0:10:41.3 LB: Yes, yes yes please. So just go to podcastawards.com. Follow the prompts and nominate Every Day is a Food Day in the arts and best female hosted categories to help us get to the next round.
0:10:53.3 AV: You can vote until July 31st. We'll put that link in the show notes for you. And I promise your vote will count. There is no electoral college in the podcastawards.com. [laughter] It's democracy.
0:11:05.3 LB: That's right.
0:11:05.6 AV: In action.
0:11:06.5 LB: So do it.
0:11:07.5 AV: Well, Lia, I think that this episode's gonna be red hot.
0:11:11.4 LB: Ooh. Well, if you're gonna be that frank about it [laughter] let's get going. [laughter]
0:11:17.3 AV: All right, Lia, I'm gonna ask you this and I'm a little worried about the answer.
0:11:24.0 LB: Okay.
0:11:25.1 AV: What is a hot dog?
0:11:27.6 LB: A hot dog is a tube of meat. I mean, that's pretty much it. It's a meat tube.
0:11:34.8 AV: Okay. I was bracing myself for something much worse. Okay. Tube of meat.
0:11:37.0 LB: A tube of meat.
0:11:38.3 AV: I can get on board with that.
0:11:39.5 LB: That's the basics because there are a ton of different hot dog brands and styles and recipes out there. But essentially it's a tube of meat. I mean, we see pork as one of the most popular, hot dog ingredients, but you can also find beef dogs and pork and beef blends and there's turkey dogs today. There's just all sorts of hot dogs out there. But the tube is important and that's actually part of a USDA rule about what can and can't be called a hot dog.
0:12:07.0 AV: Ooh.
0:12:07.8 LB: So we've talked about the USDA and the FDA before and with these groups, there are definite standards of identity.
0:12:15.8 AV: Ah, that's Right.
0:12:16.5 LB: Yeah. And we, we know someone who helped kind of establish what these standards of identity are and her name was Ruth Desmond, the peanut butter grandma. So she was someone who had to make sure that we followed the rules before we just called anything, like whatever we wanted to call it.
0:12:32.6 AV: Right. That something has to be made up of certain things in order to be called something so that when you buy a hot dog, you know what you're getting. When you are buying peanut butter, for example, you're not just going to get a mouthful of Crisco.
0:12:45.8 S?: That's a call back.
0:12:49.4 LB: Exactly.
0:12:51.2 AV: So yet again, thank you Ruth.
0:12:53.1 LB: Thank you, Ruth. So yes, the USDA does have its federal standards of identity for what can be called a hot dog or a Frankfurter. The basic standard is it's a cooked or smoked sausage. So again, it's this meat that has been prepared and is in a casing. A big thing that hot dogs need to have in order to be called a hot dog is proper ratios. So it can't contain more than 30% fat, no more than 10% water or a combination of that 40% fat and added water, which when I have read that, I was actually quite surprised, I guess in my head I was thinking, "Oh gosh, it's probably just like watery, fat mush together."
0:13:31.6 AV: 75% fat. Yeah.
0:13:33.4 LB: Exactly. If you're using any other extenders or binders on there. So these are non-meat products. You could really only have like less than 4% of that. Thanks to Ruth all of these ingredients have to be listed on the label so you know exactly what you're getting, but that makes me feel good about eating the tube of meat because I know what's inside of it, even though it still is kind of a mystery and you'll get into that a little bit later.
0:13:58.4 AV: We'll get into it. We'll get into it. So, Lia we've established a hot dog is a tube of meat. It doesn't look like meat. [chuckle] it kind of looks like pink, kinda looks like firm pink slime. So how do we get from animal to tube?
0:14:18.5 LB: Yeah, it does kind of look like an eraser when you look at it. But the reason that is, is because that meat has just been ground so finely. So it's been mechanically mashed to the point where it's almost pureed.
0:14:31.2 AV: Yeah. So basically they have to emulsify the meat so that it's pliable enough to put into the casing. I read a lot of different names for that mixture at that stage. Do you know what my favorite and the term that will haunt me forever is?
0:14:45.3 LB: Oh no. What is it?
0:14:47.1 AV: Meat batter.
0:14:49.4 LB: Ooh, the meat batter. [laughter] Delicious.
0:14:52.6 AV: Meat batter.
0:14:53.6 LB: Our body would be wanting that meat batter.
0:15:00.5 LB: So there's actually this high tech process that helps to separate the fat from the lean meat. And there's some ammonium hydroxide added to help eliminate bacteria, but all of that is done to keep it safe. But it's really this mashing that differentiates the hot dog from the sausage, they're both made of ground meat. They're both in tubes, but the hot dog meat is just ground, even finer. So all hot dogs are sausages, but not all sausages are hot dogs.
0:15:28.4 AV: Whoa.
0:15:28.5 LB: So deep.
0:15:31.9 AV: Deep.
0:15:34.2 LB: We can assume that the sausage then is the predecessor of the hot dog and that means we can trace the hot dog's beginnings all the way back to the birth of the sausage. And did you know that sausage was actually mentioned in Homer's Odyssey?
0:15:47.4 AV: Really?
0:15:49.2 LB: Yes. There is a passage that talks about goat sausages on the grill.
0:15:54.1 AV: Oh.
0:15:55.1 LB: And how like wonderful the smell is. And...
0:15:56.1 AV: He was probably hungry. He had been at sea forever.
0:15:58.9 LB: That's true.
0:16:00.6 AV: It's the point of the book.
0:16:01.7 LB: He's like, where am I? I'm still out here.
0:16:04.7 AV: God, I could go for a sausage right now.
0:16:07.1 LB: I could go for a sausage. So sausages have been around for quite a while. There's some form of sausage everywhere. It's so similar to like some of the other foods we've talked about where you can find some form of it around the world.
0:16:19.0 AV: Yeah. It's definitely. And everybody has one type of food. And part of that is because it was and still is a great way to preserve meat so we talked about that in barbecue before these refrigerators or freezers smoking it, curing it, putting in the case. Great way to preserve it. So yes. Sausages, ancient food, worldwide food.
0:16:37.3 LB: All over the place.
0:16:38.3 AV: Yes.
0:16:38.6 LB: But I think today what we do is we credit a butcher in Frankfurt, in the 1600s for really inventing the Frankfurter, and I was reading about this guy, Johann Georghehner. [chuckle] How do you say that?
0:16:51.3 AV: Georghehner.
0:16:54.6 LB: Okay, well old Johann Georghehner.
0:16:57.4 AV: Georghehner. Yeah.
0:17:00.0 LB: Georghehner didn't live in Frankfurt.
0:17:02.4 AV: What?
0:17:02.8 LB: He lived in Coburg, but he traveled to Frankfurt to show off his new invention. And then that is why it's named the Frankfurter. But it should actually be the Coburger if anything.
0:17:12.6 AV: The Coburger, maybe that was too close to hamburger.
0:17:15.7 LB: Oh, maybe they're like, we already got hamburger.
0:17:19.1 AV: We already got burg. Well, Berg is town. So they can't just all be burgers.
0:17:23.8 LB: Ah, so they're like use Frankfurt, Frankfurter.
0:17:26.5 AV: It is better. There's something really creepy about him. Just like going to another town to show off his Frankfurter.
0:17:31.3 LB: Exactly. He's like, "Hey guys, would you like to look at my little sausage?"
0:17:36.6 AV: Someday he'll end up in a Hydrox commercial.
0:17:38.6 LB: Oh no. Oh no. [laughter] So that's who we typically credit as the person who invented the Frankfurter eventually it got here and it got popular. And do you wanna know how it became popular in America?
0:17:50.7 AV: How?
0:17:51.4 LB: The world's fair. The world's fair did it again?
0:17:54.9 AV: Duh. It was America's food court.
0:17:57.0 LB: It was, it was.
0:17:57.8 AV: Of the 19th century. It's where everyone found out about all of the best foods.
0:18:01.2 LB: That's true. So there were German immigrants in America who brought Frankfurters with them and were selling them off of carts in the late 1860s. In 1871, we have Charles Feltman, a German baker who opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand selling his little hot dogs in a milk roll. And then in 1883 in Chicago, we have Mr. Oscar F. Mayer who started his meat packing business and brought us the Oscar Mayer hot dog. But it wasn't until the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. That's when the hot dog really took off along with all of our other favorite foods that you've heard us talk about before, like chili.
0:18:39.3 AV: The chili queens.
0:18:40.2 LB: And the chili Queens, we got cracker jacks and popcorn and peanut butter.
0:18:45.0 AV: That was the place to be. All these foods existed, but that was the first place that everybody got to see 'em and then take them back to their regional corners of the US.
0:18:55.0 LB: Exactly.
0:18:55.7 AV: And how we are all blessed with all those foods.
0:18:57.6 LB: Thank you. 1893 Chicago World's Fair.
0:19:00.0 AV: Thank you. Columbian Exposition. All right, Lia, we've established hot dogs, their history.
0:19:07.3 LB: Yep.
0:19:07.6 AV: How do we celebrate 'em?
0:19:08.4 LB: Well, we can celebrate hot dogs and sausages at least nine times during the year.
0:19:13.7 AV: At least?
0:19:14.5 LB: Yeah, at least. So now we have an epic list of all hot dog and sausage related food holidays that I'm gonna give you right now. So here we go.
0:19:22.2 AV: Okay.
0:19:22.7 LB: We have National Kraut and Frankfurter week, the second week in February, National Corn Dog Day, March 18th, National Pigs in a Blanket Day, April 24th, National Hot Dog Month, July, National Beans 'N' Franks Day, July 13th, National Hot Dog Day, the third Wednesday in July, National Chili-dog Day, the last Thursday in July, National Sausage Month in October and National Sausage Pizza day, October 11th.
0:19:46.9 AV: But when's the sausage party?
0:19:52.1 LB: Oh hoo.
0:19:52.3 AV: Not on this show. It's just us ladies.
0:19:55.6 LB: Yeah. No sausage party here.
0:19:57.8 AV: No sausage party here.
0:20:04.2 AV: Alright, so we are in July, we're in the midst of July. Tell us about hot dog month and hot dog day.
0:20:11.2 LB: So we are right in the middle of National hot dog Month, which was actually proclaimed by the United States Chamber of Commerce in 1956. We've been celebrating...
0:20:20.7 AV: Wow.
0:20:21.1 LB: Hot dog month for a long time here in America.
0:20:22.6 AV: For almost 70 years?
0:20:24.8 LB: Mm-hmm.
0:20:24.8 AV: Wow, dang, we love our hot dogs.
0:20:26.9 LB: We really do.
0:20:27.3 AV: Hot dog. That's a long time.
0:20:30.4 LB: Hot dog, and every year, this celebration is promoted by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council and you all...
0:20:39.8 AV: People.
0:20:40.0 LB: We got to talk about this council.
0:20:41.4 AV: Of all of the boards and councils and associations this one is the most extra.
0:20:47.8 LB: It really is. I think it's the most fun one that I seen so far.
0:20:52.8 AV: Yes, they really get into their hot dogs.
0:20:53.2 LB: They really do. And this council was established in 1994 by the American Meat Institute. The council is an information resource for consumers like us.
0:21:06.3 AV: If you want brochures, videos, how-tos, booklets, information guides, they have it.
0:21:14.1 LB: Oh yeah.
0:21:14.6 AV: They are active and they are serious about their dogs.
0:21:17.4 LB: They really are. I was thinking if I was an elementary school teacher, I think I would just use the hot dog Council to make all of my lesson plans. Everything would just be around hot dogs. One of the ways that the hot dog and Sausage Council really celebrates National hot dog month is by throwing a hot dog lunch for National Hot Dog Day on Capitol Hill. This is like the craziest picnic you'll ever see. It's like a thousand lawmakers...
0:21:42.8 AV: It's a big deal.
0:21:43.5 LB: Congressional staff, politicians, all together eating hot dogs. You can just listen to Janet Riley, also known as the Queen of Wein.
0:21:52.1 AV: The Queen of Wein.
0:21:55.8 LB: Who used to be the president of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. And here she talks about this Annual Hot Dog Launch at Capitol Hill.
0:22:00.7 Janet Riley: We've been hosting this lunch since the 1970s, but originally it was hosted in a caucus room with hot dogs and steam trays.
0:22:07.6 Speaker 4: Congressmen staff and lobbyists gathered in the Rayburn house office building courtyard, and meat industry representatives offered a selection of hot dogs, corn-dogs and other sausages.
0:22:18.2 JR: We usually host about 100 lawmakers, and some people joke that it's more than they get for a roll call vote, and they're quite enthusiastic about hot dogs. Some come every year and they bring their childhood baseball gloves and get them signed by the ball players.
0:22:30.7 AV: In my head, it's just like Stanley on pretzel day. But all of our lawmakers. You know what I'm saying?
0:22:37.0 LB: Oh yeah, that's totally it. I mean, here is, I guess I would call him the Stanley of the hot dog lunch.
0:22:43.6 AV: He's the Stanley...
0:22:44.9 LB: This person, Representative Rick Nolan, Democrat from Minnesota, loves hot dog Day. And you can hear me talk about his fondness for Hormel hot dogs.
0:22:53.6 Rick Nolan: My staff and I associate hot dogs with fun and good times, we've all part a day at the beach, a day at the park, really proud of Hormel from Minnesota, great hot dog producer of the best hot dogs in the country.
0:23:08.4 AV: It's pretty cute.
0:23:09.6 AV: If you know, he walks away and he's like 364 days until the next hot dog day...
0:23:15.9 LB: Until the next hot dog day.
0:23:16.5 AV: I mean what is every other day like on Capitol Hill?
0:23:19.1 LB: I know.
0:23:19.6 AV: There's people insurrecting?
0:23:21.0 LB: Yeah.
0:23:21.5 AV: It's terrible.
0:23:22.2 LB: Right. We just need more hot dog lunches.
0:23:26.7 AV: We just need more hot dog lunches, and keep the magnetometers up.
0:23:30.9 LB: But there are other hot dog festivals out there.
0:23:34.1 AV: Okay.
0:23:34.8 LB: The Capitol Hill Hot Dog Lunch seems kind of exclusive, but for the rest of us...
0:23:39.5 AV: You don't have to run for office, to have a hot dog.
0:23:42.3 LB: Yeah. Exactly. But for us, we can go to places like Alfred, New York where there is an Alfred village hot dog festival every year, and they just celebrated their 50th anniversary in April. And this was started by a couple of Alfred University students to bring together their school, the state College and the village to benefit some area charities, and it made me think about other college students who have started other food days and food festivals...
0:24:07.9 AV: Right.
0:24:08.3 LB: That we've talked about.
0:24:08.8 AV: Didn't not we have some bacon.
0:24:10.3 LB: Yeah.
0:24:10.7 AV: Holiday started by students as well?
0:24:13.1 LB: Yes, we had two. So, Bacon Day was started by two students, Danya D. Goodman and Meff Human Cannonball Leonard, and they started Bacon Day and celebrated on December 30th, and they have been doing this since 1997, and then a group of grad students from Colorado University at Boulder started International Bacon Day on September 3rd back in 2004, so they could unite with their fellow meat heads from around the world to celebrate bacon.
0:24:40.5 AV: I'm wondering if they're just, they're so hungry, 'cause they're students. They just want some sponsorships.
0:24:46.4 LB: Oh yeah, I could...
0:24:47.4 AV: They just want someone to bring them the real meat. They've been eating ramen and bags of popcorn.
0:24:53.0 LB: Like I can't do this anymore.
0:24:54.3 AV: Can someone just bring me a hot dog.
0:24:57.4 LB: And then in West Virginia, you've got the West Virginia Hot Dog Festival, which started in 2005 also to raise money for an area Children's Hospital, and this festival looks like a lot of fun.
0:25:08.0 Speaker 6: Saturday, July 27, don't miss The West Virginia Hot Dog Festival. There's over a 100 things to do, see, taste and enjoy at the annual West Virginia Hot Dog Festival. Free admission live music and entertainment from 9 to 9, you, your friends, family and the family-dog are welcomed and invited to the West Virginia Hot Dog Festival, showcasing a dozen of the state and region's top hot dog businesses and much more. The West Virginia Hot Dog Festival July 27th at Pullman Square in Downtown Hannington.
0:25:35.9 LB: I think some of the best parts about this festival are the Pooch Parade and the Weiner dog races. I would totally go just to see all of that.
0:25:43.6 AV: A 100% would watch a Weiner dog race.
0:25:46.3 LB: Oh yeah. And so those are some of the more notable festivals we can find around the US.
0:25:51.3 AV: Amazing, Okay, well, this is not exactly a festival, but we just had the 4th of July, which means we just had Nathan's hot dog eating contest, and we can't not talk about Nathan's hot dog eating contest.
0:26:05.9 LB: Oh no.
0:26:08.4 AV: Joey Chestnut, yet again. Surprised, amazed, appalled the masses. He ate 63 hot dogs this time around, but there's gotta be a story... I mean, a hot dog eating contest doesn't just happen.
0:26:20.2 LB: Oh, no, no. This contest has been hosted by Nathan's since the '70s. And it was officially sanctioned by Major League Eating, which was part of the International Federation of Competitive Eating in 1997. This is like...
0:26:33.0 AV: Legit.
0:26:33.3 LB: Legit professional, extreme sports. So Nathan's, for those of you who don't know, is a fast food restaurant specializing in hot dogs. And it was founded in 1916, in Coney Island. And here's something that's a little bit crazy.
0:26:46.5 AV: Okay.
0:26:47.1 LB: It's named after the founder, Nathan Handwerker, who started the business with his wife, Ida, but Ida created the hot dog recipe and the secret spice recipe is from Ida's grandmother.
0:27:00.9 AV: Come on.
0:27:03.6 LB: This is Margaret Hellman and Ella Kellogg all over again.
0:27:07.5 AV: Yes. Oh my God. This always happens.
0:27:10.8 LB: Yep.
0:27:11.2 AV: Did Johann Georghehner really, really invent the Frankfurter or was it Helga? I'm assuming.
0:27:17.2 LB: It was probably Helga.
0:27:18.1 AV: I'm assuming Helga...
0:27:19.9 LB: This...
0:27:20.8 LB: Yep.
0:27:20.9 AV: This happens all the time.
0:27:23.2 LB: So, it should actually be called Ida's famous.
0:27:25.0 AV: Yeah. I can't wait to go to Coney Island and have an Ida's...
0:27:27.9 LB: Yeah.
0:27:28.5 AV: Hot dog.
0:27:29.5 LB: Well, thanks to Ida. The stand became very popular and they started to open new locations in the '50s. And today there are more than 200 locations worldwide. And of course, one of the big things that Nathan's does is every year they hold this hot dog eating contest. A promoter at Nathan's claimed that the first contest was actually held in 1916, when four immigrant men wanted to settle a contest to find out who was the most patriotic. And so to prove themselves, they had to eat as many hot dogs as possible. Turns out this was a total lie ad just a publicity stunt, but I also can see this happening too.
0:28:01.7 AV: Absolutely. I can see why people believed that for so long. Be like an eating contest to prove how American you are. That tracks.
0:28:07.8 LB: Yeah, let's go. Let's do it. But the real record of this contest was started in 1972 during the Memorial Day weekend, which makes sense, 'cause there's tons of activities right happening on the island.
0:28:18.4 AV: People vacationing...
0:28:19.9 LB: Oh yeah. But it wasn't until the late 1990s after it became a Major League Eating sport, that's when people really started to go crazy about the event because we kind of see our first like competitive eating superstar, sort of rise up and dominate...
0:28:34.3 AV: Oh yeah.
0:28:35.2 LB: This field. And that's where we meet Takeru Kobayashi the godfather of competitive eating.
0:28:42.2 AV: The godfather of competitive eating, who if you guys have never seen him, was like a 90 pound Japanese teenager. I've seen pictures of him next to the giant dudes. Like 300 pound.
0:28:55.0 LB: Oh yeah.
0:28:55.6 AV: Dudes from Queens. It's just, it's insane. I think the first time he entered the contest, he doubled the number, right?
0:29:03.6 LB: Yeah. He entered the competition in 2001. He won it because he ate 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes and he had already...
0:29:10.4 AV: Oh my God.
0:29:10.5 LB: Yeah, doubled what the previous winner had eaten.
0:29:13.1 AV: So, that's when it really like caught fire.
0:29:15.3 LB: Yeah. People were like, who is this guy? He's like a rockstar.
0:29:18.7 AV: A prodigy.
0:29:19.2 LB: He has like world records for competitive eating beyond just hot dogs. I think he ate 12 hamburgers in three minutes, 29 meatballs in one minute and 14 Twinkies in a minute.
0:29:28.4 AV: Oh, man.
0:29:29.1 LB: It is so crazy. But his last hot dog eating competition was in 2007 when he lost to Joey Chestnut. And that's sort of when Joey Chestnut started his winning streak, but Kobayashi actually got banned from Nathan's.
0:29:42.3 AV: Really?
0:29:43.0 LB: Yeah.
0:29:43.4 AV: Oh, no.
0:29:44.3 LB: So, he had a dispute with Major League Eating. He didn't wanna sign this contract with them. So, I guess this is just like other sports agencies, the legal stuff, the representation stuff. In order for him to be part of Nathan's, they wanted to sign Kobayashi as like put him under a contract with this Major League Eating, which meant that he would have to give up a share of his revenue. He'd have to do all of these things for Major League Eating. And he just felt like he needed his freedom. So, he refused to sign this contract to be exclusive with Major League Eating. But then he got banned from participating in...
0:30:16.5 AV: Wow.
0:30:16.5 LB: The hot dog eating contest. In 2010, he did show up but as a spectator, however, when the crowd saw him, I guess it is hard to miss Kobayashi. He's like...
0:30:27.2 AV: No, and he's a rockstar in the competitive eating world. If he just showed up, you'd notice.
0:30:31.9 LB: Exactly. He was just in the crowd and people saw him and they were looking and they were like, "Let him eat." They started cheering, "Let him eat." And Kobayashi just felt like all the energy from the crowd and jumped on stage. It was like...
0:30:44.1 AV: Oh, but he was banned.
0:30:45.4 LB: He was banned. So, he got arrested. And today there's still this crazy rivalry between Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut. Kobayashi says that Joey Chestnut cheated.
0:30:55.6 AV: Oh.
0:30:56.0 LB: And has cheated. So there's a lot of just like bad blood between them.
0:31:00.3 AV: Yeah.
0:31:00.6 LB: In fact, it was also the subject of an ESPN documentary, part of their 30 for 30 series. And it was called The Good, The Bad, The Hungry.
0:31:10.5 Speaker 7: To compare Kobayashi to Tiger Woods is a slight against Kobayashi.
0:31:15.1 Speaker 8: Kobayashi is the five time champion.
0:31:19.3 Speaker 9: He wasn't a eater, he was a god.
0:31:20.7 Speaker 10: The kid was winning press.
0:31:22.6 Speaker 11: We had a great rivalry. There was nothing like it.
0:31:25.5 Speaker 8: The old record, 25 and an eighth. It is now 50 hot dogs and buns the Japanese guy did it.
0:31:29.9 Speaker 12: He can't just be that much better.
0:31:32.0 Speaker 9: We saw him lose to a grizzly bear. So, we knew he was beatable. Joey started training and he took it very, very seriously.
0:31:39.5 Speaker 13: He started to see Joey as this real threat to Kobayashi.
0:31:43.1 Anna Van Valin: I realized that I hate him.
0:31:46.2 S8: In first place with 66 hot dogs and buns, Joey Chestnut.
0:31:56.3 AV: I didn't expect the rivalry to end the way it did.
0:32:00.1 S8: Go, go Joey. Go, go Joey.
0:32:03.4 LB: We just had this year's contest. Like Anna said, Joey Chestnut won again, eating 63 hot dogs. The event did get crazy though when an animal rights protester jumped on the stage and Joey Chestnut thought that somebody was getting in his way and he put him in a choke hold.
0:32:18.5 AV: Wow. How ironic. A choke hold.
0:32:20.5 LB: A choke hold.
0:32:21.4 AV: Was this while he was eating? Did he stop eating?
0:32:23.5 LB: While he was eating.
0:32:24.1 AV: Oh my God.
0:32:24.3 LB: It was in the middle of the event.
0:32:26.0 AV: And he kept going and he still won?
0:32:27.5 LB: He kept going and he still won.
0:32:28.8 Joey Chestnut: Yeah. So, I thought somebody fell onto me and then I realized, oh, he's holding a sign. And he wasn't moving over. So, I kind of moved him over. 'Cause I moved him out of the way.
0:32:36.8 Speaker 15: You got him in a headlock.
0:32:38.7 Janice: While you were eating the dog.
0:32:40.3 JC: I didn't wanna let go of the hot dog. So, I had very limited...
0:32:43.3 Janice: So committed.
0:32:44.0 AV: As a judge, Janice, would he have been disqualified if he...
0:32:47.3 Janice: No.
0:32:47.5 AV: Okay. But if he was...
0:32:49.0 Janice: He's a hero. I actually think he should have more hot dogs added on.
0:32:52.5 AV: No, but if the guy knocked a hot dog out of Joey's mouth or something.
0:32:55.7 Janice: Oh, well...
0:32:56.1 JC: Well, there'll be deduction if I dropped hot dogs, but I don't think I... I didn't drop any hot dogs.
0:33:01.1 Janice: You didn't miss a beat.
0:33:01.6 AV: Not only that, but you've got a broken foot, ripped tendons.
0:33:04.8 JC: Yeah. Yeah. A ruptured tendon. You know, there was a little bit... Like three weeks ago. I was like, "Oh, I don't know if I'm gonna be able to compete," but doctor put me in this...
0:33:12.3 AV: You don't eat with your foot.
0:33:13.3 JC: I don't eat with my foot.
0:33:13.9 Janice: Well it doesn't matter. These guys, they... You move around a lot. I mean...
0:33:16.9 JC: Yeah.
0:33:18.0 Janice: To help the digestion process.
0:33:20.3 JC: It's yeah... You gotta move around. You gotta stand up, make... Get everything to work together. But I just work through the pain.
0:33:26.1 AV: Okay. That I'm impressed with.
0:33:27.7 LB: Yeah. I mean, it was pretty crazy to see.
0:33:29.5 AV: The other stuff I'm more disturbed by, but that I'm impressed with.
0:33:33.9 LB: He was gonna be the champion no matter what.
0:33:35.8 AV: No matter what.
0:33:37.0 LB: And then this year in the women's division, Miki Sudo won with 40 hot dogs. So Nathan's started their women's division in 2011. And the first winner was Sonya Thomas who ate 40 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
0:33:49.9 AV: Whoa.
0:33:50.4 LB: So Sonya was nicknamed the black widow because she could best these men who were four or five times her size in all of these competitive eating events.
0:34:00.1 AV: Did she seduce them first? Like was this...
0:34:02.0 LB: She just gave them hot dog eyes...
0:34:03.1 AV: Saltry eyes. Just...
0:34:06.0 LB: Yeah.
0:34:07.6 AV: You got the meat sweats going.
0:34:08.9 LB: Exactly.
0:34:09.8 AV: And then she took 'em out.
0:34:11.1 LB: And then she took 'em out one by one.
0:34:12.7 AV: Love it.
0:34:13.2 LB: But that was Sonya. And then Miki who won this year. She also holds records for eating other things like kimchi, ice cream. She's won first place in the Foxwoods World Turkey Eating Championship, eating nearly nine pounds of Turkey in 10 minutes.
0:34:28.0 AV: Oh, okay.
0:34:28.9 LB: And Anna in a nod to Buffalo, she was a second place winner in the us national Buffalo wing eating championship, but eating 170 wings and 12 minutes.
0:34:38.7 LB: Yo that's a lot of wings.
0:34:41.0 LB: Yeah. 12 minutes. I mean, I feel bad enough when I eat like a Wingstop crew pack. [laughter]
0:34:47.8 AV: Lia, that was more than I could have ever possibly thought there was to say about hot dogs. So amazing. Thank you for sharing all of that with us. And I think that we will all enjoy our tubes of meat a little bit more having all of this background and context.
0:35:04.6 LB: That's right now you can truly relish your hot dogs.
0:35:13.6 LB: Okay, Anna. So I've covered some hot dog basics, a little bit of hot dog history. But there's still a lot left to unpack.
0:35:25.5 AV: Yeah, absolutely. For a food that is so prominent in our culture. For a food that is so recognized as being American and so important to us. There's a lot of mystery around it. Some questions, some controversy.
0:35:38.8 LB: Ooh.
0:35:39.9 AV: Today we're gonna tackle four of the mystery questions. Hopefully I can clarify some things for people or maybe we'll end up with more questions than answers.
0:35:50.7 LB: Ooh.
0:35:52.2 AV: So mystery number one. The number of hot dogs versus the number of buns in a package. So if you remember any '90s standup, you will remember that in general. There's 10 hot dogs, 10 Wieners in a pack, but eight buns in a pack.
0:36:10.7 LB: Right.
0:36:11.3 AV: Why is this? Why would they be different?
0:36:13.7 LB: Why?
0:36:13.9 AV: Why can't they get their sh** together? Just match up.
0:36:17.1 LB: What's the deal.
0:36:18.2 AV: What's the deal with hot dogs. You can't have one without the other.
0:36:22.4 LB: Exactly.
0:36:23.1 AV: So what is this mismatch? Well, there's good reasons for it, because even though these foods are definitely related, they're definitely connected. They are two totally different industries. So one is bakery and one is meat packing. And they just have their own standards, their own way of doing things, their different equipment, and they kinda stay in their lanes.
0:36:45.3 LB: Okay.
0:36:46.0 AV: Each side, the hot dog and the buns are still sort of doing it the way their industry has always done it. We'll start with hot dogs, the 10 dogs in a pack. This goes back to our friend, Oscar Mayer and his Wieners. Before people bought packaged hot dogs, they'd go to the butcher. And when you go to the butcher, you buy meat by weight. So people would generally go and buy hot dogs by the pound. Oscar Mayer wanted to emulate that with his packaged hot dogs. He devised that every package should be one pound.
0:37:20.0 LB: Okay.
0:37:20.4 AV: So the easiest way to do that is to create 10, 1.6 ounce Franks.
0:37:28.0 LB: Got it.
0:37:28.5 AV: 16 ounces to a pound. So you got 10, 1.6 ounce Franks. So even like jumbo dogs still come in a number that will equal around one pound package. So six or eight. Right? So it's a smaller number, but it'll still come out to being a pound.
0:37:45.8 LB: Pound, got it.
0:37:47.0 AV: So that is how the hot dogs work, but the buns go back to bakers.
0:37:52.1 LB: Yep.
0:37:52.5 AV: And how they used to make rolls, buns, things like that. So bakers in general, when they're making smaller bread products, will work in multiples of two or four.
0:38:03.6 LB: Yeah.
0:38:03.8 AV: Because the easiest way to measure it is to cut the dough in half.
0:38:07.5 LB: Yeah.
0:38:08.0 AV: That's how you portion it. So it's basically like exponents. If you think about it to get eight pieces, in this case, the eight buns, you take a lump of dough and you halve it, you cut it in half.
0:38:20.1 LB: Yep.
0:38:20.6 AV: Three times. So it's like two to the third power. So you have one big lump.
0:38:23.1 LB: Yep.
0:38:23.3 AV: Cut it in half.
0:38:23.9 LB: Cut it.
0:38:24.2 AV: And now you have two lumps.
0:38:24.9 LB: Yeah.
0:38:25.5 AV: Cut each of those in half, now you got four lumps. Cut each of those in half, now you get eight.
0:38:30.3 LB: Oh, that was very good.
0:38:31.6 AV: Thank you. [laughter] Hot dog buns are done the same way, and they are cooked in groups of four in pans that fit eight.
0:38:39.9 LB: Okay.
0:38:40.4 AV: So you know, when you get a bag of hot dog buns, then you kind of have to tear them apart.
0:38:44.1 LB: Right.
0:38:44.4 AV: They're all connected. It's because they're all baked in a pan that shape and they are separated. The dough is separated by halves into those eight shapes.
0:38:53.3 LB: Ah, I see.
0:38:54.6 AV: So clusters of four in pans designed to hold two clusters. Sorry for all the math guys.
0:39:00.6 LB: Oh geez. Anna. Oh. [laughter]
0:39:03.7 AV: So when you think about it, getting 10 buns would be weird. You'd like, take your dough, you'd split it in half, split it in half, split it in half. And then what, like grab...
0:39:12.1 LB: Right.
0:39:12.4 AV: Another piece of dough from somewhere else?
0:39:14.6 LB: Just to make two. Yeah.
0:39:15.8 AV: And stick it on there to make two. It doesn't make any sense. So when you look at them separately, it makes total sense.
0:39:22.5 LB: Yeah.
0:39:22.8 AV: When you look at them together, you're like, "What, come on. Why do I have to do this?" Why don't they change this? Why doesn't the bun board, I'm assuming, and the hot dog council, why don't they get together and figure this out?
0:39:35.7 LB: Right.
0:39:36.4 AV: Because this is how all their equipment, all their pans, all their machines, are built for these groupings, are built for these sizes. So which one is gonna change?
0:39:46.2 LB: Oh, gosh.
0:39:46.8 AV: It would just be like a complete rethinking of the entire way that they do business. I think they should just pick a new number, make it 12, and then they both get to change. But yeah, who is gonna take that whole endeavor on of completely changing the way they do things to make things slightly more convenient for Joe and Jane consumer? Probably not. Another question is, is this a conspiracy? If you buy a pack of hot dogs, how many bags of buns do you have to buy?
0:40:15.3 LB: You gotta get a second pack.
0:40:16.4 AV: You gotta buy two.
0:40:17.5 LB: Yep.
0:40:18.3 AV: Why would they make a pack of 10 buns and raise it like 50 cents, when they could just keep it how it is, and make you buy two?
0:40:27.7 LB: You gotta buy two buns, yeah, two packs of buns.
0:40:29.4 AV: And then, you'd need five hot dog packages and eight bun packages to get in... Or to get the same number.
0:40:36.2 LB: There you go.
0:40:37.1 AV: You be the judge. Is it a conspiracy? So is there any hope, Lia? Any hope that this controversy is going to be healed? This rift between bun and dog. Well, last year someone decided that they wanted to change this, and this was neither hot dog company or a bun company. Woah.
0:40:55.9 LB: An outsider?
0:40:58.4 AV: An interloper. An invested third party coming in to try to be a peace maker, and that was Heinz.
0:41:04.1 LB: Heinz?
0:41:04.9 AV: Heinz, makers of ketchup, relish, mustard.
0:41:08.2 LB: Our condiments.
0:41:09.3 AV: The condiment keeper. I want mommy and daddy to stop fighting.
0:41:12.9 LB: Oh, poor Heinz.
0:41:15.2 AV: So last year on National Hot Dog Day, Heinz put out a plea for bun and dog manufacturers to make peace and find a way to get on the same page with these numbers. They had a whole campaign...
0:41:27.4 LB: Oh wow.
0:41:27.9 AV: They had a website, they put out a teaser, which unfortunately for us did not have any good audio in it. [laughter] And they started a petition, which you can find on change.org with 35,000 signatures as of this taping.
0:41:43.8 LB: Wow.
0:41:44.6 AV: Yes, you could find it right next to our petition for Oreos by the pound. Bring back Oreos by the pound. So it's about a year later, I don't know if there's been much movement in the US, but Canada has gotten on board.
0:41:57.8 LB: Woah! Canada?
0:41:58.5 AV: Canada. As of June 23rd, 10 packs of Wonder Bread buns are sold in Ontario. So when I read the article about it, it made it sound like maybe it was a smaller operation, like they were gonna commit to changing all of their factories, all of their bakeries.
0:42:15.8 LB: Right. [laughter] Yet another reason to move to Canada.
0:42:18.4 AV: Oh, man. It's too many to count. So, the latest update on the change.org petition said, "Help us change the hot dog industry for the better and continue to get Wieners and buns sold in even packs all over the world. We've succeeded in select parts of Canada, we're not stopping until the hot dog packaging mismatch is solved globally. Hot dog history is in your hands." It's intense, right?
0:42:43.3 LB: I kinda feel the pressure.
0:42:45.1 AV: So does that kind of explain why we've got this mismatch? Does that make sense?
0:42:49.5 LB: It does, it does. And when I think about it, yeah, that's gonna be hard to change. These industries have equipment and processes where they've been doing things like this for the longest time. And you know what? Maybe it means I just have a couple of extra hot dogs that I can just slice up and put in my spaghetti. [laughter]
0:43:07.1 AV: They won't go to waste.
0:43:08.7 LB: Exactly.
0:43:13.7 AV: Alright, so are you ready for mystery number two?
0:43:16.5 LB: I am.
0:43:17.3 AV: Okay.
0:43:17.5 LB: So what are we tackling here?
0:43:20.0 AV: Mystery number two is, is a hot dog a sandwich?
0:43:25.5 LB: Oh.
0:43:27.5 AV: Yeah.
0:43:28.1 LB: This is so controversial too.
0:43:29.1 AV: People have opinions about this. People have made formal statements, there have been press releases. We know it has so many names, it's a Wiener, it's a broth, it's a Frankfurter, it's a hot dog. At some point, it has had monikers that included the word sandwich. So Chicago signature hot dog was known at some point as the depression sandwich.
0:43:53.7 LB: Oh, I guess during the Great Depression, that was like a...
0:43:57.3 AV: Yeah, it was very cheap, and so it was called a depression sandwich. Which, any sandwich can be a depression sandwich.
0:44:05.3 LB: Yeah.
0:44:06.2 AV: Depending on how your day is going.
0:44:08.2 LB: I've had some sad sandwiches before.
0:44:11.7 AV: In the 1800s, it was sometimes called a Frankfurter sandwich or a Coney Island sandwich.
0:44:18.1 LB: Okay.
0:44:20.0 AV: So it's been a minute, but sandwich has been part of its branding at some points. The USDA had to weigh in.
0:44:27.3 LB: Oh of course, they're all about these standards of identity.
0:44:30.7 AV: Yes, so you've established for us the standard of identity for a hot dog, but now this is getting very meta. Does the hot dog meet the standard identity of a sandwich?
0:44:44.2 LB: Oh, what did the USDA have to say?
0:44:47.7 AV: The USDA put out a statement that the hot dog is considered a sandwich according to its definition of a closed sandwich, it's not an open-faced sandwich. A closed sandwich must contain 35% cooked meat and no more than 50% bread. A typical sandwich consists of two slices of bread, it is acceptable to consider the bun as long as it is sliced, even if it's not split all the way, to be two slices of bread, that encloses the meat.
0:45:18.7 LB: Okay. That's where I get tripped up is the slice of the bread and the bun. If it's not sliced all the way.
0:45:27.6 AV: The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council obviously needed to have the last say.
0:45:32.1 LB: Of course.
0:45:32.7 AV: On November 6th, 2015, they put out a statement and the verdict was, "A hot dog is an exclamation of joy, a food, a verb describing one showing off, and even an emoji. It is truly a category unto its own."
0:45:49.8 LB: Wow.
0:45:50.6 AV: And our girl, Janet Riley, the Queen of Wein, says, "Limiting the hot dog's significance by saying it's just a sandwich is like calling the Dalai Lama just a guy. We therefore choose to take a cue from a great performer and declare our namesake be a hot dog, formerly known as a sandwich."
0:46:09.3 LB: Woah!
0:46:10.0 AV: Yeah. Category all unto itself.
0:46:13.3 LB: Amazing.
0:46:14.1 AV: Bold.
0:46:14.3 LB: This is very bold, but you know this is the type of opinion that I would expect from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.
0:46:23.5 AV: Yeah. They are not wishy washy the Queen of Wein.
0:46:26.5 LB: She's hardcore. [chuckle]
0:46:28.1 AV: She has a bun to pick with anyone who says a hot dog is a sandwich. Now we have that official statement, but there's always gonna be arguments, there's always gonna be controversy, there's always gonna be a debate. And so when Stephen Colbert, who I adore.
0:46:44.0 AV: Reached out to two incredible women whose entire lives are about weighing different sides of things, making decisions, making calls. And they're also two of the Supreme Court justices we're still talking to. The first one, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he brought this crucial question at the crux of American culture to justice Ginsburg and she just equivocates with him beautifully.
0:47:11.8 Stephen Colbert: Is a hot dog, a sandwich?
0:47:15.8 Ruth Bader Ginsburg: You're asking me? But you tell me what a sandwich is and then I'll tell you if a hot dog is a sandwich.
0:47:21.9 SC: A sandwich is two pieces of bread with almost any type of filling in between, as long as it's not more bread.
0:47:33.0 RG: You said two pieces of bread, does that include a roll? That's kind of open, but still not completely.
0:47:40.2 SC: See, that's the crux you've gotten immediately. See, this is why you're on the Supreme Court, that gets immediately to the question. Does the roll need to be separated into two parts? Because a sub sandwich, a sub is not split and yet it is a sandwich.
0:47:56.1 RG: Yes.
0:47:57.6 SC: So then hot dog is a sandwich?
0:48:00.1 RG: On your definition. Yes, it is.
0:48:02.4 SC: Well played lady justice.
0:48:04.3 LB: Oh.
0:48:05.4 AV: We also have, because you need more than one opinion.
0:48:09.4 LB: Of course.
0:48:09.9 AV: Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
0:48:11.3 SC: Justice Sotomayor is a hot dog a sandwich?
0:48:15.4 Sonia Sotomayor: This is not fair, 'cause I watched her interview with you.
0:48:20.2 SC: Well, I mean, surely.
0:48:20.7 SS: And she asked...
0:48:20.8 SC: You see other people's oral arguments, perhaps you can render your own judgments or are you so influenced by Ruth Bader Ginsburg that you can't have your own opinion, Madam Justice as no one calls you?
0:48:30.1 SS: Well, I can approach the problem in a different way than she did.
0:48:33.7 SC: All right.
0:48:34.3 SS: My definition of sandwich is something between two parts of a bread, or two slices of a bread. And under that definition, a hot dog can be, because whether the breads are tied together or not is irrelevant. So I would answer yes, under those... Under that definition.
0:48:56.4 SC: So you're willing to say a hot dog is a sandwich. Under that...
0:49:00.0 SS: Mm-hmm. And by the way, I love hot dogs.
0:49:01.2 SC: Okay.
0:49:02.0 AV: But you know, Lia, they asked the current Supreme Court.
0:49:04.8 LB: Oh. [chuckle]
0:49:05.8 AV: The ruling was six to three that the hot dog council actually has no authority to make statements or regulate hot dogs.
0:49:12.9 LB: Oh. [chuckle]
0:49:13.7 AV: But that every hot dog gets a gun.
0:49:17.9 AV: And they were also asked if mustard was the only acceptable topping for a hot dog or if you could put whatever you wanted on it.
0:49:25.6 LB: Aha.
0:49:26.0 AV: And they came back and said, you don't have a choice.
0:49:29.0 LB: Oh, sounds typical.
0:49:31.1 AV: But you can pray over your hot dog wherever you want.
0:49:34.9 LB: [chuckle] Hot dogs for God.
0:49:38.2 AV: Hot dogs for God. Yep. It's cool. Everything's fine.
0:49:48.5 LB: Okay. Is hot dog a sandwich, we've got some official rulings on it now.
0:49:52.9 AV: Yes.
0:49:53.5 LB: But here's the question for you and this, I think leads us to our third mystery. Is there a right way to eat a hot dog?
0:50:00.4 AV: Excellent question. Is there a right way to eat a hot dog? Again, people have opinions, and there's so many varieties and people are so partial to their favorite or the one they grow up with.
0:50:12.5 LB: Yeah.
0:50:12.7 AV: So I can't list them all, people, I can't do it, there's too many, but here are some examples of all the different ways that we eat hot dogs. In Western New York, like around Buffalo, red hots, which are like kinda longer skinnier.
0:50:25.6 LB: Okay.
0:50:26.1 AV: Hot dogs and a bun, New York city obviously dirty water dog, which is a beef dog that is boiled.
0:50:32.7 LB: That's right.
0:50:33.3 AV: In questionable water served just with mustard on a soft bun.
0:50:37.8 LB: It's the same water guys, it's the same water. [chuckle]
0:50:41.8 AV: It's been the same water, it's like sourdough you just have to keep using the same starter.
0:50:47.4 LB: Yeah.
0:50:47.7 AV: For ages. It's just.
0:50:48.9 LB: The mother, the...
0:50:50.1 AV: There's the mother water.
0:50:51.9 LB: Mother water. [laughter]
0:50:53.0 AV: There's the Fenway Frank in Boston, so this is kind of a fat boiled and then grilled, both beef and pork mixed Frank on a bun with mustard, relish and Boston baked beans.
0:51:04.7 LB: Ah, got it. I see.
0:51:06.8 AV: In Baltimore they have the baloney dog, which is a kosher all-beef dog wrapped in baloney and then grilled, which I feel like the baloney is gonna undo the kosher.
0:51:17.6 LB: Right. [chuckle]
0:51:18.2 AV: Dog. A Memphis dog is a pork Frank wrapped in bacon, drenched in barbecue sauce, diced scallions, and shredded cheddar cheese. And yes. Sign me up.
0:51:30.7 LB: Yeah.
0:51:31.2 AV: For...
0:51:31.5 LB: That sounds really good.
0:51:32.8 AV: That sounds amazing. A Dodger dog, which I have had.
0:51:36.2 LB: Yep.
0:51:36.4 AV: At Dodger stadium here, which does cost like $29.
0:51:41.5 AV: So that's a skinless foot long pork hot dog steamed or grilled in a foot long steamed bun with relish mustard, ketchup and chopped raw onions.
0:51:51.6 LB: Okay.
0:51:52.1 AV: They've got chili dogs, they've got corn dogs. Chicago dogs.
0:51:55.9 LB: Oh the Chicago dog.
0:51:57.5 AV: Yeah. So that's a boiled beef Frank that's still in the natural casing. A lot of hot dogs have the casing peeled off, so the reason you see the little wrinkles at the of hot dogs is because the casing was on there and twisted and then they pulled the casing off before they send serve them to you. So Chicago dogs still have natural casing, they're on a poppy seed bun, not a Sesame seed bun. And they are what's called dragged through the garden, so you just put all the things on it, put tomato slices, chopped white onion, sweet relish, sport peppers, whatever those are, yellow mustard, dill pickles, and celery salt. So are any of these right? Is there a right way to eat a hot dog? We gotta go back to the Councilman.
0:52:37.7 LB: Yeah. If anyone's gonna know.
0:52:39.4 AV: There's a council for a reason, it's not just to feed Congress people.
0:52:44.2 LB: No.
0:52:45.0 AV: And the answer is yes. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council has opinions, not just on toppings or preparations, but on every aspect of eating a hot dog.
0:53:00.0 LB: Oh my gosh.
0:53:00.9 AV: Which they put out in their 2015 hot dog etiquette guide. [laughter] Which you can get both as a PDF and a video.
0:53:11.7 LB: Ooh.
0:53:12.8 AV: Narrated by the Queen of Wein herself.
0:53:15.7 LB: Love it.
0:53:16.2 AV: Janet Riley, please just have a listen.
0:53:20.0 JR: Everyone loves hot dogs, but not everyone follows proper etiquette when they enjoy this sacred all American food. So here's some do's and don'ts to prevent you from making a Frank Faux Pas. Don't use fancy buns with Franks. This is considered gosh. Do stick to Sesame seed poppy seed, or plain buns with hot dogs. Don't serve hot dogs on fancy China. Always use a paper plate or everyday dishes. Dress the dog, not a bun. Wet condiments like mustard and chili are applied first followed by chunky condiments, like relish onions, and sauerkraut followed by shredded cheese, followed by spices like celery, salt or pepper. Don't put herbs on the same plate as a hot dog. That's just, well, "Frank-tentious".
0:54:13.8 AV: Other rules include don't bring wine to a hot dog cookout, never eat a hot dog with utensils or use a cloth napkin. Never put ketchup on a hot dog after the age of 18. And it should only take you five bites to eat a regular Wiener and seven bites to eat a foot long. [chuckle]
0:54:33.1 LB: I'm little bit like taken aback by these rules.
0:54:35.4 AV: They're very specific.
0:54:37.4 LB: I do agree with that rule about never eat a hot dog with a cloth napkin because if you're eating it with a cloth napkin, I don't wanna be your friend. That's just weird.
0:54:45.4 AV: Utensils?
0:54:46.4 LB: Yeah.
0:54:46.9 AV: What? Do you not have hands?
0:54:48.8 LB: Right.
0:54:49.5 AV: No, I think that's a disaster. I think our point is you gotta be willing to get down and dirty. I wanna know where the five bites to eat a Wiener comes from though. [laughter] I mean, I'm not, I'm not one to question the Queen of Wein, but like what kinds of experiments or lab work, you know, went into knowing that that is the appropriate amount. And is there any consideration for mouth size?
0:55:09.5 LB: That's what I was just wondering, what if you have a tiny mouth?
0:55:12.3 AV: We can not all be Joey Chestnut. All right. You know what I'm saying? We have the verdict, but you know, eat them however you want. As we always say, just eat the food.
0:55:27.1 AV: Okay. Everyone. We are at our final and maybe most significant question. And that is what is really in a hot dog. And do we call it that for a reason?
0:55:41.2 LB: Oh, no.
0:55:42.6 AV: Yeah.
0:55:43.5 LB: Okay.
0:55:44.0 AV: Hot dogs. Even if it says all-beef or all-pork on the package or on the menu or whatever, we still kind of think of them as mystery meat, right? It's always been this half joke, half legitimate concern that our hot dogs might contain meat from sources or animals that we'd be less inclined to eat if we knew where they were from.
0:56:06.1 LB: Right.
0:56:06.5 AV: And there's all kinds of pop culture references about this, jokes about this.
0:56:11.5 LB: Oh yeah.
0:56:12.3 AV: What I always think of as the perfect example is the episode of the Simpsons where Lisa becomes a vegetarian. And there's this scene where she's at the dinner table and she's supposed to eat a lamb chop, but as she's going to eat it, she gets this sort of visualization of an adorable little lamb saying like, "Lisa don't eat me." And then she imagines a chicken breast coming from a cute chicken and a rump roast coming from cute cow. But then she imagines a hot dog.
0:56:40.3 AV: And instead of seeing like a pig, she sees a rat, a raccoon, a pigeon, and a boot. And then pieces of each of those come together to form a hot dog.
0:56:51.8 LB: So good. [laughter]
0:56:53.0 AV: It is brilliant because of the way hot dogs are made, like you said, the puree, the meat batter, if you will.
0:57:00.8 LB: The meat batter.
0:57:00.9 AV: You can't see any identifying markers of what kind of meat is in the hot dog. I mean, you can tell me it's unicorn meat and I'd be like, okay. Today we're gonna ask, is there any truth to that?
0:57:13.5 LB: Okay.
0:57:14.3 AV: Is there some questionable sources in the mystery meat? And the darkest question that I don't wanna ask, but we have to, is that why they are called hot dogs? I'll just say it straight up. Has there ever actually been dog in a hot dog?
0:57:31.1 LB: Oh my gosh.
0:57:32.4 AV: I know. Oh, I know we ask the questions no one else will.
0:57:36.4 LB: But it's all on our minds. We gotta know. So Anna I'm bracing myself, but I'm ready for you to tell us, tell us the answer.
0:57:45.1 AV: All right, here we go. So like we talked about sausage has always been ground up meat of various kinds, cooked, emulsified, and then put in a casing that is either stripped off or left on. And these are generally the less desirable or least pretty parts of the animal or cuts of meat. Perfectly good meat, but not something that's gonna look great in a butcher shop. And again, it's also been an effective way to preserve meat through the smoking and curing process. And so something that's reminded me of was in our takeout episode. Do you remember what the original takeout containers were?
0:58:21.1 LB: Oh, gosh. The pie Crust.
0:58:22.5 AV: Pies. They were pies.
0:58:23.9 LB: The thing that we eat. The crust that I love was actually the container.
0:58:27.4 AV: Exactly.
0:58:28.4 LB: For the food [laughter]
0:58:29.3 AV: The pie crust was not edible. The point was it was like your Pyrex [laughter] and then you would take it to, I don't know, the mines, I assume, crack it open and then eat what was inside, but throw away the pie crust. Edible crust came along a lot later when butter, salt, sugar were more accessible to everyday people. But another function of the pie crust was to conceal what was inside. So there was not always the most delectable items in their pie. And by covering it up, you could just kind of make it more palatable or at least people would be more likely to buy it.
0:59:06.3 LB: Sure.
0:59:06.7 AV: Okay.
0:59:07.0 LB: Just like a mincemeat pie without the crust covering.
0:59:11.7 AV: You're not eating that.
0:59:12.2 LB: It's not gonna look so great.
0:59:13.3 AV: No, no, no, no, no. So both the grinding up, the emulsifying and putting it in the casing had a similar function. You couldn't tell what it was.
0:59:21.8 LB: Yeah.
0:59:24.1 AV: So it both makes it a mystery in a bad way, but also like kind of a mystery in a good way. [laughter] So the term hot dog started showing up in print in the late 1800s. Like you said, Lia, the Frankfurter had been around a long time, but the term hot dog started in the late 1800s. And some people say that the term came because it looks like a Dachshund, like a Wiener dog or that there were cartoons about the Wiener dog.
0:59:48.7 LB: Yeah.
0:59:49.8 AV: But probably the real reason is that eating dog was actually kind of common in parts of Germany in the 18th and 19th century. Yes. So there may have been dog in some of the original sausages and Frankfurters.
1:00:09.4 LB: I see.
1:00:11.7 AV: But this was also kind of an anti-German slur or propaganda. This term hot dog shows up in correlation with the number of German immigrants increasing until they were actually the biggest group of immigrants coming in towards the turn of the century. And there was a lot of anti-German sentiment. We all know that anti-immigrant sentiment is nothing new. And so a lot of it got directed at Germans. And we've seen this show up in their food as well. Do you remember with the pretzel? In 1918, the LA times called it too German to be taken seriously.
1:00:49.1 LB: Yes.
1:00:49.6 AV: What does that even mean?
1:00:50.8 LB: I don't know. [laughter]
1:00:52.3 AV: Anti-German sentiment was also used by the Temperance Movement to argue against beer. For example, our girl, Carrie A. Nation. She took a hash into my heart. [laughter]
1:01:05.9 S?: That's a call back.
1:01:09.2 AV: The hot dog and the rumor that the Frankfurters contain dog is kind of another version of this. Because if you spread a rumor that the Frankfurters have dog in them, people are probably not gonna wanna eat there. They're not gonna wanna support that business. They're not gonna wanna eat that food. And it also kind of makes them seem like bad people or like monsters in our culture where we don't eat dogs. So this rumor was so robust that in the early 20th century, Coney Island banned the term hot dogs from any outward facing signage.
1:01:40.6 LB: What?
1:01:41.5 AV: So you could be Nathan's or Ida's hot dogs, but on your sign, it had to say Frankfurters.
1:01:48.4 LB: Woah!
1:01:48.7 AV: 'Cause it was hurting business to have things called hot dog.
1:01:51.0 LB: Oh my gosh!
1:01:53.3 AV: Like Lia said, in the late 19th century, early 20th century, there were some questionable ingredients in sausages.
1:02:01.5 LB: Right.
1:02:02.2 AV: And also probably in Frankfurters. Things changed a lot around the year 1900 when Upton Sinclair's book, The Jungle exposed the meat packing industry and made all high school juniors vegetarians for a semester.
1:02:14.8 LB: Yes. [laughter] Oh my gosh.
1:02:17.7 AV: Oh my God. At the end, when the guy falls into the pit of meat and then just gets swept away.
1:02:23.0 LB: Yeah. Oh, man.
1:02:25.3 AV: Vivid. And actually only six years later, the FDA was founded. And then for a while there was still kind of like... The FDA didn't have a lot to say or hadn't figured out its deal yet. They were still letting questionable misc meat and maybe sawdust and Crisco and other things into food, but they've locked it down. So there's no more dog.
1:02:44.5 LB: Right. No more dog. No more dog.
1:02:45.9 AV: It might be weird pink meat batter, but [laughter] there's no more dog in there. So the answer to that one is no. [laughter]
1:02:53.3 LB: Mystery solved.
1:02:54.6 AV: Mystery solved. No dog in the hot dogs.
1:03:03.1 AV: We'll never really be able to unlock and understand all the mystique behind a hot dog, but I hope that this has given you a little a handle on some of these bigger questions.
1:03:12.4 LB: It has.
1:03:14.5 AV: I'm just on board with the Queen of Wein, whatever she says...
1:03:16.3 LB: Exactly.
1:03:16.8 AV: Whatever she says I wanna go with.
1:03:18.2 LB: Yeah. If Queen of Wein says it I'm there.
1:03:21.0 AV: She didn't just get that title, right?
1:03:22.5 LB: That's right.
1:03:23.2 AV: She earned it.
1:03:23.6 LB: You gotta earn it.
1:03:24.1 AV: You gotta earn it. All right, everyone. Thanks for joining us today. Go out and get yourself a Frankfurter, a hot dog.
1:03:32.4 LB: Yeah.
1:03:33.1 AV: And dress it any way you like.
1:03:51.2 LB: Thank you for joining us for this episode of Every Day is a Food Day. Be sure to follow the show and catch up on past episodes wherever you get your podcasts. Connect with us on social media at @fooddaypod, join our mailing list through our website, yumday.co/podcast. And don't forget to leave us that rating and review.
1:04:09.2 AV: The clips you heard today were from the late show with Steven Colbert on CBS, The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Kelly F. Zimerman and Metal News Service, Roll Call, the West Virginia Hot Dog Festival, CNN, ESPN, and Fox news.
1:04:22.6 LB: Every Day is a Food Day is a production of Van Valin productions and Yum Day. It is produced and hosted by us, Lia Ballentine and Anna Van Valin.