Hot Dogs

7 Jun

In the words of Jennifer Coolidge in Legally Blonde 2, “You look like the fourth of July. Man, that makes me want to eat a hot dog!”

Hot dogs are pretty much an “American” nationalistic food for reasons that are difficult to define other than, “it just feels American!” What is this brainwashing that has been ingrained in our memory?? The annual Nathan’s Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest started in 1916 by FDR, making it the nation’s oldest eating competition. Perhaps that’s where these sentiments all began. Hot dogs also go hand in hand with baseball, a sport considered to be “America’s favorite past time” because of its deep historical roots. Maybe it started there. However, regardless of its nationalism inducing origin, one thing is for certain: hot dogs are a great summertime, family food. Holding appeal among children and adults alike, they are not pretentious, and are very simple to make. Cooking hot dogs over a grill while picnicking with the family conjures up feelings of “American-ness” and country pride. Add fireworks to the occasion and you’ve got yourself a prime celebration of the U.S.A’s independence. There is something about a hot dog that just gives it this wholesome, familiar feel that Americans feel comforted by.

Food and meal time are what brings families together, regardless of culture.  Because America is so diverse, many people have created their own variation on hot dogs of their own. Chicago dogs are an example of this, and I have definitely seen tofu dogs, dogs with fried noodles on top, etc. The fact that the hot dog is so flexible and open to interpretation parallels the variety seen in America!

Hot dogs have certainly pervaded American culture, whether it be at the dinner table, bbqs, movies, national holidays, and sports. It is most certainly a nationalistic food!

Hot dogs may have evolved over the years, but they are definitely still "American"!

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