Today is National Hot Dog Day. Isaiah loves hot dogs, so he was excited when I told him that on National Hot Dog Day we would have a hot dog bar so that we could make our favorite hotdogs. In addition to the classic toppings: mustard, ketchup and relish, we had other hot dog fixings to make a few regional favorites. However, Isaiah, the traditionalist, was content with just ketchup, mustard (applied in a straight line) and relish. He also refuses to eat grilled hot dogs. They must be cooked indoors in a pot of water.
In my northeastern home, when we made hot dogs (my father referred to them as frankfurters), there was almost always a pot of sauerkraut to go with them. My mother in particular enjoyed piling sauerkraut on her hot dogs. Now I am not sure if the sauerkraut-smothered hot dog is a Pennsylvania thing or if it was just something that my mom enjoyed. When I first mentioned it to Harold, he turned up his nose and absolutely refused to entertain the idea. Since being married to Mr. Harold, I have never had sauerkraut. That changed today-- on National Hot Dog Day. Yum! It was as good as I remembered.
I asked my Detroit-native husband how Detroiters preferred their hotdogs. "Coney Island dogs!" He responded. I have never seen him so excited about the thought of eating a hot dog. "I used to eat Coney Island dogs until my stomach was about to explode ." Oh yeah. Coneys. I recalled years ago when I visited a friend in Indiana. She mentioned that we were going to have Coneys for lunch. I thought, "Huh?" I had never heard of a Coney. She explained that they were hot dogs with chili on them. My response, "Oh. You mean chili dogs?"
And there is the New York style hot dog. When I moved to New York to go to college, I discovered that street hot dog vendors consistently offered peppery, tomatoey onions with hotdogs. So I whipped up my version of these New York onions for our hot dog bar.
I have lived in and around Chicago for over 20 years, yet I really did not know anything about a Chicago style hot dog. So a friend told me that that Chicagoans prefer yellow mustard, relish, raw onions, peppers, pickle slices, diced tomatoes and a poppy seed bun.
Finally, I made a pan of baked beans. Don't you remember being served "franks and beans" as a kid?