Don’t disrespect the dog

Longtime ShysterBall readers know that I take hot dogs very seriously. I’m not a snob about them — I’m cool with whatever is popular in whatever region I happen to be in — but I am certainly someone who expects others to honor and respect hot dog culture for the wonderful thing that it is.

The City of New York is not doing that when it comes to the new tourist-oriented banners its putting up all over the city:

What got me started on this rant was a banner that I keep seeing, featuring a hot dog. I suppose it’s intended to attract foodie tourists to the website. But where did that hot dog come from? It’s clearly not the slender, natural-skin weenie for which New York is famous, from its cart-vended “dirty water dogs,” to the esteemed products of Nathan’s and Katz’s.

No, the picture on the banner is clearly a bulbous, fake-skinned ballpark-type frank, the kind that is eaten in the rest of the country. Moreover, the frank is smeared with mustard and ketchup. No sauerkraut. No sauteed onions. It’s as if the artist had never seen a New York frank. I won’t even go into the artistic qualities of the banner. Actually–yes, I will. This thing is an eyesore, with jarring colors and annoying graphics. And was a ballpark frank the most iconic New York food image they could come up with?

The author himself has violated some code of professional hot dog ethics by making broad generalizations about the kind of hot dogs eaten in “the rest of the country,” but his primary point stands.

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  1. YankeesfanLen said...

    If this were Chicago, representing a Chicago dog, there would be an angry group with torches making sure Mayor Daley took each one down personally.
    And it is certainly not indicative of any dog in the tri-state, either.
    I think ketchup is against the law anywhere east of Scranton

  2. Ralph said...

    Ketchup is inexcusable for anyone over the age of 6.  If you see someone put ketchup on a dog, you have a civil duty to mock them until they either cry or promise to never do it again.

  3. glenn said...

    Detroit Coney Dogs:  Cincinnati chili, onions and mustard.  Anything else is an impostor.  Long live Lafayette Coney Island!

  4. go zips said...

    jacobs field (sorry- progressive field) has THE best mustard anywhere – ballpark mustard. and, there’s nothing wrong with mixing in a little ketchup and relish as long as the main condiment is ballpark mustard.

  5. glenn said...

    Only one exception:  Any dog at a ballpark, so long as it comes from a steamer being carried through the aisles by an obnoxious vendor with giant tongs.

  6. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Glenn—I’m a Flint native, so I grew up with the Coney Islands. They hardly exist anywhere else, but in Flint they’re on every damn corner.  Good breakfasts, great dogs, and everything else is a one way ticket to a stomach pump.

    /personal fan of U.S. Coney Island on the corner of Bristol and Saginaw in Burton.

  7. glenn said...

    Gotcha, but when I thik of food in Flint, it’s the Halo Burger that’s king.  Best burger I’ve ever had anywhere.

  8. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Halo Burger is some righteously good stuff, Glenn.  I have no idea how it hasn’t gotten out of Flint after all of these years.

  9. glenn said...

    We used to drive all the way up from Hamtramck for ‘em on the weekends, with ,zipping up I-75 with the sun shining and the windows down and old Ernie on WJR.  Man, I haven’t though about these things in a long time.  Must be time for pitchers and catchers to report.

  10. MooseinOhio said...

    Growing up in Maine it was red hot from Jordan’s meats – the snap of the casing was half the appeal.  As an adult I question exactly what was in the dye that made the casing such a bright red but at this point my body is a cess pool of chemical byproducts I doubt it matters.

    As for condiments – mustard is the way to go – ketchup should be outlawed (except for the wife as I want to keep her happy).

  11. mkd said...

    @ Ralph and Moose,

    I only found out like two weeks that there was a MASSIVE stigma attached to putting ketchup on a hot dog. I was born/raised in the North West and we just don’t have the kind of regional hot dog culture that teaches us these valuable life lessons. Ketchup went on hot dogs when we were kids and inertia just kind of keeps putting it there when we grow up. There ought to be some kind of outreach program so we don’t make fools of ourselves when traveling.

    (Luckily I’ve always preferred brown mustard/onions/sauerkraut on my dogs, so by pure chance I’ve managed to go through life not looking like an idiot.)

  12. Tony B said...

    The only Coney Island is in Brooklyn NY, the home of Nathan’s famous. Detroit Coney Dog?!?!?? Talk about an imposter..

  13. Daniel said...

    Honestly, I just don’t comprehent the vitriol from people against the application of ketchup on a hot dog.  Perfectly normal, loving, open-minded people think that those of us who put ketchup on our hot dogs should have our seed wiped from the earth for the good of humanity.

    Sure, I grew up putting ketchup on my hot dog, and you know what?  I enjoy the taste of it!  Yes, I’m 26 and I like ketchup on my hot dog.  Throw on some onions and peppers, maybe a little hot sauce and jalapenos, plus the ketchup, and I’m happy as can be.

    Personally, I hate mustard and sauerkraut.  Can’t stand the stuff.  But if you want it on your hot dog – good for you!  I won’t judge you for that.  It’s your choice, and I’m glad those condiments help you appreciate the hot dog!  Just please understand that there are those of us who like ketchup, and we are good people who contribute to society.  Stop the hate!

  14. Daniel said...

    mkd – You don’t have to run from your heritage!  Ketchup is okay!  Don’t let them tell you that you have no culture.  Don’t apologize for squeezing that wonderful Heinz preservative-laden tomato paste on your dog!  We can resist this movement to oppress ketchup!

  15. MooseinOhio said...

    For what it is worth I dislike ketchup on everything as either I used bbq sauce (much more flavorful) or a real tomato sauce (e.g. marinara) that is well seasoned.  I guess having grown up with friedns who grandparents were from Italy and working in the kitchen of one of there businesses I became a bit of a snob with tomato based sauces and have always found ketchup to be lacking.

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