by Stef Jantz, Food Columnist
It’s the time of year to remember those we’ve lost that served our country. The bravest of the brave that are memorialized and deserve our utmost gratitude.
Along with Memorial Day, enter grilling time and spirits of all kinds flowing.
A staple for most grills are those delicious hotdogs and sausages. I can hear the sizzle of juices dropping over the open flame and that scrumptious scent wafting towards your nose that enthralls the senses.
At the moment, you don’t care where they came from or how they were made, you’re just screaming “get in my belly!” The time arrives when you put that delicious dog between a bun, dress it up just right, and take a bite.
The crisp break of the skin, juices flow around the soft, warm bun and in your mouth, then combines with those perfect toppings as you sigh in relief. But really, how did hotdogs and sausages come about?
They say it goes all the way back to Mesopotamia times and probably earlier since Homer noted it in his writings of Odyssey. There’s no official record, but as centuries passed, Emperor Nero’s cook, Gaius, is said to have “discovered” sausages.
During those times, it was known to starve pigs a week prior to slaughter but a certain story goes that one pig wasn’t properly cleaned but as Gaius opened the belly after the cook, its intestines were puffed up and popped out of the roast.
He knew he had discovered something brilliant, so he continued to stuff pig intestine with venison, ground beef, cooked ground wheat and spices, then tying them up in sections.
As time went on, the fad grew around Europe and especially in Germany.
The Germans created many different varieties to pair with beer and sauerkraut but there are two rivals on who created the concoction. It’s between Frankfurt, Germany and Vienna (Wien, hence the name wiener), Austria.
However, Frankfurt says they created them back in 1487 but Vienna claims it was created in their country in the late 19th century, but from my understanding, we must thank the Germans for bringing them across the pond.
Now, when it comes to the bread that we put the succulent dog between, there’s also doubts on who first came up with the idea.
During the 1860s, a German im- migrant sold hotdogs in a pushcart along with milk rolls and sauerkraut in New York City.
In 1871, a German baker named Charles Feltman, opened the first Coney Island hot dog stand. Then another story goes that Anton Feuchtwanger, a Bavarian concessionaire, created the bun.
Feuchtwanger would loan white gloves to his customers to handle the steaming dogs but were not returned most of the time and ran low on gloves.
Anton then asked his brother-in-law baker to help, and he reportedly created a long soft roll to cradle the sausage.
Another twist to the story is how the name hot dog came about. Sausages were originally called dachshund sausages, so vendors were calling out “they’re red hot” while pulling them out of a hot water tank to customers. Up until a cartoonist tried to draw a cartoon covering the food item, he didn’t know how to spell dachshunds, so he called them hot dogs.
This story has yet to remain valid though because the cartoon cannot be found despite the popularity of the artist.
Go get your grill on but first, don’t forget to honor those who served our great nation and we have lost over the years.
I will leave you with a pondering curiosity; why do hotdog and sausage packages come with an odd amount while buns come with an even amount? Sales ploy?