Monday, July 21, 2014

Rant: Dog Fighting

What do President Barack Obama and Inspector Harry Callahan aka "Dirty Harry" have in common?

Though they might seem to be very disparate individuals, they hold a similar opinion on a controversial topic. It's a topic that divides many people, one which garners much emotion. And during this summer season, the topic is particularly relevant and may lead to heated arguments in backyards, beaches and elsewhere. I have my own stance in this controversy, counter to both the President and Dirty Harry, and I'm sure it'll anger some. However, I firmly stand by my opinion.

I like ketchup on my hot dogs. 

That opinion isn't popular. President Obama has stated that “You shouldn’t put ketchup on your hot dog" while Dirty Harry in "Sudden Impact" agrees, having said, "Nobody, I mean nobody puts ketchup on a hot dog."  Even the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council has posted, "Don't...Use ketchup on your hot dog after the age of 18. Mustard, relish, onions, cheese and chili are acceptable." Chicago seems to take the lead in its opposition to ketchup on hot dogs, but people all over the country have embraced a similar sentiment.

Why so much hate for ketchup on hot dogs? That seems more difficult to determine, with various theories that seem to lack much logical support. It might be something that at its most basic is more psychological than anything else. The most common criticisms seem to be is that ketchup covers up the taste of the meat or that there is too much sugar in the ketchup. However, when you look at everything else that often is placed onto a hot dog, that rationale easily falls apart.

Let's look at the basic Chicago-style hot dog, which is topped by a mound of ingredients, including yellow mustard, chopped white onions, green sweet pickle relish, dill pickle spear; tomatoes, pickled sport peppers, and celery salt. All those toppings are going to cover up the taste of the meat far more than just a slather of ketchup. And if sugar is a worry, then why add sweet pickle relish? It makes no sense to oppose ketchup cause of its sugar content, but add a different sweet condiment.

A number of people like chili atop their hot dog, and people don't complain about that, yet a common ingredient in chili is ketchup. We also should realize that there are various types of ketchup out there too, and you can even create your own ketchup recipe at home. Some of these different ketchup sauces can be spicier than sweet. You shouldn't generalize about ketchup due to all its possible varieties.

We also have to remember that this is just a hot dog. It isn't haute cuisine. It commonly includes meat trimmings and fat, spices and preservatives. So what's the big deal about what some people choose to put on it? Why be a snob about putting ketchup on such a plebian food? People generally don;t complain about ketchup on burgers, and that is far closer to a steak than a beef hot dog will ever be. Get off your high horse about what you think is an acceptable condiment for a hot dog.

If you don't want ketchup on your hot dog, that is fine as that is your preference. Just don't tell everyone that no one should put ketchup on their hot dogs. Don't make some grand pronouncement that ketchup doesn't belong on any hot dogs. I'll bet that your rationale doesn't stand up to careful scrutiny and reasoning.


Todd - VT Wine Media said...

While I'm sure there are some extremely good hot dogs out there, I'd say the vast majority of those consumed at any backyard cookout are worthy of being slathered or doused in whatever best aids the enjoyment and digestion by the individual. Hot dogs are a symbol of the American dream, a great freedom found within the confines of backyards across this great nation.
That said, we are still so simplistic as to be caught in this polarized debate between the red stained shirts and the yellow stained shirts. I yearn for a more complex and inclusive system that allows more room for ingenuity and creativity, and think that we might consider the democratic examples of the Chilean people, and as exhibit A, I give you the "completo".

Richard Auffrey said...

Great photo Todd!

Veronica said...

Hey Richard,
Your post make my mouth watering.I love hot dogs and of course with ketchup on it :)