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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Friday, May 28, 2010

hot dog! help me out

How do you like your hot dogs? That burning question, to be answered by you, will be the subject of a story I'll be producing for our July 4 News-Herald.

It's another Ben Franklin project effort to produce an entire newspaper using only free tools found on the internet. We made newspaper history when we produced our May 20 paper that same way. That's why you may have been directed to this blog through a posting on Twitter, one of the free tools I'll be depending upon.

Hot dogs are part of the American psyche and it's not as simple a question as you may think. Some insist on all-beef dogs, some are loyal to a certain brand, some use them as an ingredient in other dishes. Some swear by skinless dogs, while others want the skin to split before consuming it. Some people steam their hot dogs, while others wouldn't consider eating one unless it was speared on a stick and cooked over an open fire, camping style. Mustard and catsup are favorite condiments, but it doesn't stop there.

By the time this story sees print I hope to have gathered dozens of ideas, some recipes for condiments, your hot dog preferences and perhaps a little something about buns. But I need your help.

Weigh in here or check out my Tweets on Twitter and my Facebook account. I'm really new at all this so perhaps you'll have some suggestions in those areas too. I welcome them all.

I'd really like to hear from you before June 11 because I'll be in France the following week (see earlier blog) and will need to wrap this up when I get home.

So: How do you like your hot dogs?


Anonymous Kathie from Mentor said...

Hot dogs were a huge part of summers growing up in Chicago land. Until I moved 20-years later, I thought everyone "dressed" a hot dog like they do in Chicago. Try this. Take your favorite dog and bun, then slice cucumbers the long way, pat dry and slide them parallel on each side of hot dog between the dog and the bun. Then add thinly sliced pickles, lettuce,tomatoes, green olives, finely diced peppers or any other vegetable material. Then top with mustard.

Using ketchup could get you killed unless you were under 10 years old. Adults use mustard on hot dogs and discussion. (It must have been all those Germans in Chicagoland.)

You can even put the ingredients out seperately and let everyone dress their own dog.

Also- forget the chilli and cheese'll rarely see hot dogs done like that. Try this Chicago sytle hot dog and enjoy.

(For a real treat, use bratwurst instead of the hot dog. Fill a pot with 2-3 cans of beer, sliced onions and green peppers. Add bratwurst and then water until the sausage are covered. Cook through.. and then put on grill or frypan for a quick browing.) Delicious- just add mustard.

May 31, 2010 at 3:15 PM 
Anonymous Dan Bomeli said...

We're not fussy about the kind of hot dog (or better still, a brat) so much as we are about how they're prepared.

Boil them? Nope! In our opinion, they're not edible unless grilled until they're almost -- but not quite -- burned. You know, the skin splits open and turns dark brown and semi-crunchy.

We don't care what kind of bun we use, either -- so long as it isn't too huge. You don't want the dog to get lost in a loaf-sized hunk of bread.

Finally, we make sure to use one of the Cleveland-style mustards -- either Stadium or Ballpark, because about the only thing yellow mustard is good for is deviled eggs.

June 5, 2010 at 9:50 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing is better than a nathan's hotdog on the grill with just mustard. Yum!

June 7, 2010 at 1:53 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Janet, I am looking for the receipe for Pomodoro sauce printed in the NewsHerald sometime in May. I need to make the sauce and cannot locate the recipe. Thanks for your prompt assistance and have a great trip!

June 7, 2010 at 5:06 PM 
Anonymous Janet said...

Pomodora sauce recipe ran May 26. Here it is. Come to think of it, this would be delish with hotdogs. But I'd rather have your best hotdog recipe!

10 plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded and finely chopped
1⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1⁄4 cup red onion, diced
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Let stand 10 minutes. Place over low heat. Simmer until tomatoes are tender and mixture is thick, 20 to 40 minutes.

June 7, 2010 at 6:41 PM 
Blogger kfrisby said...

Friday evenings were for grocery shopping at the A&P…a night out for mom and dad who upon return always unpacked at least a five-pound bag of “hotdogs”. How else could you stretch a father’s paycheck that often worked two or more jobs to feed a family of eight?

Hotdogs were a diet mainstay…cooked with green peppers, onion, diced pre-cooked potatoes, tomato sauce and hotdogs enough for eight. Or, a fancier creation was to slit the hotdog length-wise, insert a slice of Velveeta and wrap in a piece of raw bacon before baking until often withered and brown. I remember hotdogs wrapped in dough and baked; cooked in sauerkraut (this remains one of my favorites). We didn’t have anything as fancy as a charcoal grill…just frying pans and pots cooked our dogs.

Yes, we frequently dined on this now revealed cholesterol-laden concoction that has survived the bad rap in spite of itself.

I vowed I’d never eat another hotdog after leaving home at a very tender age by today’s standards.

Looking back I now view those dinner table gatherings as much more than my mother’s creative attempt to stretch the meager available grocery allowance. In addition to learning to make do with what was available, my father often reminded the brood gathered around the table manners that stuck for life…often swatting our elbow off the table; waiting patiently for mom to sit down before we started passing the family-style servings; chewing with lips closed for goodness sake; not talking with food in your mouth; cutting portions rather than conveniently stuffing our mouth; never asking for seconds before all had finished eating; sitting at the table until all had finished; lifting our utensils to our mouth rather than lowering our mouths to our food.

And now the infamous hotdog serves another purpose. I’m going to send this to my father in his Father’s Day card as a special thank you for making those ordinary hotdog meals a life-time skill I cherish. And to my mother…the hotdog gourmet chef.

And to my bacteria-phobic children…we often would snitch an uncooked hotdog or two right from the bag as a snack…uhmmm.

June 9, 2010 at 10:11 PM 
Anonymous Heather from Mentor said...

Hotdogs are go to food during the summer. I love the smell coming off the girl. I like my hotdogs kept simple, ketchup, spicy brown, and relish.
My favorite hotgdogs of all time are from Scooters in Mentor, Ohio. Just before Headlands beach. They deep fry their hotdogs and you can dress them anyway you please!
But, recently I had an amazing hotdog down in Athens, Ohio, where I attend school at Ohio University. The place is called O'Bettys and their most popular dog is topped with coleslaw hot sauce and bacon...YUM!
However, my heart will always be in Mentor and at Scooters!

June 10, 2010 at 9:10 AM 
Anonymous Lauren Podolak said...

Every hot dog made by my mom while growing up in Mentor was fantastic. I now live in Florida, but when I visit home, I try fit in a trip to the west side market for the great dogs. No matter how you make them/top them. Yummy. Miss them!

June 11, 2010 at 7:01 AM 

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