(A revisit from 2012)
Is summer hot dog season in your family? This year we’ve started grilling out on our campfire ring every Sunday with my mother-in-law, and hot dogs are pretty much always on the menu. But have you ever wondered where they got their name?
Well, a hot dog is defined as a particular type of sausage, usually served on a split bun. Check. And in the 1890s, sausages were sometimes referred to as “dogs.” Why? Well, ahem, there was apparently a suspicion that some sausages contained dog meat. And while I didn’t see any documentation on it, the articles said this suspicion was “occasionally justified.” Ewww. =(
Anyway. So earning the name “dog” was just because it was in the sausage family. The fact that they were served on buns made them a quick and easy meal when on the go, and apparently a little boy in the 1890s rushed up to a vendor and said, “Give me a hot dog! Quick!” and it stuck. (Yeah, sounds like lure, doesn’t it? LOL)
It was popularized by a cartoon that really got the name stuck. What’s even more interesting is that it only took 6 years from “hot dog” to go from the accepted name of that particular sausage to a verb used when someone’s showing off. By 1906, “Hot dog!” as an expression of approval had gained its place too. So now that we’re moving toward the season of picnics and cookouts, you’ll know why you’re tossing hot dogs on the grill and not frankfurters or weiners or plain ol’ sausages. 😉