What’s the most popular food in America? That’s a question that is difficult to answer definitively, but one thing’s for sure: the hot dog would be in the running. Hot dogs are so popular, in fact, that more than a thousand dogs were downed by Americans in the time it took you to read this sentence – even if you’re a speed-reader. That’s because Americans consume an average of 818 hot dogs per second during the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
And if all the dogs consumed on each Fourth of July were laid end-to-end, they would stretch from the east coast to the west coast…five times. That’s a lot of dogs!
If hot dogs are a quintessential American food, it’s only fitting that they’re so closely identified with the quintessential American sport: baseball. Hot dogs have been a ballpark staple for more than a century. And sports fans’ love for the food is certainly not growing stale – hot dogs are still more popular than any other ballpark food, including peanuts, cotton candy, and cracker jacks. More than 21 million hot dogs will be consumed at ballparks this year.
One of the game’s largest legends had a legendarily large appetite for hot dogs. Babe Ruth reportedly downed a dozen dogs and 8 bottles of soda during the break between a doubleheader one day. (There’s no report on how a bellyful of dogs sloshing in soda impacted his play in the second game. Sure would be interesting to know!). On another occasion, the Babe was said to have binged on as many as 18 dogs as his team rode a train to an away game.
No Need to be Squeamish About Your Dogs…
According to urban legend, the ingredients that go into the making of hot dogs is something that, well…you’re probably better off not knowing. If you want to be able to enjoy your dogs, you’d better not ask what’s in them, because the answer just might turn your stomach. At least, that’s what many people believe.
But there’s no need for nausea. These days, in fact, there’s really no great mystery about what goes into the making of a dog. In times past it may have been different; olden-day dogs may indeed have been loaded with lots of “mystery meats.” But these days, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, it’s different. The ingredients that are used to make hot dogs are mostly meat and poultry trimmings.
And federal law has mandated that any mystery involved in the process be removed. If anything other than standard cuts of meat are used – items like hearts and livers, for example – the ingredients list on the packaging must clearly state that “variety meats” have been used.
So relax, and go ahead and take a bite out of that dog. After all, we Americans collectively are expected to down 818 of the things this very second!