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History of The Hot Dog

The Martha Stewart Show, September 2008

-- Sausage is one of the oldest forms of processed food, having been mentioned in Homer's Odyssey as far back as the ninth century B.C. A hot dog is actually a type of sausage that is mildly seasoned and finely ground.

-- Frankfurt, Germany, is traditionally credited with originating the frankfurter. It's said that the frankfurter was developed there in 1487. But the people of Vienna (Wien), Austria, point to the term "wiener" to prove their claim as the birthplace of the hot dog.

-- Austrians and Germans brought the sausages with them to the United States and sold them from carts in cities on the East Coast.

-- Franks and wieners began popping up at sporting events and became extremely popular at Coney Island during this time period.

-- Germans and Austrians had a great love of dogs and often had them at their side while selling franks and wieners.

-- Historians say the name came about as somewhat of a joke -- people would joke that dogs were included in the sausage. That was never the case, but it has added to the "mystique" of the hot dog.

-- Originally, hot dogs were all sold in a natural casing that you ate. Today, the vast majority -- about 95 percent -- are made in cellulose casings that are removed before they are packaged. We call these skinless hot dogs.

Special Thanks
Special thanks to Janet Riley, president of The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, a division of the American Meat Institute, for sharing the history of the hot dog.

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