Many Americans go into this week still recovering from a holiday weekend that included some questionable dietary choices. There are generally a few beers or nachos to regret over the course of the next few days. But most regrettable of all may be that old American favorite: the hot dog. We all know that a little mystery is involved in the creation of this culinary national treasure, and we’re okay with that. (Otto von Bismarck had this advice about the bliss of legislative and culinary ignorance: “Those who follow the law and enjoy sausages should not watch either being made.”) But how many of us would have scarfed them down as we did this Saturday, knowing that the standard list of ingredients includes “lower-grade muscle trimmings, fatty tissues, head meat, animal feet, animal skin, blood, liver and other edible slaughter by-products”?
Then again, the use of those, um, less celebrated cuts of meat is in no way new. And it’s by no means particularly American either. Throughout the course of history, man has dined on almost every part of almost any creature (provided we can catch it). Are we suddenly so squeamish now? Not on the Fourth of July, anyway. Plus there’s mustard.
Chicago-style hot dog (image: Superx308)