Hot Dog Month

by Mark Broadbent

Mark Broadbent has enjoyed a food-obsessed career spanning three decades. He’s cooked in Five star Hotels, Two star Michelin restaurants, Gastro Pubs and Member’s Clubs, delivering unforgettable cuisine or acting as a consultant. London’s Bluebird was just one of his success stories. Under his creative direction, the restaurant achieved huge critical acclaim and was especially loved by AA Gill.

What I love about the food revolution is that there is a day, week or month in honour of pretty much anything gastronomic you can think of.

And July is, apparently, National Hot Dog Month.

I have to say I’m a big fan of the hot dog. And I’m not alone because in the good old USA our hungry Atlantic brothers and sisters will have devoured over 155 million over the recent July 4th Weekend (which happens to be their biggest annual hot-dog holiday). In fact Americans love them so much, they eat an average of 60 hot dogs each a year.

But where does the origin of the hot dog come? Many agree that one of the first sausages was eaten in Frankfurt way back in the thirteenth century, hence the name Frankfurter. But the hot dog phenomenon as we know it was popularised in the USA in the late 1800’s as a common street food and later as a steadfast offering at baseball games around the country.

Before we talk toppings and condiments, there are a myriad of sausage varieties to choose from. The most obvious being the Frankfurter made with pork. But then there’s beef, chicken, veggie, spicy, non-spicy, red dogs, white dogs, smoked bacon wrapped dogs, potato dogs, steamed, grilled, fried… Every state has its style.

Topping-wise where do we even begin? Mustard, ketchup, relish, fresh onions, fried onions, crispy onions, gherkins, mayonnaise, chilli, tomatoes, grated cheese, curry sauce, sauerkraut. Basically, the list of options goes on and on and on.

Hot dogs are loved all over the world with street food vendors and even restaurants dedicating their menus to the dish. But meanwhile, back in Germany, hot dog fans are treated to the ever popular Bratwurst and Currywurst. In fact in Berlin alone 70 million are eaten every year. And having visited recently, I can vouch for their deliciousness.

This particular plate of yumminess was devoured in the food hall of major department store, KaDeWe. The store is, as you’d expect, brimming with glamorous designer shoes, clothes and handbags. But it was the food hall that I made a beeline for. To eat in particular their version of Currywurst.

And I wasn’t disappointed. A succulent sausage, served bun-less as is tradition, smothered in their homemade ketchup, curry sauce and shavings of crispy fried potato. All washed down with an ice-cold craft beer. Honestly, I’d go back in an instant. And while I love fine dining, there’s something instantly glorious about this simple plate of food. All hail the might hot dog!

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