Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Every city, town, region, country, has it “own” version of a hot dog that people get attached to.  I am hooked on Chicago style identified by a boatload of condiments smothering a beefy dog nestled in a poppy seed bun:  yellow mustard, insanely green relish, chopped raw onion, tomato, crisp dill pickle, hot sport peppers and a dash of celery but never ever ketchup! As widespread as it is used on dogs, ketchup on a hot dog in Chicago is considered a cardinal sin.  How this all came to be is probably a story in itself and I'll direct you to the wonderful new book by Bob Schwartz, Never put Ketchup on a Hot Dog, to perhaps somewhat unveil the origins of this regional taboo.  I've just taken it as gospel, no questions asked.

How do these things start anyway?  Hell, I hated mustard as a kid and probably eschewed ketchup on dogs for fear of the ketchup police.  I've always loved ketchup, particularly on fries, it's almost mandatory for me,  and yet can't even seem to stomach the thought of putting it on a hot dog...very peculiar, brainwashing works.  I find it interesting how taste preferences develop so I think I'll visit some of my pondering on that next time.  In the meantime maybe I should try a little ketchup on a dog for the sake of food science...


Anonymous said...

I am reminded of my first time eating a dog with Hank and Michael in Chicago. I'm from NY and there ketchup is ok on a dog, in fact I grew up eating red and white hots in Rochester and anything goes, no rules for us.
We were at Super Dog in the car, in the middle of winter, I think. The car hop brought our boxes, drinks and ketchup (for the fries). I grabbed the bottle and went for my dog, when I was screamed at "Ah!!! What are you doing?" Mike yelled
"Um, putting ketchup on my dog..."
"Yeah, we don't do that here, I'll have to kick you out of the car if you do that Ash" said Hank
"So be it" I said with my first bit of a true Chicago dog. It was damn good, and I have not looked back since. Except of course when I'm home in Rochester eating a Zwigles Red Hot, then anything goes.

Anonymous said...


You might laugh, but one of the best dogs I've ever had was at Weiner circle, near Lincoln Park. I just had a few. Better than Pinks and better and Gray's. The char makes it.

Not sure if the Chocolate Shake makes it better or worse though.


Anonymous said...


Now you've got to try a broiled dog with BBQ sauce...

Growing up out East we used ketchup and mustard....Now I use only mustard...but sometimes...I regress...
Been too long since A trip to Rut's Hut