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America’s favorite summer pastime baseball, and the Hot Dog

Bergen County Historical Society

New Bridge Landing, River Edge  NJ,  according to the Bergen County Historical Society Baseball, America’s favorite summer pastime, boasts many early influences in its development. Played like early similar games [one called rounders], it is first referenced in England in the 1700s in a child’s book “A Little Pretty Pocket Book” where it was actually called baseball using three posts in a triangle whereas today’s four bases are the better known diamond.

By late 1800s there were pro teams and the game never stopped growing. “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” was a 1908 Tin Pan Alley hit by Norworth and Tilzer, who by the way, had never seen a game prior to writing this ditty about a fictitious Katie Casey, who wanted her beau to take her to a game. It’s the chorus that everyone sings during the seventh inning stretch.

New York Yankees Stars Sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” on The Ed Sullivan

The dog – Hot dogs have always been standard game fare- from the sausage, an item dating back to 64AD when Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar’s cook stuffed pig intestines with ground meat, cooked it, served it, and Nero loved it. By the 13th century, Frankfurt, Germany had developed the “frankfurter”, and during the 18th century the “weiner” of pork and beef was being produced in Vienna, Austria. [Why a dog? Well, way back when, dog meat was common and there was suspicion it was still included in those sausages even as late as the 19th and 20th centuries. Note; today, FDA forbids any such meat in American hot dogs. Another is they are named after the cute German dachshund due to its shape.] Immigrants, mostly German and Austrian, brought it to America, and there are colonial recipes incorporating this sausage meat in several dishes. The roll – The dog was ideal street food except that the customers, using gloves to not burn their hands, failed to return the gloves to the vendor.
One story is, in 1880 German immigrant Anton Feuchtwanger’s wife came up with the idea of wrapping a long soft roll around it, and the meat-bread combo became “red hots”. Another story is pieman Charles Feltman’s 1867 cart with a stove that boiled sausages and kept buns warm on Coney Island that eventually grew into an empire of “Coney Island Red Hots”. Nathan Handwerker opened his stand in 1916 as “Nathan’s Hot Dogs”. Today, hot dogs are made with natural casings or as skinless-using a cellulose casing during production, then removed prior to packaging. There is so much more on the history of the hot dog; just some highlights here.
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