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Tuesday, February 18, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Let’s Be Frank: Hot Dogs Really Aren’t That Evil

By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Revi

I wish to say a few words in defense of the hot dog.

The hot dog gets no respect these days. People call it rude names such as a “tube steak,” a “cholesterol rocket,” or most insulting of all, a “wienie.” They disparage the hot dog constantly, making snide remarks about “pork lips” and “rat hairs.”

Oh, sure, as if a few rat hairs ever hurt anybody.

Why is it always open season on the hot dog? A group of vegetarians went so far as to crash an Oscar Mayer audition recently, screaming such things as, “Pigs don’t want to be Oscar Mayer wieners!”

Right, as if broccoli “wants” to be Broccoli-Tofu Surprise. I, personally, believe it is only fair to consume all kingdoms equally (animal and plant), although I do admit that I draw the line at the mineral.

Anyway, this week I decided to demonstrate my solidarity with the hot dog by eating one. And let me tell you, it was delicious. It was a foot-long all-beef kosher model, at the Spokane Indians baseball game. This probably would have tasted moderately good at home, but everyone knows that due to mysterious alchemy, a hot dog tastes much better at a ballpark because of interaction with Cracker Jack fumes.

I slathered my dog with onions and relish and ketchup and mustard, so this was a complete meal incorporating all of the major food groups, including the protein (rat-hair) group. I did not feel the slightest bit guilty after eating this big dog, although I did feel a bit queasy, which I attributed to drinking warm beer with Twizzlers.

I’m sure that somebody out there is saying, “Shame on you, Jim Kershner. You should be more careful about what you put in that mouth of yours.”

This person is my family doctor, who knows my cholesterol level. In my defense, I can say that I eat hot dogs only on special occasions (baseball games) and furthermore, my extensive research shows there are far worse things I could be eating instead.

For instance, I could have gone to practically any burger joint and had a double-decker with large fries, worth 980 calories and 56 grams of fat. I could have gone to a seafood restaurant and had the deep-fried Fat Admiral’s Platter, worth 1,080 calories and 52 grams of fat. I could have gone to a cafe and ordered a Denver omelette, worth 735 calories and 63 grams of fat.

Or I could have done what I did last week while staying in a cabin in the Montana mountains. I could have put a big cast-iron skillet on the woodstove, dumped an entire pound of bacon in it, then dumped an entire pound of breakfast sausages on top of the bacon, and stirred the whole thing all around for about a half-hour until brown, then poured out most, but not all, of the grease, and then scrambled a big mess of eggs in the same skillet, and then served it all up with some homemade cinnamon rolls. That would have cost me 70,458 grams of fat and 6.3 million calories, although of course I shared it with several other people.

The point is, this foot-long hot dog was probably a little high in fat and calories but not compared to a pound of bacon and a 12-egg omelette. Everything in its proper perspective.

Belittle the noble frankfurter all you want, but the fact is, it has a long and glorious history. It is of Austro-German extraction, from the same lineage as the mighty bratwurst, bockwurst and knockwurst. Some say it came to America from Frankfurt (thus, “the frankfurter”) and others say it originated from Vienna or Wien (thus, “you little wiener”).

In America, it became known as the “hot dog” when carnival vendors on Coney Island mistakenly thought they detected dachshund hairs in it.

Still, I don’t want to sugarcoat this for you: Not all hot dogs are actually edible. The kind that are boiled have been determined by the surgeon general to be non-food. Certain chili dogs, corn dogs, cocktail wieners and Cheesefurters should never be placed in one’s mouth.

But as for the occasional hot dog at the ballpark, I say, “Don’t be a wienie. Eat your heart out.”

, DataTimes MEMO: To leave a message on Jim Kershner’s voice-mail, call 459-5493. Or send e-mail to jimk@spokesman.com, or regular mail to Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

To leave a message on Jim Kershner’s voice-mail, call 459-5493. Or send e-mail to jimk@spokesman.com, or regular mail to Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

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