Liberty Pups

The term ‘hot dog’ is popularly believed to have been coined during a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Giants in 1901. It was a chilly day and concessionaire Harry Stevens decided to buy up all the dachshund sausages he could find, his vendors offering them for sale with the following cry: “They’re red hot! Get your dachshund sausages while they’re red hot!” Observing the vendors, newspaper cartoonist T. A. Dorgan sketched a dachshund dog inside an elongated roll and, apparently unable to spell “dachshund,” used the caption “hot dog” instead, a term that quickly caught on. This also reflected the suspicion at the time that the best cuts of meat weren’t always finding their way into the cheap sausages, which, for all one knew, might actually contain dog meat. Whatever they contained, hot dogs clearly didn’t taste too bad as consumption of them never let up. Manufacturers of frankfurters initially tried to avoid the term but, with anti-German sentiment running high during the Second World War (see also French toast and Salisbury steak), “frankfurter” was dropped in favor of “hot dog”* and, under this name, quickly rose to become the American icon it is today. Footnote: During the First World War, dachshunds (the actual dogs, that is) had been renamed “liberty pups.”

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