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Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

How was your hot dog? Well, I figured you might have eaten one over the past holiday weekend, since Americans ate approximately 150 million hot dogs on July 4th! And we spent about seven billion bucks on beer and hot dogs over the entire weekend! So maybe you had a beer with your hot dog?

The average American eats sixty hot dogs a year, but a “competitive eater” named Joey Chestnut ate 72 hot dogs and buns in the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. How long does it take to eat 72 hot dogs? Ten minutes. Dear Readers, do not try this at home, as it might result in severe choking and death!

What are your favorite toppings? Mustard, ketchup, onions, chili, sauerkraut, peppers, relish? The “Top Dog” at the national Hot Dog and Sausage Council claims that a hot dog is not considered a sandwich, and is actually quite healthy. Okay, I agree with the first statement, not so sure about the “health” benefits of a wiener. He went on to say that “anything and everything makes a great topping” but “no way” does ketchup belong on a hot dog. Well, I suppose he is from Chicago, where this is common (silly).

Count the ways we like to top our dogs! You can core out a jalapeno and stick the wiener inside the pepper and grill it, place it in a bun, add salsa and melted cheese (too spicy). For a healthy spin, grill the wiener with asparagus, place on a bun with diced tomatoes and cucumbers, with sliced avocado (no thanks). You can smother the dog with ketchup, relish, pickles, onions and hot mustard (messy). But any way you like them, Americans must be crazy about hot dogs, since we eat about 20 billion a year!

The “Sauce Boss” of Heinz Ketchup claims that Americans are “in love” with ketchup and to prove it spend about 800 million dollars a year on the heavenly, red sauce. But wait, that must be because the average American eats a whopping one pound of the red stuff a week! Yikes, is this even possible? Oh, and if we think ketchup is the “top condiment” it doesn’t hold a candle to mayonnaise. We buy 2 billion dollars’ worth of the creamy condiment a year, just to spread it on our bread or buns.

What’s for dinner? Hot dogs, of course. Heat up the griddle, boil the water, open the can of baked beans, line up the condiments and have a cold beer. The “essentials” of summer eating never gets old, stale or boring. It’s easy and might even be “healthy.” Okay, well maybe not, but a hot dog on a summer day is definitely good for you. And with a little practice, patience and perseverance, you might be ready next year to join the annual hot dog eating contest.

One giant bite for mankind? Eat like a champion, practice like a competitor and enjoy the one unifying American tradition that we all seem to agree upon. Hot dogs and beer belong together. Bon appetit.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at