WARSAW — Call ‘em what you will — frankfurters, wieners, red hots, coneys, tube steaks — hot dogs are the No. 1 mainstay of summertime cuisine.
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans down 7 billion hot dogs, 150 million on the Fourth of July alone. Annually, we consume 20 billion of them, averaging 70 per person and more than 900,000 every hour.
As if we need another reason to celebrate the ubiquitous menu item — hot dogs are served in 95% of American households — Wednesday, July 17, is National Hot Dog Day.
Celebrate by having a hot dog or two, but don’t try to outdo the 12-time world champion, Joey Chestnut. A professional competitive eater, Chestnut set the world record last year by eating 74 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes — one every eight seconds — at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest held every July 4 on Coney Island, N.Y.
Some facts about hot dogs:
• The terms frankfurter and wiener refer to the cities of Frankfurt, Germany, and Vienna, Austria.
• 7-Eleven sells 100 million grilled hot dogs a year.
• Atlanta-based The Varsity, the world’s largest drive-in, sells “two miles of hot dogs” every day.
• For adults, the most preferred condiment is mustard, followed in order by ketchup, chili, relish and onions. Kids overwhelmingly prefer ketchup.
• The world’s longest hot dog was cooked up in Tokyo in 2006. It measured almost 197 feet, nestled in a 198-foot bun.
• The world’s most expensive hot dog rings up at $169. Sold in Seattle, some of the toppings are teriyaki grilled onions, wagyu beef, shaved black truffles and caviar.
• Hot dogs are approved by NASA as space flight food.
The PAPER recently asked some Kosciusko County residents enjoying a day at Center Lake for their thoughts about hot dogs. Their answers: