Since it was first introduced to the public, the hot dog has transformed into an American icon. This coveted cuisine has made its way into the hearts and stomachs of billions of people around the world, from backyard barbecues to major sporting events. Get to know America’s favorite meal and add some value to your hot dog franchise – take a look at some fun facts.
According to the National Hot Dogs and Sausage Council, we consume an estimated 20 billion hot dogs every year in the United States. In 2012, about 95 million of these were eaten in Los Angeles alone. About 20 million are served at Major League Baseball (MLB) games across the nation, and about 95 percent of U.S. homes serve hot dogs as meals.
In June of 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth made their first-ever visit to the United States. How were they accommodated? A picnic at Hyde Park, the estate of president Franklin D. Roosevelt. The menu? Hot dogs! This historic picnic even made the cover of that week’s edition of The New York Times.
In 1969, Apollo 11 made its successful voyage to the moon. We all know that Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon. But what you may not know is that thermo-stabilized hot dogs were on the menu during this voyage, making them one of the first foods eaten in space! Other foods included thermo-stabilized cheddar cheese, dehydrated chicken salad, and bacon cubes.
Legend has it that the concept of sausages was first invented by a man named Gaius, who was the cook of the Roman emperor Nero. To give you a time frame, Nero was emperor of Rome during 54 to 68. That’s right – 54 A.D.! If this is true, this would mean that the original “hot dog” dated back nearly 2,000 years. That’s pretty cool.
Since their birth in Rome, the concept of sausages made their way through Europe. To this day, there’s still debate over the true origin of the modern hot dog as we know it. Many believe that the frankfurter was invented in Frankfurt, Germany in the 1400s. Others claim that the “wienerwurst” was first born in Vienna, Austria.
A recent survey showed that a whopping 87.6 percent of adults put mustard on their hot dogs, making it the preferred topping for America’s more mature humans. On the other hand, the majority of kids prefer the sweeter tang of ketchup.