More than Tradititon. Written by Esther Seif, student of Mr. Glazer, Bruriah High School Elizabeth, NJ January 29 2015

Esther Seif

American History 210


January 23, 2015

More than Tradition

The average American consumes about 65 hot dogs per year, the National Hotdog and Sausage Council estimates Over July 4th weekend alone, Americans enjoy over 150 million of the tasty treats. Despite the multitude of ways to serve a hotdog, one fact can be universally agreed upon - Americans love hot dogs. Rich in both history and flavor, hotdogs hold a dear place in each of our fattened, cholesterol-burdened hearts. The reasons peoples love hotdogs are as varied as the people who consume them yet one thing is certain - the passion for the kosher hotdog is unrivaled. In fact, greater than six million Americans count the kosher hotdog as a staple of their diet, less than a quarter of whom identify as Jewish.What is it about the hot dog, specifically the kosher hotdog, which has vaunted it to such elite status in the American cuisine?

People choose the hotdog because of its inherent convenience, availability, variety and low cost. Almost universally available, the hotdog can be dressed to just about any mood or appetite. Top it with sauerkraut, mustard, ketchup, pickles, relish, pepper, or tomatoes, put it on a bun, on a stick, or eat it plain, off of your finest china or straight out of the bag in which it came. Eat it standing, sitting, walking, at your dining room table, at a barbeque, at the ballpark. Wherever you are in the world, if you see Americans, hotdogs will undoubtedly be close by. The hotdog is as American as baseball and apple pie.

The hotdog is so often associated with such American motifs as Independence Day, baseball, Mama's apple pie, the Cony Island boardwalk, New York City street vendors, and family barbecues. Yet despite being the most American of foods, the hotdog was not actually born in the United States. The first "proto-hotdog" was brought to our shores by the wave of eastern European immigrants seeking freedom and opportunity. At the turn of the 20th century the hotdog was sold on the street for no more than a nickel and offered an inexpensive and quick meal for a hungry factory worker during a short lunch break. (Ironically, thousand-dollar suit clad men are often today found eating the same street vendor meal.) As its popularity soared this inexpensive and delicious culinary selection came to embody the American spirit, one of freedom and individual expression. We love our freedom, hence we are entangled in an elaborate love affair with the hotdog that so deliciously represents that privilege.

The kosher hotdog in particular has become a favorite among Jews and non-Jews alike. The word Kosher has becomes synonymous with pure, clean and unadulterated. If a hotdog is kosher a person knows what's in it, and more importantly, what's not in it. Little is left to the imagination. There are two things they say you never want to see made, Laws, and hotdogs. They certainly weren't referring to the kosher hotdog.

Additionally, many non-Jews cite the very salty quality, garlic flavoring, beef base as opposed to pork, humane slaughtering, and fulfilling of Halal standards, as reasons to purchase kosher hotdogs. The kosher hotdog is no longer just a food for the Jew; the passion shared by so any Americans who will eat a hotdog only if it's kosher. The kosher hotdog, for so many American, has thus cemented its place at the pinnacle of gustatory excellence.

Of the numerous companies that produce kosher hot dogs, none are as revered and trusted as Abeles & Heymann. Founded in 1954 by Oscar Abeles and Leopold Heymann Abeles & Heymann has been dedicated to producing the finest hot dogs for over 60 years. It is the choice kosher brand by both the Yankees, Mets, Nicks, and Nets. One will often see non-Jews frequenting the kosher hotdog stands at the games because of Abeles & Heymann's  hotdog's crisp garlicy flavor, juicy meat, and flavorful after-taste. People may not understand the meaning of the word "kosher"' but when attached to "hotdog", superior quality and taste is immediately denoted. And when that very "kosher hotdog" has been produced by A&H one immediately understands its inherent perfection. Nothing beats an Abeles & Heymann hotdog doused in mustard and sauerkraut, pickles and relish, even tomatoes and peppers, however one prefers their tasty piece of American tradition.

Hotdogs will ever be an essential part of American culture. Hotdogs represent the pride we have for being a citizen of this prosperous country. They signify the appreciation we have, specifically as Jews, for living in a free country, and for our intrepid military that allows us that privilege. With every bite of the tasty pleasure, Americans appreciate the past of America, as well as its bright future. The Italians may have their risotto, the French their boudin blanc, but American have their kosher hotdog. The love for hotdogs is more than just a tradition, it is a history with every savory bite.