We’ve been telling you about the U.S. pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. It showcases the United States as an innovator in the food industry and highlights American cuisine, entrepreneurship and leadership in the global food arena.
But sometimes Americans just want a hot dog.
It might be prepared to halal or kosher religious specifications and it might be a turkey dog, a tofu dog, or another more healthful version. “Hot dogs that use fewer ingredients or are low fat and low sodium too are being driven by consumer interest,” says Eric Mittenthal, a spokesperson for the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.
Regardless, Americans broil, grill, or boil 20 billion hot dogs annually, $126 million worth in New York City alone.
There’s even a National Hot Dog Day — July 23 — and that’s part of National Hot Dog Month.
“It’s a day where we really recognize the greatness of hot dogs,” says Mittenthal.
Some juicy hot dog facts:
- U.S. consumers spent $2.5 billion on hot dogs at supermarkets in 2014.
- Paraguay celebrated its 200th anniversary with the longest hot dog ever at 204 meters.
- “Hot dogs” were the first words ever said by Mickey Mouse in a cartoon.
- The “Chicago-style” hot dog normally has the most toppings.
While historians dispute the hot dog’s origins, it’s indisputable that many ethnic cuisines contribute to the toppings. Sauerkraut (German) is popular. Chili uses spices that originated with Native Americans.
“It’s nice to get recognized in the culinary community,” says Pamela Swanson, co-owner of Haute Dogs & Fries in Virginia, about National Hot Dog Day. “It represents a taste of Americana, like baseball.”