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The origin of the term 'hot dog' lies in the suggestion that sausages, because of their anonymous nature - finely-minced ingredients which could be anything - did indeed contain dog meat, as well as meat from any other stray, pet, wild, or feral creature sausage-makers could get hold of. Sausage manufacturing is ancient; records go back many centuries and allegations of questionable ethics have probably been leveled at vendors of sausages and other cheap street-foods from the start. The usage of 'dog' in the sense of a sausage is recorded in the US from the 1880s, and is undoubtedly older; it is only one of many derogatory terms used worldwide to describe a suspect sausage.

A Coney Island hot dog stand established in 1916 reportedly aimed to reassure customers of the food's purity by arranging for men in surgeon's scrubs to eat there.

Records of the popularity of fast-food sausages in the US are available from the 1800s. American street food, of course, goes back much further, but the sale of hot sausages by street vendors was reportedly a German-American initiative. The earliest print evidence so far located of the US phrase 'hot dog' was in an 1893 newspaper column, but the term was undoubtedly in use well before then.

There are suggestions the phrase 'hot dog' originated in the US because the German sausage, the Wiener (or, in Austria, the Frankfurter, sausages apparently being blamed on cities elsewhere) was thought to resemble the dachshund, but this is unsubstantiated; certainly the dachshund (Dakel, or, formally, Teckel, in German) is popularly called a sausage dog in English because of its shape, but there's no real indication of a sausage being commonly called a dachshund for the same reason.

2011-02-07 05:47:51
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