While enjoying hot dogs during a game at old Yankee stadium (I love the Yankees; my husband loves the Dodgers), my husband disappointed at the condiment selection, described New York as ‘spicy mustard town’. His choice: plain, regular, middle of the road French’s yellow mustard. Add one spice or tinge of flavor to the mix and he’ll throw away whatever food it sits on. So when he first got a chance to try all the best New York has to offer a Jewish guy from California, like hot dogs, knishes, and pastrami, he had to do it without a favorite condiment by his side. Luckily for him, times have changed; Yankee stadium now has yellow mustard, which for my husband, is delightfully neutral in its spiciness, but with a refreshing mild sourness.
Whether Eastern or Western, condiments should be used with care so that you can really enjoy the taste of the hot dog itself. If your hot dog is not impressing you with its fantastic flavor or reminding you of that day at the game with your dad, you need my trick. But first, the theory: A $1.50 hot dog from a street vendor and a $6.75 hot dog at a baseball game taste different. It is not the price making the difference nor is it the ambiance of the stadium. The secret? It’s actually the steaming effect of its wrap. When you buy a hot dog from a street vendor, most likely you eat it right away, but when you are at stadium, it comes wrapped in foil where it’s benefits from a bit more steaming. You then put on your favorite condiments, wrap it up again and take it to your seat. Without knowing it, you’ve steamed that dog for an additional 10 minutes or so. While wrapped, heat radiating from the hot dog works to blend the condiments and transform a dry bun into a soft and moist, but not soggy, roll. The flavors have a chance to get acquainted before your first bite. By the time you dig in, the party is in full swing and everyone’s invited. To recreate the good times at your place, try this:
1) Grill. (if not available, use your toaster)2) Wrap the hot dog with condiments of your preference on it. Set the table, take dirty dishes to sink, tell everybody their dogs are ready…3) Plate with side of kale slaw (recipe here), unwrap, and enjoy your 4th of July!!!