Friday, October 24, 2014

Lips, Hooves, and Assholes

This is the working title of my book on the history of the hot dog. It's going to be part memoir, part historical fiction, and part popular science. Think of it as kind of a mix between "Guns, Germs, and Steel," "Salt," and "The Omnivore's Dilemma." 

It will contain running themes of denial and self-delusion (see prior post titled: "If You Care"), both of which are necessary prerequisites to enjoying a hot dog, at least for me. It will include a chapter on why, in addition to ketchup and cheese, hot dogs are one of the only three dinner foods my son will eat. 

It will analyze how and why the hot dog became ubiquitously dispensed for free (or almost free) at every community event from marine festivals to anti-domestic violence and sexual assault rallies. (Yes, really. Somehow the irony/impropriety of featuring scary, phallic meat sticks at this latter event escaped its organizers). 

The book will survey hot dogs across the country, from the "dirty water dog" of New York City's Central Park to the famous foot-long of our nation's baseball stadiums. Because no one should have to sing our national anthem with anything less than twelve inches of processed, salty, composite meat in their left hand. It's simply un-American! It will explore how and why a hot dog is less disgusting when grilled or roasted over a fire as opposed to boiled, but only just barely. 

It will discuss the fact that America's love affair with the hot dog is so torrid that we had to invent a spongy vegetarian version made from tofu, nitrates, and a dash of "je ne sais quoi," as the French would say. You know--just so anyone who might be a tad put off by the lips, hooves, and assholes aspect of hot dogs wouldn't feel deprived. 

And it will survey the socioeconomics of the hot dog, noting that upscale weddings always have hot dogs too, just bite-sized and delivered to you on a silver platter by a woman dressed in an androgynous catering uniform (lest she outshine the bride or her hot-dog eating guests). 

Yes, my study of the hot dog will be thorough and fascinating. I plan to do a book tour complete with readings and signings. Light snacks and beverages will be served, and I don't need to tell you what's on the menu.

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