Who let the dogs out?

by Larry Aylward
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• In 2008, consumers spent more than $3.4 billion on hot dogs and sausages in U.S. supermarkets.
• New Yorkers consume more hot dogs than any other city, beating out Chicago and Los Angeles.
• On Independence Day, Americans devour about 150 million hot dogs.
• During hot dog season, Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans typically consume 7 billion hot dogs.
• More than 450 hot dogs are eaten every second of every day of every year (an average about 65 per person in the United States annually).
• Ninety-five percent of homes in the U.S. serve hot dogs.
• Most dogs are eaten at home, 15 percent purchased from street vendors and 9 percent bought at ball parks.
• The top dog for most folks is the 6-incher, preferred by 48.3 percent of us; 26 percent like a 7- incher and 4 percent, the foot long.
• Chicago’s O’Hare International airport sells more hot dogs than any single location in the world, more than 2 million a year.

Take me out to the ball game
• Americans ate enough hot dogs at Major League ballparks in 2009 to stretch from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
• According to a 2008 national poll conducted by the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, 63 percent of sports fans listed hot dogs as the one ballpark food they could not live without. Peanuts ranked second with 18 percent.
• Legend has it that Babe Ruth once ate 12 hot dogs and drank eight bottles of soda between games of a doubleheader.
• An average baseball hot dog vendor sells about 150 hot dogs per game and approximately 12,000 hot dogs per season.
(Sources: http://www.baseballreliquary.org/ National Hot Dog & Sausage Council; Aramark Vending; New York Times; Americrown)

Putting their money where their mouths are
(Annual hot dog sales)
1. New York city– $107,275,300
2. Los Angeles – $91,364,830
3. Baltimore/Washington –$ 51,557,600
4. Philadelphia – $46,307,640
5. Chicago – $43,220,760
6. Boston – $35,554,450
7. San Antonio/Corpus Christi, Texas – $32,994,490
8. Atlanta – $29,192,270
9. South Carolina – $28,656,350
10. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale – $28,345,080
(Source: Information Resources Inc. Based on total retail sales, excluding Wal-Mart, for the 2007 calendar year ending Dec. 30, 2008)

City and regional guide to hot dogs
• New Yorkers like their dogs topped with steamed onions and a pale, delistyle yellow mustard.
• Chicagoans prefer dogs with yellow mustard, dark-green relish, chopped raw onion, tomato slices and topped with a dash of celery salt and served in a poppy seed bun.
• Southerners prefer hot dogs “dragged through the garden” and topped with cole slaw.
• Midwesterners eat more pork and beef hot dogs than any other region of the country.
• Westerners eat more poultry hot dogs than any other region of the country, however, Southerners are a close second.
• Easterners prefer all-beef hot dogs and consume more than any other region of the country.
(Source: National Hot Dog & Sausage Council)

On the record
(What some famous hot dog lovers have to say about their favorite fare)
“A hot dog at the ball park is better than steak at the Ritz.” – Humphrey Bogart, American actor

“The weather here is gorgeous. It’s mild and feels like it’s in the 80s. The hot dog vendors got confused because of the weather and thought it was spring, so they accidentally changed the hot dog water in their carts.” – David Letterman, host of “Late Show with David Letterman”

“Some people wanted champagne and caviar when they should have had beer and hot dogs” – Dwight Eisenhower, America’s 34th President •

Larry Aylward is a contributing editor based in Cleveland.
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