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“Never Put Ketchup on a Hot Dog” by Bob Schwartz

Yes friends, summer is over. The beach is over, tanning is over, patio season is over, and barbecues, while fading, are never quite over. In America baseball season is winding down into the race for pennants and trophies, and that means that hot dog season, while nearing the end, is really ramping up.

So what better time to reflect on summer and ease us into fall, right? Correct.

Which brings me to today’s post. I’m pleased to announce the release of Bob Schwartz’s book “Never Put Ketchup on a Hot Dog”. Published by Chicago’s Book Press, “Hot Dog” gives us two hundred and fifty gorgeous pages of dog anecdotes, tales, and wisdom from the true sausage king of Chicago. Schwartz is a dog maven, a tube steak king, and though we only met briefly, when he toured me around the Vienna Beef plant, I knew that this is a man with a passion for dogs that equals my passion for deli. Hell, he’s got twice as much experience and he works in the industry! I’m a mere rookie compared to Schwartz.

From the Publisher:

This book is an insider’s view of a love of hot dogs— eating them, selling them, and talking about them. First time author, Bob Schwartz, a Senior Vice President at Vienna Beef, has spent the last third of a century developing and enhancing strong emotions for the business and for the people who operate hot dog stands. The book includes detailed stories about a long list of hot dog stands located in Chicago and surrounding suburban areas, as well as stands located across the country.

The one thing that all those businesses have in common is that they serve or served Chicago-style hot dogs to their many, and devoted, customers. It is important to remember that everyone who grew up eating hot dogs at those stands, especially in their own neighborhoods, knew the one “rule” about putting condiments on a Chicago-style wiener—NEVER PUT KETCHUP ON A HOT DOG!

This book is filled with countless tales about memorable stands and personalities, the people who made the “dogs,” and those who delivered the product. It is such a compelling book that, once you pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down until you race over to your favorite stand for a delicious, mouth-watering, hot dog!

What New York is to deli, Chicago is to hot dogs…a meat and cultural icon that was introduced to America by German Jews, and thus became the nation’s favorite summer snack. Chicagoans live for their dogs, love their dogs, and hold dear opinions on how to cook and dress their dogs. If Obama makes it to the White House in November, you know Chicago’s best son will be hoisting a dog or two to celebrate. Bob’s book also has a preface by actor Joe “Fat Tony” Mantegna and Chicago broadcasting legend Bob Sirott.

I had a Vienna Beef hot dog this past weekend in Cleveland (Schwartz’s hometown) and it was to die for…the best dog in the damn world. Perfectly salty, spiced, and plump, it burst forth with succulence; one final perfect taste of another rapid summer.

But I’m going to go and pick up Bob’s book and read it and savor the dog a few more days. Until someone hoists that World Series trophy, hot dog season ain’t over yet.

Barnes and Noble

13 Responses to ““Never Put Ketchup on a Hot Dog” by Bob Schwartz”

  1. Joe Lesser Says:

    David, you must really think that hot dogs are only served east of the Mississippi!! Come now. On the west coast, first of all we have Costco stores where Hebrew National dogs are sold for $1.75 with a 16 oz. refillable drink. Beat that! And we have some great hot dog stands like Pink’s and Tail of the Pup. At Pinks the line is usually a minimum of a 30 minute wait. We also BBQ the year around. There are maybe 5 to 10 days a year in Los Angeles when we prefer not to BBQ because of a little rain. So for us in So. Cal. it is hot dog season year around.

    Joe Lesser

  2. Lauren Says:

    I had a Vienna dog this weekend and it was so tasty my mouth was in heaven.
    David’s description is better but perfection cannot be defined.

  3. Ivy Ovalles Says:

    Another essential write up, . More power to you.

  4. Start a Hot Dog Stand Says:

    Sounds like a good read and would be interesting to learn about some of the personalities behind some of these great hot dog stands.

    The west coast definitely has some awesome fast food but when it comes to hot dogs it is hard to beat ‘Chicago Style’ or NY’s red onion sauce.

  5. Princess Dress Says:

    That sesame seed bun hotdog looks so yummy. makes me wanna go out and grab a Vienna beef hotdog. Guess it’ll be the closest I can come to getting an authentic style east coast hotdog.

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  10. Doro Banks Says:

    Wow Joe Lesser,
    I was just at Costco, not knowing about the $1.75 deal, I asked for the cafeteria and the man pointed me to one outside/adjoined, and the hotdog was $1.50 with 20oz drink – this is Wheaton, Md.
    But the hotdog someone had bought was not Hebrew National.
    It was greying and popping in an inflated way that spells “fillers” mega ones.
    And it reminded me of one I got at the Air and Space museum long ago. Usually one doesn’t get bad food in America, this was just a regular hotdog, but bad inside.
    So I ran. Yucky. Made my own. Wasn’t even thinking of hotdogs.
    Never seen that Costco. Not eating at Costco. Btw, don’t eat in restaurants.

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