Frankly, my dear …

… I do give a damn.
About hot dogs.

(Get it? Frankly?)

Oh, well.

Today, July 17, is National Hot Dog Day. A day after my heart. I love a good hot dog. I even love an okay hot dog. I had one of those last night at Schautz Stadium in Dunmore after Pittston Area beat Abington in a 13-14 year old all-star game. It was delicious.
I’ve eaten a Fenway Frank, a Phillies Frank and, now that my son and his wife live in L.A., a Dodger Dog, or more precisely, a Super Dodger Dog. They’re billed as “all beef,” but I’m pretty sure, as with all dogs, contain things I’d rather not think about. So I don’t.
Speaking of my son’s wife, my daughter-in-law Ashley is an absolute hot dog aficionado, which to me is reason enough for him to have married her. Ashley works in marketing and it is fitting that a client of hers a few years ago was Oscar Mayer and one of her responsibilities was to oversee the famous Weinermobile.
They were living in Chicago then and Ashley could not wait to turn me on to a Chicago Dog, the wieners they serve at Wrigley Field.
I must admit, no matter what they call them, the hots dogs I’ve eaten at Fenway Park and Citizens Bank and Yankee Stadium and Schautz were pretty much the same. Just hot dogs. Not so at Wrigley.
The Chicago Dog is all about the toppings, and according to Chicagoans, in what order the toppings are placed. Also, it’s important that the hot dog is steamed, not boiled.
Here are the Chicago Dog toppings, and the order in which they must be applied:
1. Yellow mustard
2. Bright (“neon” they say) green relish
3. Chopped raw onions
4. Two tomato wedges
5. A pickle spear (lying alongside the frank, on the opposite side of the tomatoes)
6. Two sport peppers (or three)
&. A dash of celery salt
Note: sport peppers are not familiar to everyone. I never heard of them before visiting Chicago. Basically, they are these little, medium hot, pickled peppers. They’re tiny (an inch, or an inch-and-a-half long), and always placed on the dog whole.
Finally, and this is more important that even Chicagoans realize, there’s the bun. My friend Bernie Foglia, former owner and chef of the Villa Foglia restaurant in Exeter, and a superb pizza and sandwich shop before that, stresses a hoagie or footlong hot dog (and Bernie made a darned good footlong) is all about the bun. I agree.
The Chicago Dog is served on a fresh, plump, poppy seed roll. You need a hearty roll to stand up to the above concoction, and this one is perfect.
Residents of Greater Pittston surely notice by now that I have not yet mentioned The Majestic. Well, I am now. If you live around here, or once lived around here, you cannot hear the words hot dog without thinking of The Majestic. This is where the dogs are sizzling on a hot grill right in the front window, and where the chili has spawned many a debate over its ingredients. Most of my friends say it’s a hint of cinnamon. Could be.
All I know is every few weeks I find myself in need of a couple of Majestic hot dogs. I guess you could call it a Pittston thing.
For the record, I used to order my Majestic dogs with the works, but now that I’m pushing 70, I go with no onion. I guess you could call it a stomach thing.

Ed Ackerman