I like ketchup. I like ketchup so much that I put it on pretty much anything. You name a food and thereâ€™s a better than average chance that at some point in time Iâ€™ve eaten it with ketchup. There are a few exceptions â€“ breakfast cereal, buttermilk pancakes, most desserts (apple pie notwithstanding) â€“ but for the most part, everything is better with ketchup.
And that includes hot dogs.
The debate on the perfect hotdog oftentimes centers on the age old question of condiments and once two people start down that road it can only end up at one destination: ketchup vs. mustard. Iâ€™ve defended ketchup on hotdogs for as long as Iâ€™ve been eating hotdogs and should I ever be unfortunate enough to have a mustard-laden hotdog handed to me, Iâ€™ll scrape as much of the yellow stuff off as I can before eating.
(This is what a hot dog should look like. Image used without permission which I hope is alright? If itâ€™s not, please let me know. But Adam knows what a hot dog is â€“ thank you!)Â
Iâ€™ve debated the ketchup vs. mustard Â issue for many years and Iâ€™ve heard pro-mustard arguments fromÂ peopleÂ in Minneapolis, Chicago and New YorkÂ but Iâ€™ve never been swayed to drop the ketchup bottle and make the switch. But thenÂ someone sent me this article about the Chicago hot dog written by Mike Royko. For those who donâ€™t know, Mike Royko was a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for a variety of Chicago newspapers until his death in 1997. Briefly, the man could write and the manÂ was a genius.
Royko, it seems, was a fan of hot dogs and he was a fan of Chicago hot dogs.
(Chicago style hot dog picture courtesy of Vienna Beef)
The picture above shows a Chicago hot dog which is, to my eye, not much more than a sloppy mess.
Mike RoykoÂ was also a fan of mustard. In a column criticizing an Illinois senator who described a Chicago hot dog as having ketchup, Royko had this to say:
â€œNo, I wonâ€™t condemn anyone for putting ketchup on a hot dog. This is the land of the free. And if someone wants to put ketchup on a hot dog and actually eat the awful thing, that is their right.
It is also their right to put mayo or chocolate syrup or toenail clippings or cat hair on a hot dog.â€
How does a person argue with Mike Royko. Itâ€™s pretty difficult -Â just typingÂ the name is humbling â€“ but in terms of things that are difficult, so is eating a hot dog with mustard.
Mike Roykoâ€™s article: Even a U.S. Senator Can Botch a Recipe for Success