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Hot dog! Make mine ketchup

November 12, 2010

I like ketchup. I like ketchup so much that I put it on pretty much anything. You name a food and there’s a better than average chance that at some point in time I’ve eaten it with ketchup. There are a few exceptions – breakfast cereal, buttermilk pancakes, most desserts (apple pie notwithstanding) – 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. I’ve defended ketchup on hotdogs for as long as I’ve been eating hotdogs and should I ever be unfortunate enough to have a mustard-laden hotdog handed to me, I’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 it’s not, please let me know. But Adam knows what a hot dog is – thank you!)

I’ve debated the ketchup vs. mustard  issue for many years and I’ve heard pro-mustard arguments from people in Minneapolis, Chicago and New York but I’ve never been swayed to drop the ketchup bottle and make the switch. But then someone sent me this article about the Chicago hot dog written by Mike Royko. For those who don’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 man 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 Royko 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:

“No, I won’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.”

How does a person argue with Mike Royko. It’s pretty difficult – just typing the name is humbling – but in terms of things that are difficult, so is eating a hot dog with mustard.

Mike Royko’s article: Even a U.S. Senator Can Botch a Recipe for Success

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Craig permalink
    November 12, 2010 10:23 am

    Much like Royko, I will defend your right to put ketchup on a hot dog. However, if you choose to do so I will also defend my rights to call you a communist. Mustard on hot dogs is the American way!! though that picture of the hot dog with the chili and everything else on it- not so much a good idea.


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      November 12, 2010 12:30 pm

      Yeah, that’s the Chicago hot dog. No chili, but a pickle and tomato slices and relish and mustard and no ketchup. Talk about ruining a hot dog!


  2. November 12, 2010 12:36 pm

    I’m trying to think of something interesting to say but…I have nothing to add to the conversation about hot dogs. I’ll go work on that.

    (I found you through NaBloPoMo’s Comment for Comment.)


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      November 13, 2010 3:50 pm

      Hi Amy and thanks for reading and commenting!


  3. November 13, 2010 12:25 am

    I really love ketchup…..but please Sir….not on a hot dog! I am a Chicago Girl and a good hot dog is on a poppy seed bun. It needs sweet pickle relish, mustard,a pickle slice, onions, wedges of tomato, sport peppers and celery salt.

    Just ketchup? How boring.


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      November 13, 2010 3:53 pm

      So you’re one of those mustard lovers, huh? 😉 How do you even taste the hotdog with all that other stuff on there? Yeah, ketchup is a little boring, but if I’m in a wild mood I might mix it up with a little Heinz chili sauce!


  4. November 13, 2010 7:56 am

    I’m a mustard-on-hot-dogs girl, but I do like ketchup with my scrambled eggs, which many people think is disgusting. What say you?


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      November 13, 2010 3:53 pm

      I say ketchup on eggs is a must!


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