ABC to XYZ in Foods: Hamburgers and hot dogs

Hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill are a summertime staple in America, especially for tailgating. File photo
Bette Banjack

HOT DOGS – Are also known as frankfurters, franks, weenies, wieners, dogs and red hots. These tasty cooked sausages are favorites around the world.

It is at the top of the list for summer eating in the U.S. It is sort of considered a fun food, mostly eaten between Memorial Day and Labor Day. On average, each of us eat somewhere around 60 hot dogs a year.

From the first century, when it is thought the first sausage was made, to the present annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, “the hot dog” has retained its popularity. In 1939 when the Roosevelts were in the White House, hot dogs were served to visiting King George VI of England and his wife at a picnic lunch. It is noted that King George ate more than one.

Hot dogs are consumed in large amounts at sporting events year round; a soft pretzel, a “dog” and a beer and you have dinner.

HAMBURGERS – are sandwiches that consist of ground beef. There is no ham in a hamburger, so where does its name come from? It seems this food was created in Hamburg, Germany, and so the name.

It is usually a patty that is grilled or fried and served in a bun with various toppings. When ordering a hamburger, it usually comes with French fries, potato chips or onion rings. The cheese burger started out as the cheese hamburger, but had its name shortened to simply the cheeseburger.

Since McDonald’s hit the market, hamburgers of all types have grown in popularity. Hamburgers can be gotten in fast food facilities or they are served in sit down restaurants. Popular toppings depend on the area where they are made.

Ground beef and beef substitutes are often called hamburger in some recipes. So instead of asking, “where is the beef,” maybe it should be “where is the ham.”

HAM – I love ham. Of course I do — it’s pork, isn’t it? Pork is my first meat.

My dad worked at Weiland’s, a pork slaughtering and processing plant on West Bridge Street, so we always had a lot of good pork. Boy, have things changed — even the cuts have a different name. Pork trimmings are called pork cutlets today and the trimmings were cheaper, better and meatier than the cutlets of today.

My favorite pork is smoked, especially hams. Ham is a cut from the hind leg that has been cured and smoked. I also like fresh ham, but ham has not been cured or smoked and is also known as green ham. If I had my way, there would be ham often on the dinner table.

Ham - Fig - Nectarine Salad

6 to 8 fresh ripe green and/or purple figs

2 large nectarines

2 cups diced cooked ham or prosciutto

½ to ¾ cup vinaigrette or balsamic dressing

lettuce

fresh parsley or fresh mint

Remove the stems and wash skins of figs and cut in quarters. Wash, pit and cut nectarines into chunks. In a large bowl toss ham and fruit with ¼ cup dressing. Arrange ham/fruit mixture over lettuce leafs on platter. Pour remaining dressing over salad. Garnish with fresh parsley or mint.

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