Hot Diggity Dog Diggity

Something strange happens to me every Memorial Day weekend.

Every year, for decades now, when that weekend in May rolls around, some kind of sensor in my brain is activated and I become overwhelmed with a desperate need to satisfy a certain desire. That constant craving?
Hot Dogs.

I love hot dogs. And heaven help me, every summer I can't seem to get enough of them. Slaw, chili, cheese, mustard only, ketchup only, onion and relish only, Chicago style, New York style, All-American style, ballpark, picnic, boiled, grilled, hot or cold...doesn't matter how, just how many.

And to make things worse, I've tasted one of the best hot dogs on the planet and they live 16 hours away by minivan.

This is where they live...

This is Nathan's. It's on Coney Island in New York. And if I could, I would drive there every weekend during the summer.

Here some of the kiddos are pondering what they're going to order...I'm behind the camera barking at them, "Hurry up and decide already!".

I love these ladies...

Oh how I wish it was true, to be able to take home food from Nathan's...*sigh*

...Okay, I've snapped out of it.

Now there is a moment during the summer when I can't even look at a hot dog and that happens every 4th of July. It's the only day during the summer hot dogs and I don't get along too well.

Every 4th of July the news runs a constant loop of the hot dog eating contest at Nathan's...and I gag every time I see it.

(I don't usually gag and that's because after 20+ years of mothering I've cleaned up so many different kinds of messes that my gag reflex finally gave in and cried "uncle" years ago...but sometimes, just sometimes, it reappears).

A couple of summers ago, someone turned on the TV after everyone had gone home from our 4th cookout and there he was...a little tiny guy, with a Japanese Kamacazi headband and a Nathan's t-shirt, SHOVING hot dogs, (ugh...) hot dog in the bun mind you, that he had DIPPED in to a glass of water (feeling a little whoosy...) to make the hot dogs GO DOWN easier.

64 of them. (yep, just gagged a little).

After that we got rid of the TV.

My love for the hot dog runs so deep during the summer, that I make do with hot dogs we grill at home and with local gems like this one we had a few weeks ago on our way home from the springs...

And I really was okay with it. The homemade hot dogs would do me just fine for the summer. But then something miraculous happened. The Hubs took me to Atlanta (which is only 5 hours away by minivan).

And we ate here...

This is The Varsity. It's next door to Georgia Tech in Atlanta. And if I could, I would drive there every weekend during the summer. (where have I read that before?)

The choices were almost overwhelming but I think I chose wisely that day. And ordering the Varsity orange drink? Very wise choice indeed young grasshopper.

Not only is The Varsity much closer and the hot dogs there are top notch (on par with Nathan's) but when you walk in to The Varsity you are greeted by the most wonderful phrase you'll ever hear..."what'll ya have? what'll ya have?".

And then as quick as you order, here they this...


Even The Hubs got on the hot dog love train that day.

Oh yea, I chose wisely...

I saved my Varsity box from that day. It's on a windowsill in our kitchen, along side our two free Coke bottles from the World of Coca-Cola. Yes, the love is that deep.

And then as quickly as it appears, my love for hot dogs disappears the Tuesday after Labor Day (I'm starting to see a pattern here with holidays and hot dogs). I guess I get my gluttonous fill over the three summer months and then like swallows of Capistrano, the hot dog love disappears for another year.

But then again, Labor Day weekend is when my chili sensor goes off.