Friday, September 29, 2006

Interview: Stanton from 'West Virginia Hot Dogs Blog'

The greatest thing about starting this blog is discovering that there are other people out there who share my love of sausage and bread! One of these is Stanton, who writes the excellent West Virginia Hot Dogs blog as well as the West Virginia Hot Hogs website. Stanton is passionate about hot dogs especially his local variety which features bean-less chili and coleslaw (yum). Here's a very brief Q&A with Stanton on the subject of - what else - hot dogs!

Q: What makes the perfect hot dog?
"Hot dogs in our part of the world must have a spicy chili sauce coupled with sweet creamy coleslaw. These two ingredients must be excellent because they make up the character of the hot dog. Beyond that, the bun, wiener and other condiments should be as high quality as possible, but the best wiener can't offset poor coleslaw and lackluster chili. The perfect hot dog, then, would be a grilled wiener on a steamed bun topped with yellow mustard, spicy chili, sweet coleslaw and finely chopped onions."

Q: Fries with your dog?
"For me personally, no, but only for dietary reasons. In a perfect world where one didn't have to be concerned with waistlines and cholesterol, absolutely yes."

Q: Why do you think is the secret behind the hot dog's popularity?
"Portability - the best "on the run" food you can find. 
Adaptability - every culture can have its own unique version. 
Dependability - no matter where you go (at least in the US) you can get a hot dog and you pretty well know what it's going to taste like."

Q: What drink goes best with a hot dog?
"Root Beer."

Q: Another food you love besides hot dogs.
"The kind you eat! Seriously, I've not found too many foods that I don't love. Hamburgers are high on the list."

Q; What's your record for most hot dogs eaten in one sitting?
"The most I remember eating is four. I prefer quality to quantity."

A big thanks to Stanton. Check out his website here and his very cool blog here. I think I'm going to have to try a homemade version of the West Virginia Dog. Sounds delicious!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Man eats 29 sausages in Utah.

This is absolutely not the way to appreciate sausages but the excellently-named, professional eater Joey Chestnut set a new world record earlier this month for scoffing sausages. Apparently he uses a finely honed 'perpetual motion' technique that basically involves stuffing the sausages into his gob very, very quickly and taking sips of water in between.

Read the article here

There's also a video of the guy here although the player didn't work for me.

Monday, September 25, 2006

It's British Food Fortnight!

The next couple of weeks are 'British Food Fortnight' - a celebration of the best food and produce from the British Isles. It's in its fifth year now and as you might expect, sausages are playing a big part! The official event homepage is here but to save you looking, here's a run down of some of the main sausage-related events that are coming up:

Sausage Saturday and Sunday at La Hogue Farm Shop at Chippenham
30th Sep 2006 to 1st Oct 2006
La Hogue’s butchers, F.L. Edge & Son  will be offering free tastings of their award winning homemade sausages, including the launch of two exciting new varieties. Contact: Extra Info:

Sizzling Sausage Fest at Jimmy's Farm!
30th Sep 2006
There will be a sausage festival at jimmy's farm to coincide with British Food Fortnight, with around 12 sausage producers all selling and promoting their sausage to celebrate the range and diversity of British sausage!  Various competitions include Sausage Eating Competition, Guess the Weight of The Giant Round Sausage Competition and Sausage Tasting Competition... aswell as sausage making demonstrations, British beer, wine and cider, musicians, mad morris men and a magician to jolly things up!
Contact: telephone- 0870 950 0210 or fax- 01473 601 752
Location: Pannington Hall Farm, Wherstead, Suffolk, IP9 2AR

New Sausage Launch - Heath Farm Meats
23rd Sep 2006-8th Oct 2006
Heath Farm Meats will be launching a new sausage at a Bangers and Beans event. For further information, please contact:
Clair Gittens, Heath Food Meats, Bagginswood, nr. Kidderminster
DY14 8NB
Tel: 01746 718 732
Location: Kidderminster, Worcestershire

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hot Dogs Namibian Style #2

Today's hot dog is from the Lightkeeper's Cafe in Swakopmund, Namibia, possibly the best place for lunch in this whole town. They mostly do sandwiches and salads but then I noticed they had bratwurst on the menu too.

The two grilled wurst come with a 'brotchen' bread roll and potato salad on the side. The wurst had a delicious grilled flavour (cooked over charcoal maybe?) - perhaps the best I've had here. The potato salad was so soft and creamy that I actually used it as condiment. Didn't need any mustard or ketchup. A very tasty sausage roll.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Condiment Corner: Sosatie Sauce

I like to try any new or unusual foods when I'm travelling so I had to give this sauce a go. It's called Sosatie Sauce and is part of a range called 'Walker Bay', a South African brand. It's a tangy, sweet and sour type sauce with a spicy, curry-like kick to it. I think sosatie sauce is a traditional South African thing. To give you an idea of what's in it, you can see a recipe for a homemade version of it here.

It goes great with grilled sausages or any barbecued food and it doesn't have that cloying texture or fake smokiness you get with a lot of barbecue and meat sauces. If it was a little thicker it would be perfect for hot dogs too. It's very nice stuff. Try it if you get a chance!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Hot Dogs Namibian Style #1

Today a little bit about the town where I'm staying - Swakopmund, Namibia. Like most people, I had no idea where Namibia was until I was sent here for work and I don't think many people had even heard of the place until Brad and Angelina came here to give birth to their child (in a little place called Long Beach just down the road).

It's a truly fascinating country and whilst there isn't really space here to do a full travelogue, I can definitely recommend coming here for an unforgettable trip. The sand dunes of Sossusvlei, skydiving over the desert, the villages of the ochre-painted Himba tribe, the mountain at Spitzkoppe and driving through the Gamsberg Pass are just some of the must-dos (Etosha national park should be included in that list too but sadly I won't have time to go there).

What makes Swakpomund distinctive for an African town is it's German heritage and continued strong German influence. Most shop fronts are in German, the architecture is very Germanic and of course the town is populated by German expats. Wiener schnitzel, Berliners and sauerkraut are available everywhere, as are bratwurst and other German sausages.

For lunch today I went to one of Swakopmund's larger supermarkets, Woerman Brock, and got a couple of hot dogs from a guy on an in-store cart.

He was selling two types of sausage: bratwurst and a beef wiener which came in a german bread roll (brotchen). I had one of each. To go with it you can choose from diced cucumber, diced onion, diced tomato and chili sauce (I went for everything except the chili) which are added to the roll first, with the sausage on top. You can then have ketchup and mustard on top (I had both).

The sausages were both pretty tasty, with the beef wiener coming out on top although both of them were the same sausages that are sold in the supermarket so they did have that mass-produced quality. The bratwurst could have done with more seasoning as it was a little bland.

Wurst or South African boerewors are on sale in every supermarket out here. Fresh ones are usually sold as a long 'curl' and occasionally in long, frankfurter sized links. I've yet to see the English style short linked sausage in any shop here... and I'm missing them big time!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


If you have a favourite hot dog, condiment or want to comment on anything related to sausage and bread I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a line at "steve london 88" (remove the spaces) at

Monday, September 04, 2006

Classic American Hot Dogs: An Introduction

Before I get into the sausage and bread options you can find here in Swakopmund, Namibia I have to mention the most famous example of the sausage and bread combo - the American hot dog.

I've only ever tasted NYC hot dogs so my own experience is pretty limited. I'm hoping to sample some of the other variations one day but in the meantime I'll have to make do with reading about hot dogs on web pages like the one linked to below and just imagining their sausagey, bready goodness. How sad.

Hot dogs are an intrinsic part of the culture of many U.S. cities and a source of great regional pride. This is best illustrated by an event held at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Between March and August 2002 the museum hosted an exhibition called 'Baseball as America' showcasing the history of that sport and its importance in American culture. In parallel, the museum's food court (why can't our natural history museum have a food court?) held a kind of hot dog expo or summit, if you will, where they served a selection of ten different hot dogs in classic, regional styles.

For a non-American this is a great introduction the varieties of hot dog that can be found in the States. Check out the full menu here:

Hot Dogs As America

I like the look of the Dodger Dog - simple and with a pork frankfurter which I generally prefer to beef.

The Chicago Red Hot looks interesting. I know Chicago is a big hot dog city but is this dog dangerously overloaded with condiments? It actually looks like a salad roll with a meat condiment. This is one I have to try one day.

The Cincinnati Cheese Coney also looks like the accompaniments might overwhelm the sausage ("Don't overwhelm the sausage!" could be the motto of this blog). A chili topping that contains paprika, nutmeg, chocolate and cinnamon? There's really no need for that. Or is there?

The Texas Corn Dog and The Natural are interesting because they depart from the usual sausage and bread formula.

The Corn Dog is a beef sausage on a stick inside a corn-based dough shell which is fried. Not really sure about this one. The stick makes is seem like you would have to nibble this hot dog rather than chomp on it. I also wonder if the outer shell would just become an oily, crusty sponge after frying. This looks unappetizing and obesity-inducing.

They may have used some poetic license when they named 'The Natural'. After all, it is a piece of pretzel dough toasted on a metal spike with a sausage inserted into it. It does look interesting, though, and is probably quite healthy. The only drawback I can see is that it doesn't allow the eater to add sauces directly to the dog but perhaps that's the whole point? You get to taste the 'natural' flavour of the frankfurter and the pretzel. Another to add to my must-try list.

The one that looks the most appetizing to me is the Milwaukee Brat. This looks like a real sausage, grilled rather than fried or boiled and comes in a crusty roll with sauerkraut and brown mustard. Strong Germanic influence here and of all the hot dogs in the list this one looks like it packs the most flavour and texture in its basic sausage and bread components. Now where exactly is Milwaukee?

That was a brief introduction to American hot dogs but I'm sure we'll come back to some or all of them later.

The U.S. is probably the epicentre of hot dog consumption. You could even say - if you wanted to get analytical - that the hot dog kind of encapsulates American culture and values: It's fast, unpretentious and unfussy. It's accessible, democratic food.

But I don't think an appreciation of the sausage and bread combo has to start and end in the U.S. Other countries have their own take on the hot dog which can be just as good, if not better and I'm hoping to make this a really global blog by not just focusing on the American frank-in-a-bun.

Next time...Hot Dogs Namibian Style

Friday, September 01, 2006

Origin Story...

The date is Thursday August 31st 2006 and I am sitting in a house in a town called Swakopmund, which is in Namibia (which is just north of South Africa if you didn't know).

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie stayed just down the road when they had their baby earlier this year and Wesley Snipes is about to start shooting a movie here. I'm also out here working on a movie as it happens but I normally live in London.

Maybe it's just because I feel homesick, maybe it's boredom creeping up on me but for some reason I thought I would start this blog - a celebration of one of my favourite foods.

The basic recipe for this dish - if you can even call it a recipe - is simple and yet it seems to produce an infinite number of variations in countries and cultures all over the world.

This is simple, unfussy, everyday food yet it can inspire a passion in people you wouldn't believe.

Yep, this is a fansite dedicated to the magical combination of sausage and bread. Welcome!

Next time... I hope to be able to round up the sausage and bread options that greet the hungry traveller in Swakopmund, Namibia (you might be surprised) and hopefully a first look at the Great American Hot Dog.