I don’t know how this came up … but you’re welcome in advance, America!
David Gershwin: I’ve got a confession: I don’t put ketchup on a hot dog, ever. This allows me to travel to and enjoy all things Chicago, unencumbered. HOWEVER – and this is a big however, I do put ketchup on a CORN dog.
Todd Flora: On a hot dog is BLASPHEMY… on a corn dog… yeah, sorry. Also blasphemous.
DG: Oh, Todd, you know, the corn dog is a different animal. Literally and figuratively. I mean, it’s half plant, half animal. Like a “liger,” but involving neither lions nor tigers. I think the corn dog’s uniqueness allows it to have a wide range of appropriate toppings without having them called into question. Also: for food one often eats standing up in a public venue (park, stadium, County Fair), any condiment rules are suspended. It’s the law.
TF: Not enough of a different animal, David. Sorry — the Gulden’s mustard king has spoken!!!
DG: I see you’re getting a little “spicy” – er, spicy mustard, that is, with me. I have full faith we can still hash (browns) this out (I don’t have to tell you that hash browns go great with ketchup. But I just did!). I “relish” this opportunity for us to ultimately decide here on Todd Flora’s America what passes muster, especially if it’s not mustard.
TF: Dave, let me ketch-u-up on some facts – Ketchup is reserved solely for burgers…and maybe on scrambled eggs if you’re that kind of guy. And sure, I’ve heard some people like it with home fries or hash browns. But no one, I mean no one, puts ketchup on a hot dog OR corn dog and survives the wrath of the taste etiquette gods.
DG: Um, I do, and I haven’t been struck down by lightning, so maybe the gods gave me a pass!?!?! Also, quick sidebar: I am intrigued why one can spell it “ketchup” or “catsup.” Maybe you have insights here to share, Todd, even if we only spell “mustard” one way?
TF: Just as we can only spell mustard one way, so too is ketchup to be used one way: on burgers. If you put ketchup on any kind of “-dog,” you are probably one of those gross people who eats fries with mayo. Yuk!!!
DG: I do eat fries with mayo when it’s excellent flavored mayo, Belgian-style. The late, great Benita’s Frites that I visted on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade at least 57 times, reviewed in wonderful detail by the late, great, Pulitzer-Prize-winning Jonathan Gold back in 1990, was a great example. But back to corn dogs. Frank-ly, Todd, I believe corn dogs have a sweet-ish, but not too sweet, flavor that more closely approximates the flavor profile of ketchup (and catsup). Mustard is straight-up savory.
TF: The breaded exterior of the corndog is inviting only of the savory delight of mustard. To sweeten it with ketchup is a culinary crime of the highest order.
DG: Just “in-case” I haven’t made my point, ketchup is a metaphor for freedom. Not “no-mask” freedom, not “no vax” freedom – but food freedom. You’ll have to pry my ketchup out of my cold, dead Heinz! I mean…hands!
TF: Dave, I would never “starve” any American of the freedom to have bad taste. And again, I would Hunt’s all day for a quality ketchup to slather on my hamburger. But your desperate attempt to force ketchup onto the –dog family is certainly going to end up in the pound.
DG: That may be so, but I’m a proud (corn) dog rescuer…and I firmly believe one may “unleash” its flavor with ketchup or catsup. I don’t care how you spell it, but I do care how you smell it! (I think this is the part where I drop my mic, yes? Or at least drop the issue?)
TF: Dave, I think it’s time we put this dog down. It’s clear we simply agree to disagree. I love America and all of its finest ideals, and you believe in a fascist Hell scape where people put ketchup on corn dogs and call it “freedom.”