July is National Hot Dog Month and National Grilling Month

Warning: you may wish to avoid information at the end of this post if you easily get queasy about the food you eat...
You may learn something about hot dogs you already suspected but did not want details about...

Summer is certainly the season to grill and hot dogs are a popular item to serve for backyard barbecues. In today’s world much of our food is wrapped in cellophane and increasingly pre-packaged. Not so long ago we were closer to our food and went separately to butcher and produce shops to buy fresh provisions. When I was growing up in the 1970’s I worked at a real operating butcher shop in the neighborhood of Cincinnati where we lived.

I was a teen and it was my job to carry boxes, front the shelves, clean and sweep up the place. It was an old fashioned butcher joint where carcasses of animals were delivered to the shop and cut up on site, so it was certainly all very fresh. Behind the display counter were several large butcher block tables where skilled butchers cut the meat from big chunks into smaller standard and custom chops.

It was necessarily a messy process and trimmed bits and some liquid protein (no, not blood, carcasses were bled before being delivered, but yes, it looks like that) leaked out and dribbled off the wooden table onto the floor. There was always a container of sawdust at the ready that was sprinkled by the butcher onto these droppings to keep the floor from becoming slippery and dangerous. One of my jobs was to sweep up this soaked sawdust and scrap meat. I then placed it into large white buckets that were the stored in the walk in refrigerator. (We won’t discuss the fact that many workers smoked in the shop in those days and there was general floor dirt necessarily mixed in. We won’t discuss that.)

I was surprised one day to see these same white buckets being hauled off by one of the meat suppliers, so I asked one of the butchers why they would want it. He informed me that they could mix a certain amount of the trimmings (and all that was in the white bucket) into the mixture when they made hot dogs. When he saw the horrified look on my face he smiled and said, “kid, now you know why I only eat Kosher hot dogs.”

Now a lot has changed since the 1970’s especially with food safety, but seriously, only eat the Kosher hot dogs. Really.

As always you can find more at http://www.walterthinnes.com and on Twitter @walterthinnes.com

#ATOBTTR update – Way to go my Cincinnati Reds. I’ve said all along that you have it in you to run a championship season. You just took the Brewers series 3 games to 1 and now face 2 against the Indians. Knock those guys over and rest up during the All-Star Game. You are destined to be the ones that blossom in the second half of the season and topple the current front runners. You will sneak up and pass them. I predicted you would win at the start of the season and I will be proven correct! Go Reds!

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