cafe-hot-dogCall it a dog, sausage or frankfurter, it’s been around since before the 9th century BC. Homer’s Odyssey refers to a man by a roaring fire waiting impatiently for his sausage to cook.

In the centuries that followed, many references to the sausage are recorded throughout history.

In the 19th century, German immigrants came here and brought their sausages and their dachshund dogs with them.

In 1867, a German butcher opened a stand in Coney Island in New York and sold 3,684 “dachhund” sausages in milk rolls.

A cartoon was drawn featuring the sausages, but the cartoonist didn’t know how to spell dachshund, so he called them hot dogs. The name stuck.

A study done a few years ago indicated that Americans eat more than 16 billion hot dogs each year. They eat 150 million on the 4th of July alone.

We now know that, health wise, the hot dog has a bad reputation. It contains 14 to 16 grams of fat.

But we intend to eat them anyway, especially during the month of July. And that’s OK if you don’t eat too many of them on too many days.

Nutritionists at the Mayo Clinic recommend choosing a fat-free dog or one that has 2 grams of fat or less. They taste pretty good, especially with the toppings, and have only about 50 calories each,

The reduced-fat dog is their second choice. It contains 7 to 10 grams of fat and 100 to 120 calories. They are made with beef, chicken or turkey, but their taste isn’t necessarily better than that of a fat-free hot dog.

If you are a vegetarian, or someone who is limiting red meat, try the meatless hot dog. They are soy based with 0 to 6 grams of fat and no cholesterol. Condiments are needed to liven up the flavor. (All hot dogs contain 200 to 400 milligrams of sodium.)

Health experts recommend boiling or microwaving. Grilling can cause charring, which isn’t healthy.