A Short History of the Hot Dog Donut
Tuesday was an exciting day for me! I got to see, purchase, and EAT my first Hot Dog Donut!!!! Now before you believe that this blog is turning totally food centric, let me relate to you the history of the hot dog donut so that you may better understand my excitement at being able to indulge in this once-in-a-lifetime pastry.
This story will take us back to 2003 when I met a friend, we’ll call her A because I have not confirmed that I may use her name here. I was in the second to last year of my Bachelor’s degree. I had friends spread hither and yon and while visiting one of these friends in Cedar City, Utah, I met A.
I don’t remember her major (sorry A) but she is brilliant, and has since gone onto a glorious career as a film and screen writer for Nickelodeon. This witty, fast talking, joke telling, self-disparaging friend of mine has always prided herself in THE BEST.
Now when I say THE BEST I mean that this is THE BEST according to A. There are some people who care about having THE BEST, and there are some people who do not. A is definitely in the later category. Now this list is not inclusive of everything under the sun.
Really, I don’t know how someone would/could have a list of THE BEST that included EVERYTHING. But her list does include THE BEST Hot Dog Donut. There are varieties, you say. But apparently the answer is, YES.
Anyway, all that is to say that A is a connoisseur of a specific set of delightful things and one of those things is Hot Dog Donuts. Another example of A’s good taste is her Panang Curry recipe, but we’ll save that for another day!
To add to this history there are several important things to note: 1. A’s father is a pastry chef and 2. She and her sister spoke about these Hot Dog Donuts so often that over a DECADE after meeting her I STILL REMEMBER how GOOD these donuts were supposed to be, and how meticulous one had to be to TRULY pull off the Hot Dog Donut.
So on this random Tuesday I cannot properly convey my surprise at walking in to my local grocer (not just any grocer, but Day’s Market, but we’ll save Days for another day) to procure a fritter and some donuts for myself and my posse when, BEHOLD! A HOT DOG DONUT SITTING EVER SO PERFECTLY IN THE BAKERY CASE!
A hot dog donut people. Amazing.
I picked out my fritter and the other donuts my people had requested, and stared at the hot dog donut for a few seconds. I don’t know why I didn’t grab it up and put it in the bag. I don’t know why I didn’t grab 7 and put them in my bag.
For one I didn’t want to crush it or cause any undo damage. Anything that might make this PERFECT hot dog donut look less like a hot dog! Well, time was wasting so I scooped up one and nestled it carefully into it’s own little donut bag.
Now at this point in the story, with hindsight at its height, I REALLY wish I had gotten a DOZEN of the hot dog donuts. I could have given one to checker right there at Days Market. I could have delivered one to my friend across the street. I could have shipped one to Alaska and one to San Francisco for crying out loud. But I didn’t think twice. I got one, and ran!!!!!!!
I’ll be honest, I felt like I won the lottery. That is how great it was. Ms. A had talked these babies up so much and so well that I was over-the-moon to have one to call mine. Returning home I didn’t wait, and took a bite in the kitchen before the kiddos saw my treasured treat.
Then I cursed myself for having bitten into the thing without sharing my joy with my friend. It tasted DELICIOUS like a donut, it LOOKED like a hot dog. But I needed to check in with A to see if this hot dog donut was legit, or a shoddy likeness of the REAL DEAL.) I took a picture (the one above, in fact) and texted my friend:
This donut was at my local Days Market this morning. What?!?!?!?!? Maybe it’s not legit, but I couldn’t help but think of you and your talk of these dogs over the years!
Her reply rocked me out of my socks:
The original owner of the Day’s bakery back when it was on the north end of town was Dan Bates, and he taught my father how to make the donut dogs. You’re eating the real deal, only my dad leaves the ketchup off. He doesn’t think they’ve found the right red yet to make it look real enough 🙂
WOW, just WOW. I felt so honored. So authenticated. So darn elated to be eating my very first (and who knows, maybe my very last) donut dog. Maybe that wasn’t so much a history of the hot dog donut as it was the power of taste, word-of-mouth marketing, spoofs, and just plain great baking! You decide.
And if you EVER find yourself staring at a hot dog that has somehow mysteriously made it’s way into the glassy embrace of your local baker’s window. RUN don’t walk inside and buy up the entire lot!
Have a rockin’ Friday, friends!