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Old 08-05-2019, 07:15 PM
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Ketchup on Hot Dogs


Originally published August 30, 1991.

I know that snark and condescension are part of the Cecil brand. But I've always been a bit irked by the "no ketchup" purists. Who gives a flying fig what anybody else prefers on their dogs?

First of all, not everybody's taste buds work the same way. What tastes disgusting to me might be quite pleasing to someone else, and vice versa. Who am I to judge?
Second, Cecil talks about smothering the flavor of the hot dog, then states, "The recommended ingredients of a hot dog with everything, in order of application, are mustard, relish, chopped onion, sliced tomato, kosher pickle spear, optional peppers, and celery salt." Talk about smothering! How do you know there's even a hot dog under all that mess?

I'm a native Chicagoan, so yeah, I do get the reverence for the classic Chicago-style dog, but I've never preferred this dragged-through-the-garden preparation precisely because there's just too much going on. My go-to is a schmear of ketchup on one side and a schmear of mustard on the other. I've also been known to enjoy some grilled onions on a nice jumbo Best's Kosher. Yum! A good dog doesn't need more than that, and no, the ketchup doesn't ruin it - in moderation. You don't have to like ketchup, but don't be a snob if somebody else does. It's just a hot dog, fer cryin' out loud.

I now stand ready to be relentlessly mocked and ridiculed.
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Old 08-05-2019, 07:24 PM
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I now stand ready to be relentlessly mocked and ridiculed.
I doubt you will be. The Straight Dope might have originated in Chicago, but non-Chicagoans are a significant majority.

And yeah, if you're going to put everything on, put everything on.

For me personally, ketchup isn't high on my list of preferred hot dog condiments, but I'll often end up putting some on anyway, because, first, it's always available whenever hot dogs are served anywhere outside of Chicago, and second, it's quick and easy to apply.

Though when I'm in my own kitchen, nowadays, I usually substitute sriracha.
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Old 08-05-2019, 07:24 PM
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I now stand ready to be relentlessly mocked and ridiculed.
Not from me. I'm perfectly willing to accept people who want to put ketchup on hot dogs. Or burgers. Or fries. Even (shudder) steaks, I just don't care. As long as I get the same respect for not putting ketchup on anything. Or mustard. Or relish. Or mayo.
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Old 08-05-2019, 07:33 PM
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I can live with ketchup on dogs. I sure squirted lots of it for the lil'wrekker. But, mayo on dogs just grosses me out the back door.
And, Corndogs should only have mustard! Only. I mean it.
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Old 08-06-2019, 03:29 PM
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I can live with ketchup on dogs. I sure squirted lots of it for the lil'wrekker. But, mayo on dogs just grosses me out the back door.
And, Corndogs should only have mustard! Only. I mean it.
You obviously haven't tried them with sweet chili or bbq sauce, then.

Ketchup only? never. Ketchup as part of a gloriously overstuffed combo of condiments , chili, onions, and cheese? Oh, Yes!
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Old 08-05-2019, 07:46 PM
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For me, ketchup is just sweet enough to help counter the saltiness of the hotdog. And it seems to help round out the flavor overall, in the same way that adding a little tomato paste helps round out the flavor of a stew.
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Old 08-05-2019, 07:49 PM
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Ketchup is a kid's condiment, helping children get down stuff they would not eat by drowning it in sugar. If you even had to eat food prepared for children as a adult it becomes totally obvious what ketchup is.
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Old 08-05-2019, 11:31 PM
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Ketchup is a kid's condiment, helping children get down stuff they would not eat by drowning it in sugar. If you even had to eat food prepared for children as a adult it becomes totally obvious what ketchup is.
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:33 AM
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Ketchup is a kid's condiment, helping children get down stuff they would not eat by drowning it in sugar. If you even had to eat food prepared for children as a adult it becomes totally obvious what ketchup is.

Have you ever read the ingredients for BBQ sauce?
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:06 AM
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Have you ever read the ingredients for BBQ sauce?
What has that to do with his statement? It certainly doesn't negate it.

It's like I explained why Adolf Hitler was a terrible person, and then you asked, "Have you ever read about Ivan the Terrible?"
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:20 AM
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What has that to do with his statement? It certainly doesn't negate it.

It's like I explained why Adolf Hitler was a terrible person, and then you asked, "Have you ever read about Ivan the Terrible?"
WTF? Godwin's Law invoked in a thread about putting ketchup on your hot dog!? That's a stretch!

The point is, if kids using ketchup is "drowning it in sugar", adults slathering everything in BBQ sauce is doubling down!
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:41 AM
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Ketchup is a kid's condiment, helping children get down stuff they would not eat by drowning it in sugar.
Ah, argument by insult. Or maybe a variant on guilt by association. Kids also like what you like, so your tastes are infantile.

The same logic would apply to sodas, to chocolate, etc. IOW, gimme a break.
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Old 08-05-2019, 08:28 PM
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I'll give up my franks with ketchup when you pry them from my cold, dead hands.
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Old 08-05-2019, 08:37 PM
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Sonic's "All American Dog" comes standard with ketchup.

So there ya' go. If an all American dog comes standard with ketchup. It must be okay.
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Old 08-05-2019, 08:43 PM
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I had two dogs with ketchup for lunch. I added some mustard, but ketchup definitely is a must-have.
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Old 08-05-2019, 10:01 PM
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I enjoy a nice chicago-style dog, but frankly *ahem* all-beef hotdogs aren't even my favorite. I'll turn in my Chicago card now...
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Old 08-06-2019, 01:24 AM
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If there was some sort of culinary art aspect of this thing I might . . . Nah. It's pissant wannabe "experts" seeking high ground in the swamp. It's a freakin' hotdog! Eat the damned thing, and chew with your mouth shut. Then keep it shut.

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Old 08-06-2019, 10:41 AM
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If there was some sort of culinary art aspect of this thing I might . . . Nah. It's pissant wannabe "experts" seeking high ground in the swamp. It's a freakin' hotdog!
This. Like I've said elsewhere, even if it's an all-beef kosher hot dog, it's still the parts of the cow that weren't good enough for anything else. Getting all purist about how to eat the not-quite-throwaway bits is absurd.

I'll take mine with ketchup and relish, thanks.
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Old 08-09-2019, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
Ketchup does not belong on a hot dog any more than ranch dressing or pineapple belongs on a pizza. People desecrate (and enjoy) food in all kinds of strange ways, and I doubt they care what experts say. Nonetheless,



So it's not just Chicago; it's New York, too. And then there's this from NPR:

Hold The Ketchup: It may sound odd to some, but all the cooks we consulted begged home cooks to (please!) skip the ketchup. Unless, that is, your guests demand it.

I try to be tolerant, so if my guests demand it, of course I'll supply ketchup. But I will avert my eyes while they're applying and eating it.
As I said earlier:
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
Like I've said elsewhere, even if it's an all-beef kosher hot dog, it's still the parts of the cow that weren't good enough for anything else. Getting all purist about how to eat the not-quite-throwaway bits is absurd.

I'll take mine with ketchup and relish, thanks.

Last edited by RTFirefly; 08-09-2019 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
Originally published August 30, 1991.

I know that snark and condescension are part of the Cecil brand. But I've always been a bit irked by the "no ketchup" purists. Who gives a flying fig what anybody else prefers on their dogs?
It only bothers me if, while enjoying a classic dog at an outdoor venue, it is my misfortune to see a Chicago dog desecrated by ketchup smeared all over it. I find it disgusting and repulsive, and it spoils my dog eating experience. Other than that, let the heathens do as they like.
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Old 08-06-2019, 07:09 AM
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I'm nearly 67 and have eaten hot dogs most of my life and this is the first time I've heard there's any kind of "issue" with ketchup on hotdogs. Ketchup, mustard, fried onions and melted cheese. Only way to go, IMHO.
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Old 08-06-2019, 11:41 AM
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I'm nearly 67 and have eaten hot dogs most of my life and this is the first time I've heard there's any kind of "issue" with ketchup on hotdogs.
As alluded to upthread, "no ketchup on hot dogs!" seems to be a particularly Chicago attitude.
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:05 AM
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Like the OP, I've felt a fully dressed Chicago dog has too much going on but would no more criticize what condiments people put on their sausages than I would what gods they worship. For similar reasons.

As another data point, Ted's Hot Dogs with several locations in western New York plus one in Tempe offers ketchup.
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:34 AM
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Another person baffled by the nonsense that somebody thinks they have a right to tell other people what they put on their food. Egad.

If someone wants to put ranch dressing on their Cheerios that's their business.

I hate hot dogs. (Sometimes at family gatherings they're the only food available.) Putting ketchup on them kills some of the horrible taste. So the argument that Cecil quotes against it is actually a positive one!

And stop with the "eating pizza with silverware is bad" stupidity. No, that's a better way. Try it, you'll like it.

Last edited by ftg; 08-06-2019 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 08-08-2019, 01:10 PM
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Another person baffled by the nonsense that somebody thinks they have a right to tell other people what they put on their food. Egad.

If someone wants to put ranch dressing on their Cheerios that's their business.

I hate hot dogs. (Sometimes at family gatherings they're the only food available.) Putting ketchup on them kills some of the horrible taste. So the argument that Cecil quotes against it is actually a positive one!

And stop with the "eating pizza with silverware is bad" stupidity. No, that's a better way. Try it, you'll like it.
I bet you eat your fried chicken with a fork, too.

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Old 08-06-2019, 12:17 PM
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I think people should have whatever food with whatever toppings they like.

But I do enjoy seeing New Yorkers and Chicagoans make fools of themselves arguing over the correct way to eat things like pizza and hot dogs.
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Old 08-06-2019, 12:21 PM
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I won't mock you for ketchup, as I like it myself. I'll mock you for inviting me to your house for some "barbecue" if what you serve is hot dogs instead of barbecue, though.
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Old 08-06-2019, 01:54 PM
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Mustard and onions for a base. Then, depending on mood (and availability) either chili and jalapenos, or sauerkraut.
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Old 08-06-2019, 01:58 PM
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Old 08-06-2019, 09:34 PM
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I regard mustard as normal, but when I was younger and at, [i]e.g.,[/] a picnic, I might have two with mustard and one with ketchup for variety’s sake.
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Old 08-06-2019, 09:45 PM
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The only dog I regularly get is at Costco. $1.50 for a dog and drink. You now have to ask for onions and hot peppers in little containers for sanitary reasons. So a bit of ketchup, mustard, onions peppers, yum. Not a fan of sweet relish, and why can the relish be sweet and not the ketchup? I don't even keep ketchup at home anymore.
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Old 08-07-2019, 08:40 AM
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Huh. The CostCo around here does not offer peppers as an option and the chopped onions are dispensed from a hand-cranked bin with a lid on it.
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:36 PM
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Ketchup is just tomato flavored corn syrup. It belongs on nothing, but if you're going to eat it a hot dog is as good a delivery system as any I guess. I prefer hot dogs with mustard and sauerkraut. Maybe add some Huy Fong chili Garlic sauce if I feel like a spicy dog.
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:19 PM
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My philosophy is if things didn't taste good with ketchup, it would never have been created.
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:07 AM
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If you want to put ketchup on your hotdog, or truffles, or foie gras, or lobster, or caviar, or Kobe beef, more power to you.
Your dish, your condiments. No moral judgement. At most, it's like "I'd never do that".
According to Wiki the Chicago hot dog has "yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled sport peppers and a dash of celery salt" so please don't try to BS me with "the purity of the bun and sausage," it's chock full of condiments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobDog View Post
A sossidge inna bun is not pushing the gastronomic envelope.
Exactly. There's no mistery or exotic culture there. Sausages are tubes of ground meat, cilindrical burgers if you may.


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My philosophy is if things didn't taste good with ketchup, it would never have been created.
I feel the same about mayo, but I will die for your right to pout ketchup.
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:45 AM
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Sausages are tubes of ground meat, cilindrical burgers if you may.
You're being overly kind. The stuff in hot dogs is the stuff that wasn't good enough to be part of a burger:
Quote:
After the steaks, chops, breasts, ribs, thighs, hams, tenderloins and briskets are removed, there's a fair amount of gristle, fat and offal remaining on a butchered animal, and early on, people realized this could be put to good use. One of these products is the hot dog, a classic of pre-cooked, processed meat.

Trimmings
The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (NHDSC) notes that hot dogs, whether regular, turkey, pork or beef, begin with "trimmings." A purposely-vague word, trimmings come in lots of shapes and sizes.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO): "The raw meat materials used for precooked-cooked products are lower-grade muscle trimmings, fatty tissues, head meat, animal feet, animal skin, blood, liver and other edible slaughter by-products."
ETA: What goes into a hot dog doesn't bother me in the least - it certainly hasn't kept me from continuing to eat them. Just sayin' this is what people are getting all 'how dare you put ketchup on it' about.
Quote:
I will die for your right to pout ketchup.
I can cry a river, but I've never figured out how to pout ketchup.

Last edited by RTFirefly; 08-13-2019 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:23 PM
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I now stand ready to be relentlessly mocked and ridiculed.
Let me ask you a question: Which way do you put the toilet paper on the roll: Over or under?
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Old 08-07-2019, 09:02 PM
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Let me ask you a question: Which way do you put the toilet paper on the roll: Over or under?
There's only two possible ways to hang the roll, and under ain't one of them. There's over the front, and over the back.

As a tangent from the tangent, back when printed TP was common, someone tried to tell me that the side the paper was printed on was proof that you were supposed hang it over the front, claiming that it was the only way the print would show. I pointed out that it was printed on the outside, and that the print shows no matter how you hang it. Conversely, if it were printed on the other side it would be on the inside, and wouldn't show no matter how you hung it.
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Old 08-08-2019, 12:44 AM
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The question that isn't being asked: is there any real evidence (polls, wholesale purchasing) that Chicago is a less ketchup happy city than anywhere else? It's getting seriously close to "no true Scotsman" territory.
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Old 08-08-2019, 01:38 AM
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Non-Chicagoan here and I'll pass on the ketchup - I prefer hot dog toppings to be sour and spicy, not sweet. Chicago-style is good, but I'll also go for a chili dog, or a Seattle-style dog (spicy mustard, grilled onions, hot peppers, and cream cheese).
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Old 08-08-2019, 08:58 AM
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Ketchup does not belong on a hot dog any more than ranch dressing or pineapple belongs on a pizza. People desecrate (and enjoy) food in all kinds of strange ways, and I doubt they care what experts say. Nonetheless,

Quote:
The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council also has rules about ketchup, much to the dismay of Internet commenters. According to the council, no person over the age of 18 should top their hot dog with ketchup, despite the fact that over half of all Americans use the condiment. Former council president Janet Riley (the so-called "Queen of Wien") is shocked by this: "Ketchup’s popularity was the big surprise, considering our etiquette rules—and ketchup’s notable absence from regional hot dog favorites like the Chicago Dog and the New York Dog."
So it's not just Chicago; it's New York, too. And then there's this from NPR:

Hold The Ketchup: It may sound odd to some, but all the cooks we consulted begged home cooks to (please!) skip the ketchup. Unless, that is, your guests demand it.

I try to be tolerant, so if my guests demand it, of course I'll supply ketchup. But I will avert my eyes while they're applying and eating it.
  #42  
Old 08-08-2019, 05:57 PM
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......So it's not just Chicago; it's New York, too........
I'm a Chicagoan, but I've spent a fair amount of time in New York, and I can attest that they are just as anti-ketchup about their hot dogs as we are. Personally, I don't care what anyone puts on their food, as long as they don't try to make me eat it.
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Old 08-11-2019, 11:04 AM
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Ketchup does not belong on a hot dog any more than ranch dressing or pineapple belongs on a pizza. People desecrate (and enjoy) food in all kinds of strange ways, and I doubt they care what experts say. Nonetheless,



So it's not just Chicago; it's New York, too. And then there's this from NPR:

Hold The Ketchup: It may sound odd to some, but all the cooks we consulted begged home cooks to (please!) skip the ketchup. Unless, that is, your guests demand it.

I try to be tolerant, so if my guests demand it, of course I'll supply ketchup. But I will avert my eyes while they're applying and eating it.
I salute your commitment to gastro-ideological purity. Specifically, I salute it with a large slice of pepperoni and pineapple pizza, enjoying the way the pineapple's acidity cuts through the greasiness of the cheese, and the fruit's sweetness nicely complements the savoriness of the sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella.

My bolding.
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Old 08-08-2019, 02:27 PM
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Just in case anyone didn't get the "Dirty Harry" reference mentioned in the column.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5JIpT4GkyM
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Old 08-08-2019, 06:10 PM
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Nobody over the age of 18 should be worried about what I put on MY hotdog.
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Old 08-09-2019, 07:26 AM
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I think it boils down to the fact that major cities like New York and Chicago are hubs of culinary civilization. In terms of variety, quality, and sophistication, they can't be matched by anything on the culinary frontier. It's not a moral judgment, and it's not a criticism of people who grew up in that environment. It's just reality.

"It tasted like noodles and ketchup."
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Old 08-09-2019, 09:36 AM
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I think it boils down to the fact that major cities like New York and Chicago are hubs of culinary civilization. In terms of variety, quality, and sophistication, they can't be matched by anything on the culinary frontier. It's not a moral judgment, and it's not a criticism of people who grew up in that environment. It's just reality.

"It tasted like noodles and ketchup."
If they were hubs of culinary civilization then they wouldn't be concerned with the etiquette of serving dubious-meat tubes in ghastly "bread".
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:34 AM
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If they were hubs of culinary civilization then they wouldn't be concerned with the etiquette of serving dubious-meat tubes in ghastly "bread".
Objection, your honor. The witness is stating an opinion, it is not testimony based on fact.
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  #49  
Old 08-13-2019, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasmine View Post
Objection, your honor. The witness is stating an opinion, it is not testimony based on fact.
Objection sustained. The jury will disregard RobDog's statement due to his bitter resentment at living in a culinary black hole.

  #50  
Old 08-09-2019, 10:30 AM
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I would argue that the hubs of culinary civilization are what they are precisely because they're on the culinary frontier.
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