Like all legends, the story of how the humble hot dog came to be has many different versions

Is it a Frankfurter from Frankfurt or a Wienerwurst from Vienna?

Related: Upgrade the humble hot dog with some cheesy nostalgia

The history of the sausage

Legend has it that the sausage first came to be in Rome. Nero’s cook Gaius was watching over his kitchen when he realised that one pig had been brought out fully roasted, but somehow not cleaned. He stuck a knife into the belly to see if the roast was edible and out popped the intestines: empty because the pigs were starved a week before slaughter and puffed from the heat.

According to legend, Gaius got the idea to stuff the intestines with ground game meats mixed with spices and wheat and … behold … the sausage link was created.

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Copyright: Brent Hofacker (123rf.com)

The sausage as we know it today

After that, the humble sausage travelled across Europe, making its way eventually to present-day Germany, where the locals took to it as their own, creating an estimated 1 500 different versions that exist today. But it’s two towns that vie to be the original birthplace of the modern hot dog sausage. Frankfurt claims the frankfurter was invented there in 1484 – some 736 years ago, but the people of Vienna (Wien in German) say they are the true originators of the “wienerwurst”.

Copyright: Brent Hofacker (123rf.com)

Jazzing up an old classic

Whatever the case maybe we can all agree; hot dogs are delicious! From a beloved tuckshop food for children to a filling comfort food with all the trimmings, there are endless ways to enjoy this timeless classic.

Ahead of Hot Dog Day, celebrated on 22 July, the chefs at Capsicum shared their favourite hot dog toppings with us.

Chef Lungi Makiza loves a combination of flavours, “I’m a lover of all things cheesy and spicy, so a mix of mozarella and gouda with jalapenos or piquant peppers is my go to topping,” she says.

Chef Mark Coombe  likes a sriracha mayo to give a little spicy kick to the hot dog. “I also like to add some fresh rocket for a peppery flavour,” he says.

Chef Natasha Jooste enjoys topping her hot dog with caramelised onions and blue cheese, and for Chef Bianca Jacobs nothing beats Mexican salsa with white cheddar cheese.

“Try it and you’ll never look back,” she says.

Whatever your preference, there’s no doubt that this simple fast food is going to be around for a long time and enjoyed by generations to come.

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