RiverWester wrote:The Chicago hot dog as described in the aforementioned pics has existed long as I have been alive, with nothing "new" added to the list. If someone wants to go back to WW2 era and make some claim that it had less, then fine. Since the 1960's, it's been the same. That's going on 45 years now with no changes.
If you want to define the original Chicago hot dog as the kind you grew up eating, then fine. If, however, you're willing to look at its history you'll find things aren't quite so simple.
Beef has been quite successful at pushing their version of Chicago hot dog history and would have you believe that the canonical 7 toppings go back as long as there were hot dogs in Chicago.
I'm not at all suggesting that tomatoes etc were never found on long-ago Chicago dogs, only that elaborate toppings became common more recently. You don't need to go back to WW2; simply looking at the hot dogs sold by the remaining old places is very informative.
In another thread
, I compiled a list of existing hot dog stands that are over 50 years old: Fluky’s (1929), Jim’s Original (1939), Fred and Jack’s (1946), Gene and Jude’s (1946), Polk and Western (1948), Al’s Red Hots (1953), Jimmy’s Red Hots (1954), Harry’s Hot Dogs (1955). While this list isn't complete (additions are very welcome!), it's interesting that only Fluky's sells the fully dressed dog; the rest use more minimal toppings. I suppose you could argue that these old places "cut corners" over the years but I don't think that's the case; most have been serving hot dogs same the way for over half a century. Fluky's is the exception and indeed they may be responsible for popularizing the elaborate condiments.
It's interesting you show pictures of hot dog signs to support your claims. If you look at older Vienna
Beef signs, however, you'll find the hot dogs aren't as elaborately dressed.
I notice that while I was composing this, others made many of the same points. I'll go ahead and post this as is, even if it is a bit redundant.