Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Guest Post: TKW's Dad Attempts a Recipe

Hi Lovely Readers! My very own Daddy-O is back in da house today! So grab a Coca-Cola and settle on in for my Dad's first EVER recipe!

ps: Daddy, sorry for the cartoon, but I couldn't resist. It's your reward for raising willful, outrageous daughters :) Love you, mistah.

The Nine Basic Food Groups

The Kitchen Witch (my lovely daughter) has some wonderful posts with beautiful pictures of food and rather complex recipes. However, most of them look like they came out of Paris and are completely undecipherable and beyond comprehension to someone born in the 30’s. Looking back on those wonderful years, TKW’s Dad remembers Nine Basic Food Groups. They are:

1. Pot Roast (with potatoes, carrots, onions and lots of gravy)
2. Hamburgers
3. Hot Dogs (Chicago Style)
4. Fried Chicken (alas, now forsaken for Costco Rotisserie Chicken for health reasons)
5. Fruit (mostly canned but fresh in season – Chicago’s summer)
6. Vegetables (mostly canned but fresh in Chicago’s summer)
7. Salad (mostly iceberg lettuce with French dressing, but sometimes Jello)
8. Potatoes (American fried, French fried, creamed or mashed)
9. Pie (always apple or cherry except for Thanksgiving)

I see nothing wrong with this list? I have no idea why TKW gagged when she saw it?

The true star of the list, however, is item #3.

To fully appreciate my favorite food (and following recipe), you have to understand that I grew up in a Western suburb of Chicago. I had an uncle who was a sportswriter for the now defunct Chicago Daily News. As his lucky nephew, I got tickets to lots of sporting events--and I certainly wasn't shy about asking for them. And every year, so began the Rite of Spring.

Many people believe the Rite of Spring is a piece of music by Igor Stravinsky. Idiots.

TKW’s Dad knows better. Growing up, the Rite of Spring was the un-official holiday of the year. The home opener of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The one day of the year when the Cubbies were undefeated and tied for the National League Championship.

And what does one do when you go to Wrigley?

Before entering the ballpark, you must, absolutely must walk up to one of the cart vendors and purchase a couple of Chicago style hot dogs, a Coca-Cola, and enjoy a truly gourmet and healthmark lunch.

Why do I say healthmark? Well, while the Chicago style hot dog was initially created during the 1893 Chicago Exposition and World Fair, it really became famous during the great depression years of the 30’s. Back then, you could get a hot dog with "salad" on the top for only a nickel, and money was really tight.

See? Hot Dog+Salad=Healthmark.

A Chicago Dog is a thing of beauty, as you can see. A better meal doesn't exist.

But if you don't have the good luck to live in the Windy City, I give you this recipe.


1. Vienna All-Beef Hot Dog (no cheating!)
2. Sweet neon green relish (Vienna Chicago Style preferred)
3. Mustard (Yellow! No Dijon! Dijon is sacrilege)
4. The Pickle (I like Claussen’s, or from the Puckered Pickle Company)
5. Onion (chopped white)
6. Tomato
7. Sport Peppers (these are essential, folks!)
8. Celery Salt (any brand will do...see how flexible I am?)
9. Poppyseed Bun (These are a bitch to find. Vienna makes them, but you may have to bribe a bakery to make them for you).

Now that you have the ingredients, all you have to do is properly prepare them.

Chicago Style Hot Dogs can be either grilled, boiled or steamed. However, any purist prefers them steamed. Place the dogs in a Dutch oven fitted with a steamer rack. Add a small amount of water to the Dutch oven(you don’t want liquid bubbling onto your dogs!) Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover tightly.

Steam 5 – 7 minutes or until Hot Dogs are heated through. Just heat them through; don't cook the heck out of them!

To steam the buns, stack them on top of the dogs in the last two minutes of cooking.

Place the dog in the bun and very carefully follow these most important steps.

~ Dress the dog, not the bun! The goal is to evenly distribute the toppings so you taste each ingredient in every bite. In this order:

1. Yellow Mustard – squirted directly on the dog, in zig-zag pattern, one end to the other.
2. Neon Green Relish – generous amount
3. Fresh Chopped Onions – to your taste
4. Two Tomato Wedges – placed along the crevice between the top of the bun and the Hot Dog
5. Pickle Spear – placed in the crevice between the bottom of the bun and the Hot Dog
6. Two Sport Peppers – Traditional and necessary for a real Chicago Dog.
7. Celery Salt – Sprinkle a dash over the Dog.

As this is TKW’s Dad’s first attempt ever at recipe writing, I must give full credit to two websites that do a much better job with far better information. They are and

There are many Chicago websites with reviews of hot dog restaurants, but I still prefer the Vienna Beef street vendors. On the West side there still is Parky’s on Harlem Avenue in Forest Park which has been in business for at least 50 plus years.

Unfortunately, the various health departments have vastly limited, if not done away with most of the outdoor hot dog wagons and carts, even at O’Hare International Airport (those jerks!) Some of the bars at O’Hare serve them, but they’re not nearly as good.

Fortunately, in Denver we have Mustard’s Last Stand, Chicago on Colfax Avenue and Woody’s in Littleton.

Because if TKW's dad ever has to make them for himself, he's in a world of hurt.


There you are, folks! Can you tell that these are words of a hot dog Purist? Daddy-O, thanks for giving my readers this *healthy* recipe, complete with assembly instructions! You are the best, Wallet Man!


  1. Dear TKW's Dad,

    Did you serve your "mostly iceberg lettuce with French dressing" in a brown wooden bowl and cut it with a steak knife? Because if so, I think you might be my dad too.


  2. Wow. I think I know where I'm coming to get a *real* hot dog!

    TKW's Dad: where do I start?! "Salad... sometimes jello"? omg. That's what got me. I'm definitely coming back for more. I'm praying that you'll be a regular recipe contributor here. ;)

  3. Thank you so much, TKW's Dad! I love your list and have always thought it wasn't a ball game without a hot dog.

  4. Being a Chicagoan for 12 years and having only just moved 1.5 years ago this was exactly what I needed to start the day. I am daydreaming about the roar of Wrigley, the yummy hotdogs and of course, an Old Style beer! Thanks TKW's dad....Go Cubs!!

  5. Oh, I simply adore this post. Thanks Wallet Man! I have never been a lover of the hot dog, but I am a huge Cubs fan and cherish my memories at Wrigley Field. Headed to Chi town this weekend to meet my new nephew in fact. Enough with the irrelevant deets about me. That your father wrote (a lovely and humorous) post for your blog is beyond touching and makes me smile. And I love to smile :)

    Oh, and Cheers to willful, outrageous daughters! (Am one and have two!)

  6. Celery salt is key.

    And don't forget a nice ice-cold Old Style to go along with that dog at Wrigley!

  7. That hot dog looks dang good. I might have to go to A&W and get one for lunch...

  8. The details are what lures me in- all beef, poppyseed bun, celery salt - I need to give this a try!

  9. Loved this post! What a small world - my Mom lives in Forest Park and I just drove past Parky's last weekend and it is still standing strong even though they are transforming that town with high end restaurants and condos.

    And I will forgive the fact that you are a Cubs Fan. . . I am a die hard White Sox fan - I live in the NW suburbs of Chicago.

    Now I want a Chicago hot dog!

  10. Good post TKW Dad! My dad would have said to just grab the raw dog out of the fridge and scarf it! (Isn't that gross?) I've never craved hotdogs, but I want one now!

  11. I love Chicago style dogs, they are absolutely the best! I'm so glad that a guy from Chicago opened a little restaurant here and serves them -they make my mouth water! Thanks for the recipe TKW's Dad!

  12. I don't think a hot dog has ever sounded so good!

  13. TKW's Dad...will you adopt me please? I have 2 "fathers" who are very shitty...and you sound like an absolute delight!! Thank you! Sincerely, ElastaMom

    P.S. Ask TKW, I'm real sweet and I can cook too!! And 3 grandkids...3!!! (Boys and a girl!!)

    Ok, I'm done begging now. Thanks for your consideration.

  14. That is some serious hot dog love. Question, where do you put the chili?

    Sorry. I couldn't resist.

  15. TKW's Dad, you are awesome. TKW, methinks you got some of your humorous-writing genes from him for sure :)

    My husband spent a few years growing up in Aurora, so he's definitely had a real Chicago dog before. He'll enjoy reading this!

  16. I don't even like hot dogs all that much and that sounds completely outstanding. Chicago and I don't get along so well (whenever I travel there I run into some mishap), but eating one of these may go far in healing our relationship.

  17. Showed this to my hubby and he's asking for two for lunch. You really rang his bell with this one. When we lived in Chicago we'd meet for lunch for a Red Hot at Irving's for Red Hot Lovers. It is my health-conscious husband's only vice from the junkfood netherworld. He is addicted to these things!

    Your dad NAILED it as to how to fix them. (The ones sold around here are pitiful imitations!) However, we do know how to make a mean beach hotdog in North Carolina. . . !

    WAY TO GO, TKW Dad! Encore, encore!!!!

  18. TKW's Dad - Now I know where she gets her style! Great post. You have my mouth watering. I grew up (my early childhood years, anyway) in the Detroit area with relatives in Chicago. We always playfully argued over who had the best dogs. Lucky for me, I love them both!

  19. I am a little biases, since I am also from Chicago and love the CUBS! I couldn't agree with you more that you have to, at least once in your life get a Chicago Style Hot dog!

  20. Hey there Wallet Man - My own dad once called to ask me how to cook a hot dog. Next time, I'll have him call you instead.

    Thanks for sharing your gastronomic genius with us!

  21. TKW's Dad: Hot dogs at the ball park are the best! THE BEST. My dad knew how to cook two things: Hamburger mixed with mushroom soup over toast and caramel popcorn.
    By the way, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your food group list. (Two slight corrections: Jello molded salads and iceberg lettuce with thousand island dresssing.)

    TKW: Be honest! You gotta love a couple things on your Dad's list. Fried chicken?? Pie? Fess up.

  22. Loved the post Daddy-O I see where TKW gets her Wit.

  23. TKW's Dad: Excellent, recipe. I plan to try one immediately! I respectfully request more TKW's Dad recipes!

    TKW: I almost have to agree with his food groups.:)

  24. Oh, I think my dad, born in 31, would agree with that list of foods! Very cute.

  25. This post brought back a lot of memories of Chicago (we moved in 1973): the Cubs, the Chicago Daily News, and Vienna All-Beef Hotdogs! What we liked in Chicago, we liked to the exclusion of all else - no Sun Times, no Sox, and no pork dogs!

    Thanks to TKW's Dad for a great post!

  26. Welcome back! I have seen these dogs but never have I been brave enough to try one. My favorite toppings are mustard, sauerkraut, and swiss cheese.

  27. Great post, the True Chicagoan comes through here. TKW's dad knows how to dress a dog and of course none are better than the ones bought from a somewhat shady looking street vendor.

  28. I grew up with a grandfather who used to reminisce about watching Hack Wilson and Rogers Hornsby play.

    I used to tease him by saying that Chicago dogs were overrated and that you couldn't find a good steak there.

    And then when he'd smile and threaten to wack me I'd offer to defend myself with a 25 pound brick from Geno's East.

  29. Wow, I don't even LIKE hot dogs and I'm ready to chow down on a hot dog right about now!

  30. I laughed out loud when I read that poppyseed buns were a bitch to find.

    And Jello Salad.....shut. up. :)

  31. I completely agree with the food groups and I raise it one: Cheetohs!
    And since my brain is fixated on pot roast, looks like shopping's in order for me tomorrow.

  32. TKW's Dad: HOT DOGS RULE!!!!!


  33. Well all I can say is TKW's Dad is utterly charming. And a smart ass. And clearly, a great All-American Chef. What could be better? (Does he like French shoes with his dogs?)

    I might add, the pickles are essential, but I also think a can of ripe pitted black olives - yes - the entire can, is an additional garnish for this most fine example of indigenous cuisine.

  34. Thanks, friends. You are indeed correct--my cup runneth over.

  35. Why am I not surprised that your dad is so cool? I'm not a hotdog lover but this post is making me rethink my feelings for the Dog. Loved this...

  36. First off, I'm totally going to make these for my baby brother who longs to see just one game of his beloved Cubs at Wrigley Feild.
    And second, if you have to forgo fried chicken, Costco Rotisserie Chicken is really the next best thing.

  37. Oh, now you went and did it. My mouth is watering for a real hotdog. Or even, seeing the Vienna Beef link it got me to remembering, vienna sausages. Used to love to wrap a VS in a canned biscuit and top it with a piece of American cheese. I didn't actually grow up in a trailer, but you could be forgiven for thinking I had after I've admitted this...

  38. TKW-I had no idea your Daddy was from Chicago! Not only did he tell us, but you could see it through and through in both his hot dog description and his statements about the Cubbies! He is so correct on that opening day fact. Nothing better. Wrigley Field and hotdog. I'm with Gibby on adding the cold beer to the mix also. I especially loved that he, of course, did not put disgusting ketchup on a hot dog. My hubby, from NY, does not understand why this is a sacrilege!

  39. you have SUCH a cool dad!! growing up in chicago, i know a thing or two about good hot dogs! :)

  40. okay you've gotta love a guy who puts all the correct condiments on his dog. Seriously, there are times I crave just the goopy stuff and would eat it on a tube of cardboard if given the option. Unless some FOOL adds ketchup. (shudder)
    I have to claim West Coast ignorance and new enlightenment, though, at the celery salt. Thanks, TKW dad for the permission to use any brand. If I ever come across this interesting specimen of midwestern spice I will think of you.
    btw, LOVE the salad choices. Iceberg or jello. Hilarious and true. If nothing else, the Depression taught a generation or two of parents how to make some foods seriously high in the salt, sugar, and filler food groups.

  41. TKW, you know how I adore you. But your Dad? Man he has my heart.
    I love hot dogs perhaps more than I love my husband. When I lived in Chicago I tried, in one summer, to hit all the best known dog joints. It was heavenly - Wolfy's, Superdawg, Mustard's Last Stand, Bill's Drive In, Hot Doug's, Gold Coast Dogs...Oh, I could go on and on.

    Now I'm hungry...and I think a hot dog is in my near future.

  42. How is Jello ever a salad? Love this entry - found it very tongue in cheek humorous - was that the intention?! :) xxx

  43. I triple heart love you, Kitch's Dad. I live in a house with four boys. If they could have THIS for dinner every night I think I might damn well be the named MOM OF THE CENTURY!

    And ditto on CK's question about the iceberg lettuce with dressing in a wooden bowl cut with a steak knife. Was par for the course at Momalom's Mom's house growing up. Thank goodness Iceberg is SO 1980's.


  44. I've been scarce for days, so I'm just getting caught up with you. I LOVE your dad! Are you sure you didn't ghost write his recipe? If not, the wit is definitely DNA driven. LOVE hot dogs. Have never been to the Windy City, but your dad's version works just fine for me.

  45. well, i can certainly see where tkw gets her witty knack for writing--what a great read! i unabashedly love hot dogs, and i hereby declare that my life won't be complete until i taste a legitimate, authentic chicago dog. my stomach growls in anticipation. :)

  46. Oh god I miss the Chicago dog!
    Australians really don't know a GOOD hot dog let alone Chicago style while watching the game......I need to come back!!
    Thanks for the memories

  47. You forgot Chicago Style Beef and Dogs on West Colfax (!