Coney Island Look-alike

Dear Readers:

I decided early in my chapters about Patsy and Virgie that Coney Island hot dogs would have to be a mainstay menu item during their western Odyessy. I thought Coney dogs got their start on their namesake’s Long Island playland, Coney Island. Not! First of all, there are two different versions of this American delicacy. The kind I grew up eating in the Midwest was the beef dog smothered in appropriately bland Minnesota chili, diced raw onion, and yellow mustard. Yum. Guess where this culinary delight was developed? Michigan. Detroit to be more specific. In New York the meat part was a spicy white pork served bare or holding its own with a hint of mustard. The Coney Island part is attributed to a New Yorker, Charlie Feltman, who came up with the idea of sandwiching a Vienna sausage with a roll and baptizing it the “Coney Island Red Hot.” That was in 1867 and the general population was suspicious of this new-fangled wiener’s true contents so the name “hot dog” came into use. Stopping at Dottie’s Diner in western Wisconsin in chapter three features Coney dogs as the main entree on the girls’ first night on the road. The plot thickens.


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