red hots

From the back of a (UK) Pizza Express box for the buy-in-the-supermarket version of their American Hot pizza:
Harry's American bar, one of the most famous bars in Paris, used to have a machine on the counter for keeping sausages hot. The sausages were known as 'red hots' -- an evocative moniker that inspired our original pizzaiolo to change the name of his pepperoni and hot green pepper pizza to the far more catchy American Hot.
I can't help but think that Pizza Express has missed a bit of the meaning of AmE red hot. Goodness knows what kind of sausage they put in the machine at Harry's, but a red hot is a hot dog--more specifically a red hot dog (the usual kind), as opposed to a white hot. I believe that white hots are a special(i)ty of my part of the US, western New York State--hot dogs are a very regionali{s/z}ed food in the US. While there are national brands, many areas have their own. In Rochester, NY, the brand is Zweigle's, and they are so fantastic that when I visit my parents, I eat nothing else for lunch, no matter how long my stay. (Poor vegetarian Better Half!) Folks who relocate to other states used to fill (AmE) coolers/(BrE) cool boxes with Zweigle's and fly them home as part of their carry-on luggage. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Homeland Security has interfered with hot dog migration patterns in the US, but at least now you can order them by (orig. AmE) mail order/(BrE) post over the interweb--but only if you're in the US.

(When I want to horrify my American family, besides telling my tales of British sugared popcorn and (sweet)corn on pizza, I point out the hot dogs that are sold in jars here. [Have searched the web for a photo. No luck.] They are truly (orig. AmE) icky-looking, and no discernible relation to the noble Zweigle's hot. No wonder the British often (orig. AmE) bad-mouth/(BrE) rubbish American foods--the versions presented here are disgracefully inferior!)

Barry Popik is probably the world's expert on the etymology of hot dog-related terminology, and his blog entry on the topic states that the term red hot predates the term hot dog. It also predates white hot, which seems to have been made up later, on analogy with red hot.

At any rate, a red hot is nothing like pepperoni. Except that it's a sausage. And it's red. And it's long and slender. And it's made of pork and/or beef. (AmE) Aw, shucks.


  1. In far Western NY, aka Buffalo and environs, there is a tendency to refer to hot dogs also as 'Texas hots', even though, well, I never quite figured it out, since these versions were pretty generic franks, having nothing to do with Texas and not, as one might initially suspect, particularly 'hot' (aka, spicy-- is 'hot', BTW, used in the sense of spicy in Britain?).

  2. Yes, hot = 'spicy' in BrE--hence calling a pepperoni and jalapeño pizza 'American Hot'.

    Barry Popik also does Texas hots, so see his page for more info!

  3. To this American (not from NY, though), red hots are a type of (AmE) candy / (BrE) sweets.

  4. Me too Stephen. The only red hot I (a Californian) am familiar with is the candy. Hot dogs are hot dogs, and spicy hot dogs are hot links.

    I'm wondering if it's usual for a jalapeño to be called a "hot green pepper." I've only heard the term "green pepper" used to refer to unripe Bell peppers, which are definitely not hot. A "hot pepper" on the other hand, could refer to either the any number of different spicy peppers, but usually jalapeños or pickled pepperoncini on pizzas.

  5. (and skip the "either the" in that last sentence. Shoulda previewed.)

  6. I forgot about the candy/sweet Red Hots, which is silly, as I was just explaining them to BH the other week--I had a craving!

    'Hot green peppers' is not the usual description of jalapeños here--I think that description was used so that they can use a different type of pepper sometimes. I've just checked their menu, and it seems it's no longer just jalapeños--they customi{s/z}e it for you in the restaurant:

    "American Hot
    As above, but with hot green peppers. For extra spice try roquito peppers, or for extra hot - jalapenos"

    I think that red hot is a bit old-fashioned--and perhaps only needed anymore in places where white hots are popular. I think of a vendor in a baseball stadium walking through the stands yelling "Red hots! Get yer red hots!" But if you google "get yer red hots", you'll see the phrase used to promote hot dog places in Illinois and Texas too.

    BH reports that when he directed A Streetcar Named Desire in London, they gave the theat{er/re} extra American atmosphere by having actors go through the audience shouting "Red hots! Get yer red hots!" before the performance. He's not sure where he picked that up as an Americanism, but he had been to a baseball game by that time...

    Peggy's bell peppers is also an Americanism. In BrE, they're generally just called peppers. If they're not green, they may be called sweet peppers (just checked the Marks & Spencer pack in the fridge). If one really needs to differentiate them from other kinds of pepper, one can say capsicum, which is the usual way to refer to them in Australia and New Zealand.

  7. I suspect the guy from Pizza Express didn't actually try the sausages at Harry's bar in Paris. S/he just saw the name and made a basic link. Wow! American and Hot all in the same sentence. :)

    In mt BrE opinion, you give marketing people way too much credit by expecting them to be interested in the source of their inspiration.

    Actually, I like Pizza Express, however, I don't have a lot of respect for the marketing industry :)

  8. Did you know you can buy hot dogs in a can? They're probably no worse than hot dogs in a jar, but I don't think I'm brave enough to try them.
    See here:

  9. In the US, how are hot dogs packaged for transporation from the manufacturer to the retailer?

    In the UK I expect they are vacuum packed now-a-days - however in the not too distant past I expect they would have been bottled or canned.

    It may well be that the hotdogs you have eaten originally came out of tins or jars :)

  10. I expect that they originally came from the butcher's, but they've been vacuum-packed in plastic all my hot-dog-eating life.

  11. Here's an image of (German) jarred sausage:

    You're right, they don't look very good.

  12. If you are going to talk about canned sausages, you can't leave out Vienna Sausages, which are like little hot dogs in a can. I think they're nasty, but some people like them.

  13. Pizza is also a fascinating product, with huge amounts of variation in style, presentation, etc., just within the US as a whole (do not get me started on the lousy Buffalo version). However, at least the terms used for pizza here are pretty standard: 'pepperoni', for instance, means pretty much the same thing wherever you go here, whereas when I was in Germany 20 years ago, the term 'salami' was used for something very much like our pepperoni. Is it possible to order confidently from a British pizzeria, thus, if you are an American using American pizzaese, or will you need a translator?

  14. Dr Tom, we've discussed pizza toppings at length already on the post (linked in this post)--so you might want to look there. Also, if you hit the 'food/cooking' tag you'll see a few of the ways in which foods have different names in the two countries. That, of course, means that any menu can be a challenge.

  15. Hope you don't mind people dropping in of-topic, but I've given you a blogging award and leaving a notifying comment is part of the meme.

  16. Thanks Doug--off-topic compliments always welcome!

    I should note that when I'm tagged in such awardy ways, I don't continue the meme, as that's just not the nature of this blog. (I do support other blogs through my blogroll blog--see the left sidebar--and suitable mentions in posts here and there.) But I'm always grateful for others' mention of this little bloggy endeavo(u)r.

    Just noticed I left out a word in my last comment--that should've said "the (sweet)corn post (linked in this post)".

  17. if you talk about eating red hots here in Texas, we assume you mean tiny hard cinnamon candys that often decorate cookies or flavor apple cider.

  18. I'd be interested to know how old the Americans who claim to have never heard red hots to refer to hot dogs are. I have the feeling that there may be a generational issue here. I'm not saying that older people necessarily _say_ red hots--the usual term for everyone is probably hot dog. (Does anyone say frankfurter in preference to hot dog?) But I wonder if the 40+ or 50+ crowd is more likely to be familiar w/ red hot.

    Saying red hot to myself, I also get the feeling that I pronounce the candy/sweet name and the hot dog meaning very slightly differently--in terms of the stress pattern/vowel length. Maybe this has to do with being most familiar with hot dog red hot in the context of vendors at baseball games who would elongate the vowels when calling attention to their wares. Anyone else have any feelings about this?

    1. I'm a native Californian who moved to Rochester NY in my 50s. I had never heard the term "red hots" for hot dog before coming to Rochester. In CA, it would mean the little candies.

  19. I'm a native Californian in my late 50s. If someone said "red hots" to me, I would think candy/sweets. Only in the context of a baseball game would I think hot dog--but not any baseball game I ever attended, even as a kid, rather a story about Yankee Stadium or some ether East Coast ballpark.

    So, I think "red hots" for hot dogs is also regional.

  20. I'm a native Californian in my early 40s. I agree with nutraxfornerves that "red hots" is probably a regional term for hot dogs, because I don't remember ever hearing it used that way.

  21. Yes, Brit 50+ here - I would refer to the sausages as Frankfurters, which become hot dogs when cooked and placed inside a roll. I have eaten the sausages from a jar as well as the vacuum-packed version - boiled for 5 mins, or alternatively barbequed. Sadly, I have not had one of the good-quality franks from the USA!

    Interesting that we have fast food from Frankfurt and Hamburg.

    A book on Hamburgers has just been published (author Josh Ozersky) - apparently it's the bun that distinguishes a hamburger from a minced-beef sandwich. In fact I recently saw 'naked lamb burger' on a menu - this was a patty of minced lamb, grilled, and served with salad and fries....bringing it full circle I suppose.

  22. See Barry Popik's page: there are attestations of red hot from Chicago, Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska--that's not the mark of an east coast word!

    But, as I've said before, it is old-fashioned. It is not what people anywhere typically call hot dogs these days.

  23. Hi long-time lurker, first-time poster.

    both my husband (30s, Oregon) & I (30s, Wisconsin) know "red hots" only as the candy. The bland sausages eaten by children who weren't ready for brats were called hot dogs.

    Oddly, the term "hot dog" here in NZ refers to what I would call a "foot long" which is battered, fried and served on a stick - like a corndog, but without the cornmeal.

    Apparently ordering an "american hot dog" will get you a conventional hot dog in a bun, but I haven't verified that personally.

  24. I've not previously heard (or perhaps understood) "red hot" meaning "hot dog".

    FWIW, I'm in my mid-40s, my family is from MN, I've lived in VA, MO, and much of the western US, and grew up in a military family (and so socialized with people from all over the US).

  25. The gentleman who noted that we have barbecue food named after two different German cities, ultimately, attests to the power of Germans and German cultural influences in the USA. Are 'hot dogs' seen as German (or German-American) in Britain, which is far more of a sausage country, right, than the US is nowadays, in general (and most Americans probably do not even really consider hot dogs as 'sausages', anyhow). As to the origin of the term 'hamburger', well... we could probably start a blog just on that one...

  26. I think that biochemist has hit the nail on the head :) Hotdog, to me, means a sausage in a bread roll - and in some respects the bun is more important than the type of sausage it holds.

    It must be a longish white bread roll with a slit down the middle that a sausage can nestle comfortably in. While I would normally expect to get a frankfurter (or possibly a saveloy) in the bun, I have seen 'hot dogs' offered with traditional English sausages nestling inside the roll.

    Some time ago I came across a system that pierced a hole through a length of French bread and then forced a frankfurter through it. Neither my son, nor I, really considered those to be 'proper' hot dogs.

  27. Dr. Tom Roche, no I don't consider hot dogs sausages either, I think of them more like scrapple- seasoned meat made from scraps I'd rather not think about. Scrapple is tough though. And square... And growing up we ate it with maple syrup drizzled on top. I haven't seen it (scrapple) around in adulthood. Though, admittedly, I haven't been actively LOOKing for it, either.

    I, too, on hearing "red hots" thought it was a post about the candy, but now that I hear it, though I wouldn't have used that, I know the sausages (or think I do) that you mean by "red hots". It is faintly, very faintly, familiar. I would not have used it though. (I have only once been to a professional baseball game, when I was about eight.)

    I grew up mostly in SE CT, and some (three years each) in Manhattan and Miami. My mom's family is from NE Pennsylvania and my Dad's from Kentucky/Indiana. In my adulthood I've lived in Mass, Florida, Texas, Washington State, New Mexico, Maryland, Rhode Island... (though not in that order). My husband's from Oklahoma... Oh, and I'm 38, but not sure how I feel about divulging that bit of information!

  28. Hot dogs are to sausages what particle board is to wood.

    That's a bit faulty.

    Hot dogs are to meat what particle board is to wood.

    Sausages are somewhere in between, I think. They are ground meat, (more respectable parts of the animal?) with added spices. I'd be interested to see how hot dogs are made. I imagine they are pureed scraps that are soaked in nitrates or something and shaped in molds... As a child I would be given them to eat cold, fresh out of their plastic package. Not often, but on occasion. It is also traditional for us to eat lentil soup with hot dogs cut up in it for Christmas Eve. We don't need the bun to know they are hot dogs.

  29. Sorry for the serial posting. But "red hots" may be closer to sausages than to hot dogs.

    Do they (red hots) have kind of a tougher casing? So they kind of explode when you bite into them?

  30. Me again. Sorry.

    I'm not sure of the German influence on or origin of American hot dogs, but my favorite way to eat hot dogs is with sauerkraut and mustard on top!

  31. Red hot is a synonym for hot dog.

  32. Hm. There may be a distinction between hot dogs. There are ball park hot dogs and then there are some very anaemic flacid things from the grocery store. The ones in the ball park (or from a vendor) might have casings, but the grocery store one's generally don't. The grocery store one's are almost square columns with tapered round ends because they fit closer and flat to each other in the package.

  33. But in either case (or no case), what I was imagining to be a "red hot" was wrong.

  34. Grilling versus barbecuing. Reading the reference to barbecue foods named after cities in Germany was confusing. In the US, you do sometimes see barbecue used to refering to grilling (quick cooking over direct heat). But that's definitely considered incorrect usage. But Wikipedia notes that British usage is different. (Barbecue is also sometimes used to refer to anything with barbecue sauce.)

  35. No need to look to Wikipedia. The BrE meaning of grill was mentioned in the very first day's work on this blog. Grill has come up a few times since then, most recently in the toast post.

  36. But that's a different topic. (Shall I spell BBQ a few more different ways to make clear that I'm talking about the word barbeque, and mentioned grilling in relation to that word only?)

  37. I was only replying to the bit that you were citing Wikipedia for (that BrE grill is different from AmE). I have a policy of trying to resist starting new topics within the comments section!

  38. I want to clarify for biochemist and johnb that in my experience, the hot dog is recognizable without a bun: it is a bland, piece of highly processed meat of uniform consistency.

    Likewise, in my experience, something does not become a hot dog just by the process of being placed in a hot dog-like bun.

    I live not far from New Braunfels Texas where they are very proud of their German heritage. Every fall they have something called Brat Fest, where they sell yummy sausages in long buns with a slit down the middle. They remain brats. Pronounced braats and short for... blanking, some german word, bratwursts?

  39. Anne - in BrE that is a Hotdog-sausage:). In my version of BrE - a hotdog needs a bun.

    I understand that for you Americans hotdog means a sausage. For us English hotdog tends to mean a sausage in its bun.

    Whilst a brat for me, is just an badly behaved child, and doesn't conjour up an image of any sort of sausage at all. Although I do know what a bratwurst is :)

  40. Actually, tomost Americans...a hot dog is not a sausage. If you laid out a spicy italian sausage, a Jimmy Dean Sausage patty, a hot dog and a fish on a table and asked an American to point out the sausages, the hot dog would most likely be left with the fish.
    Technically, yes, it is a sausage, however, it is not seen that way by most Americans.
    A Hot dog not in a bun is still a hot dog. A sausage on a bun is a sausage on a bun.

    Hot Dogs are generally served with any combonation of ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, saurkraut, chili or cheese. (there are others, but these are the most common) A Sausage on a bun is generally spicy and served with peppers and onions, possibly with mustard as well.

    The American Hot Dog culture is worthy of a post in and of itself...maybe not here...but just look up Nathan's Hot Dogs in Coney Island for a good jumping off point. (Where I grew up in central MA, there were three specialty Hot Dog restaurants within a few miles of my house.)

  41. I honestly don't see how you got that I was citing Wikipedia for grilling having different meanings in AmE verses BrE. It's an article about barbecue, and furthermore, it gives the same meaning for the word in BrE and AmE, accept for noting that in BrE it has an additional meaning. That additional BrE meaning of "grilling" has nothing to do with what I posted and isn't why I posted the link.

    I respect that you don't want to get into a new topic in the comments. I was not and am not asking you to. But it would be nice if, since you chose to reply, your replies had actually related to what I said.

  42. (Oops... sorry for the missmatched grammar in that last sentence. That's what I get for editing while I write.)

  43. I clearly offended you, Ellen. My apologies. I tend to be responding while breast-feeding a sleeping baby...sorry to not have had my eye completely on the ball.

  44. Bill - I was aware of quite a bit of that.

    There is a whole different post potentially (again not for this blog) on whether America is a country with a single outlook on things - or half a continent with 50 different outlooks on things :)

    It doesn't change the fact that from most Britons a hotdog is a sausage in a bun.

  45. Of course...not at all...

    And the answer is probably the latter...

    Just ask anyone about whether they prefer Chicago style pizza or New that is a can of worms.

  46. I used to possess a record by the American ragtime/blues guitarist Stefan Grossman. One track, a medley of instrumental tunes with a tune titled "Hot Dogs" at the beginning, started with Stefan calling out, "Hot dogs, hot dogs! Get 'em while they're red hot!", in imitation of an open-air vendor. This seems to me to suggest that Stefan -- or the
    vendor whose street-call he was imitating -- considered 'red hot' to refer to the sausages' temperature, rather than any other quality.

    It's so easy to be sneering about what other people like to eat,isn't it? Thus: 'Krauts', 'Frogs', 'Cheese-eating surrender-monkeys', 'Spaghetti westerns', 'Rosbifs', and so forth.

    Also, what one nation calls a thing is not necessarily the same as the thing in the nation of its origin. As I understand it, 'French dressing' in America is not something you'd easily find in France, nor is 'Italian sausage' necessarily anything like any sausage you'd find in Italy. Nor are pizze in either the U.K or U.S. like pizze from their original home, Naples.

    Earlier in your blog, Lynne, when one of your countrymen mocked corn and pineapple as pizza toppings (as if it matters what people like to eat, for Heaven's sake!), I pointed him via Google to recipes and restaurants in America that had just those pizza toppings. If your American family are so horrified (though there are far greater things to be horrified in
    this world) by sausages in a jar, perhaps you ought to get them to google 'wieners jar'. Such things seem not to be unknown in America.

    Isn't it funny how when talking about what we eat, academic dispassionateness flies out of the window? Consider your own comments about toast, young Lynne!

  47. Indeed, and I was totally unapologetic about my toast opinions!

    There is a bit of a difference, I think, between food and dialect 'intolerance'. People's judg(e)ments about each other's language frequently imply judg(e)ments about their intelligence and character. For instance, as we've mentioned before here, talking like a 'hick' in the US leads some people to judge you to be stupid. Talking like urban youth brings other assumptions. Food mockery, to me, seems more benign--particularly when it's clearly a matter of tastes rather than, say, economics. (I think, for instance, that judg(e)ments about people who eat squirrel are founded on different kinds of socio-economic assumptions than judg(e)ments about pizza or popcorn toppings.) I hope that any such mockery here is in the vein of friendly ribbing, rather than nasty accusation.

    That all said, I think may not have been super clear in the post that 'red hots' are not spicy. They're just hot dogs. Hence, it's strange to (sort of) name a pepperoni/jalapeño pizza after them. I think that's become more clear through the subsequent discussion...but thought I'd say it anyhow.

    (not often I get to be 'young Lynne'! Can't imagine I'll be able to carry that off much longer!)

  48. The link below will take you to some photos, if you dare to look!

  49. Anne:

    The annual celebration in New Braunfels is called Wurstfest, not Brat Fest. It always begins with "the biting of the wurst."

    In nearly two decades of stories from the San Antonio Express-News and San Antonio Light, I can't find any use of the word "brat."

    In New Braunfels, they serve various kinds of wurst, and I guess bratwurst is among them, but I don't think the word "brat" is all that common.

    Dan Puckett
    San Antonio, Texas

  50. I'm a bit late to the dance, but...

    I'm 49 and from Michigan and I have heard of the term "red hot" for "hot dog", but have never used it. I have gone to lots of baseball games, so that may be where I picked it up.

    When I was young and visiting family in North Carolina, we had hot dogs that were actually red on the outside. They were also longer and skinnier, and didn't taste anything like we were used to.

    I have not seen any red-colored hot dogs since./

  51. Dan, brat is very common in (at least parts of) the Midwest. It was what they were called when I lived in Illinois. Note (for those who don't know) that it is pronounced differently from the child kind of brat. The sausage's 'a' is more like the 'a' in father.

  52. > now that is a can of worms.

    You can worms in the States?!!!

    Even Princes Food Company (see tonil's reference above) doesn't do that! :-) :-)

  53. I completely forgot about this, but in my one trip to the UK, I actually got a fiarly standard US Hot Dog. (again, not sure if they are ACTUALLY hard to come by over there, but from some of the posts, it seems like they are)

    I was visiting Aberdeen and went to Codona's Amusement park, which looked to me to be a fairly decent replica of a US Boardwalk. (though the number of Statue of Liberty pictures was a bit much)
    One of the options for admission was ticket price plus lunch, which could be a hamburger or a hot dog, both with French Fries/Chips (though they called them French Fries. I assume to keep up the US theme.)
    I got the Hot Dog and it was just like the ones back home...of course, at this point, it never occurred to me that it might be different.

    So any Expats who can't find a good US dog, you could give them a shot.

  54. Howard,
    I was the one that you posted the pizza toppings to. (though not the pineappe part, as I love pineapple on pizza. But I did mention that corn is not a traditional American pizza topping.)
    It is true that I often will list things that I consider to be "standard" or "traditional" especially in regards to food when I post here, but it is by no means the limit of what is enjoyed on this side of the pond. We are an "inch deep and a mile wide" in regards to our food over here. While Corn/sweetcorn is not generally a traditional pizza topping here, it is by no means not to be found.
    You can also find places that serve Cicadas** on pizza...but I feel 100% certain that they are not considered traditional American fare. ;) (like worms in a can.)

    But yes, as Lynne said, the passion that is often seen when talking about food/culture preferences rarely has any actual animosity involved in it.

    I think a good example of the "Same dish different views", outside of the pizza/Hot Dog issue, is sandwiches.
    Anyone, be they Brit or Yank, will probably describe a sandwich the same way when you get down to basics, but then you find a restaurant that has over 200 different sandwiches available...
    I guess my point is sort of similar to Johnb's comment about how many differnet views on things the US has...there may be a similar view at the very very base of things, but it goes all over the place after that.

    **"Cicadas: Good Enough to Eat?" on

  55. Lynne:

    Yes, I know the word "brat" is common in the Midwest. But as a South Texan, the first time I encountered it on a menu, I giggled: It just suggested the idea of eating a spoiled child.

    My point was that around these parts, even though bratwurst is served at Wurst Fest, "brat" for the sausage is not common.

    Sorry I was unclear.

    Dan Puckett
    San Antonio, Texas

  56. Argh, it's "Wurstfest," one word.

  57. I'm w/ Stephen and Peggy--I've never heard of the "red hot" sausage. (I'm 48, if that helps; I'll ask my dad if he's ever heard it)

    I have worked on magazines that carried recipes and covered food, and we've never used that term either.

    I've read the Harry's Bar reference before, but only as an oddity, not as an indicator of wider usage (or not wider *current* usage).

    And I have never until your post heard the term "white hots."

    I grew up in Iowa and live in NYC, so I've been exposed to more than one region.

    I can find it on a Google search, but I have great skepticism for either of these as widespread usages.

    and now I'm going to have to read the packages in the grocery store!

  58. I wouldn't expect to see it on grocery store I've said before, it's an old-fashioned term.

  59. The following link probably won't last long, but it's quite relevant to this topic:

    It's from cheap UK supermarket chain Lidl. This week they're running a special on "A Taste Of America", including - you guessed it - hot dogs in a jar.

    I'm guessing somebody in Lidl's product department has never actually been Stateside to look at the hot dogs there. I'm with you on this one, Lynne, hot dogs in a jar just would not fly in the good ol' US of A.

    Though I have become a closet aficionado of macaroni [and] cheese in a can since moving to the UK...

  60. 55, from upstate NY.
    NEVER heard red hot for hot dog, only as candy.
    DID hear brat (sounds like brot) for the wurst.

  61. Hello, everyone! My name is Preston and I am an AmE speaker from Maryland who now resides in Boston. I have been reading previous posts for a while, and I love this community! Although my first post is a tad negative, I can assure you all that I’m usually a positive chap. However, it stems from an almost paternal instinct to defend Lynneguist’s comments to Ellen K. regarding grilling vs. bbq. Lynneguist, you handled the exchange with much tact, and that is laudable.

    However, Ellen K. (and please bear in mind that I like you—I’ve read some of your other posts), your snippy tone was uncalled for, especially since Lynneguist was essentially right!

    Ellen, you wrote: “Grilling versus barbecuing. Reading the reference to barbecue foods named after cities in Germany was confusing. In the US, you do sometimes see barbecue used to refering to grilling (quick cooking over direct heat). But that's definitely considered incorrect usage. But Wikipedia notes that British usage is different. (Barbecue is also sometimes used to refer to anything with barbecue sauce.).”

    Now, you bring up the topic “grilling vs. barbecuing” in a forum devoted to discussing the differences between US and UK language usage (and of course all other English-speaking places, but mainly those two). In the preceding paragraph, your first sentence highlights grilling vs. barbecuing. You go on to discuss the distinction in meaning in US usage, and then close by noting that grilling has a different meaning in the UK by linking a Wikipedia article about barbecuing where it notes that grilling in the UK often means broiling in the US.

    Lynneguist, in an effort to show connections to her site, then helpfully pointed you to an entry that discusses this very difference: grilling in the UK often refers to what in the US we would term broiling.

    You then write: “I respect that you don't want to get into a new topic in the comments. I was not and am not asking you to. But it would be nice if, since you chose to reply, your replies had actually related to what I said.”

    In the mock-serious tones of Derek from the Catherine Tate show: “How very, very dare you!” But seriously, our moderator is nice enough to provide this forum on her own time. She works with language for a living; it is in her nature to be precise with language. She was quite reasonably responding to what you said, and it was in fact germane. She graciously apologized to you, but let me stick my neck out and say that you should have reviewed your own post before assuming that she didn’t know what she was talking about!

    I don’t mind a bit of verbal sparring, but the last one to receive our ire should be Lynneguist—especially if it’s unjustified.

  62. And I meant Boston, Massachusetts, US, to avoid ambiguity!

  63. Howard

    I used to possess a record by the American ragtime/blues guitarist Stefan Grossman. One track, a medley of instrumental tunes with a tune titled "Hot Dogs" at the beginning, started with Stefan calling out, "Hot dogs, hot dogs! Get 'em while they're red hot!"

    Stefan was playing about. The tune is from the playing of Blind Lemon Jefferson — or, as credited on this record Blind Lemon Jefferson And His Feet. Throughout the record, we can hear the sound of Lemon step dancing (possibly for real). It's a guitar showcase, but he frequently calls out and he sings at the end. Near the beginning he calls These are hot dogs. I mean red hot — one of his boasts about his feet, along with My old feet failed on me then. But you ought to see them now. A rabbit wouldn't have a chance!

    Another great blues singer, Ma Rainey, recorded Those Dogs Of Mine about her feet.

    Stefan's added street cry was probably taken from somebody selling something other than hot dogs. My money is on tamales. I don't really know what they are, but the sort of blues singers that Stefan copies would quite often sing of them — most famously Robert Johnson's They're Red Hot.

  64. There are several clips of Hot Dogs on YouTube. this one is a bit hissy, but it's nicer to look at.

  65. If you search for jar sausage in Google Images, you'll find several pictures of sausages in jars. You'll even find a jar of Red Hots.

    It's not really such a strange idea. The mass popular taste in Britain (and, I think, in Ireland) is for the sort of sausages that butchers have always made (and many still do) out of raw pork and bread rusk. Preservatives and refrigeration have allowed for this type of sausage to be factory-made, distributed, to retailers and kept for a while on refrigerated shelves. Even so, the sausages must be products that can be sold really quickly before they perish.

    (Thanks to that technology, it's now economic to use meats other than pork or beef, and to add non-traditional ingredients. But the changes are relatively trivial, because that's what the mass market wants.)

    Until recently, it was uneconomic for processors to manufacture — and for retailers to stock — German-type sausages because they could only sell slowly to a small minority market. One solution was to import sausages preserved in brine.

    Recent technology has changed all this. Frankfurter, bockwurst and even bratwurst are now manufactured in Germany and vacuum-packed in stout plastic. Supermarkets display them along with packs of slice ham and other meat products with a decent shelf life. The market for them is still small, but the more available the sausages are, the more the market expands.

    When I was a little boy in the late 40's and early 50's, hot dogs were like toffee apples and candy floss — indulgences that you could only enjoy at places where the normal rules of eating were suspended: fairgrounds and the seaside.


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AmE = American English
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OED = Oxford English Dictionary (online)