Friday, February 23, 2007

Hope for the Future?

Our Fairmont Weenie Wonk, Kevin, has stumbled upon two different of HDJs in his area that offer slaw as an easy option. This is significant news because he's not been seeking out HJs that are out of phase with Marion County norms. No, this is a random sampling of Fairmont area HDJs, and while he's not found any that have slaw as a standard topping, it's a start.

If the anecdotes are correct, slaw as a hot dog topping began in the 1920's near Charleston. By 1960 all southern West Virginia HDJs were putting slaw on their hot dogs. Forty years later slaw is at least optional on hot dogs in 47 of our 55 counties. That is remarkable growth by any measure. It also reasonably predicts the certainty of an eventual statewide slaw coup.

The exception might be the panhandle counties. The Northern panhandle is a lost cause, and frankly a loss that the rest of us aren't terribly concerned about. Except for Cabela's, most West Virginian's really don't give much thought to what happens north of the Mason-Dixon line. And the Morgan, Berkley and Jefferson tri-county area might as well be its own soverignty, and probably could be with the incredible amount of tax dollars it gets from all the rich DC folks that have flocked to the area in the past ten years. With this population has come a complete corruption of any trace of West Virginia food culture that might have existed there before the exodus.

But with the panhandles excepted, the recent cracks in the Marion County anti-slaw armor identified by Kevin have given me hope that I very well might see a unified state hot dog culture in my lifetime.

As the slaw line drifts slowly north, though, I'm sad to note that the "grits line" is moving rapidly to the south. It used to be that if you stopped for breakfast along I77 anywhere south of Princeton you got grits on your plate whether or not you ordered them. Over the years I've heard reports that you now pretty much have to go well into North Carolina before you can be sure to get grits. The line is also reportedly shrinking to the north from Florida into Georgia. There are rural pockets where grits still happen, but in more populous areas grits are not standard equipment anymore. Who would have ever dreamed of a gritless south? Food trends come and go with migration, the influence of pop culture and a whole host of other factors. The times they are a changin'.

But changing for the better in West Virginia. Someday, hopefully soon, we may be able to go to Morgantown for a game and actually have a decent hotdog with slaw! Can you imagine? Or walking into Yann's and ordering a hot dog with slaw without the threat of being tossed off the bridge? Be still my heart!

I have a dream. When one day little girls from Charleston and little boys from Fairmont can meet for a hot dog in Huntington and get really good slaw on a hot dog! I see a future where "sauce" and "chili" are used interchangebly without any prejudice, and that whatever it is called it will be dark brown and spicy and not contain a trace of beans or bean paste. In that time there will be no ketchup on hot dogs, no stale buns, no waterlogged weenies! There will only be glorious manefestations of God's goodness, wrapped in wax paper and sold for a dollar a piece! Tubular manna, prepared with love. That is my dream.

Say "Amen!" somebody!


Unknown said...

I just found your blog, I had no idea there was a "West Virgina" dog! Have a look at the site I run,!

I may need to expand my product offering to include a WV Dog!


Stanton said...

David, your site is awesome! Very innovative and well executed. You definitely need to offer a WVHD as an upgrade, but I'm not sure how the slaw will stand the USPS trip.

Unknown said...

Thanks, and I appreciate the testimonial too!

Hmm I'll have to try mailing a WV Dog to myself to see how the slaw survives!

Mind if I link to you?


Christopher Scott Jones said...

I see that you warn people not to actually eat the dgos. This goes double for WV dogs. slaw being left out of the cooler at pic-nics have been known to wipe out entire church congregations here.

wallybarron said...

I'll trade slaw for grits anytime.