Sunday, February 18, 2007

WVHDs and Academia

A particular professor at Marshall University knows that the way to a student's brain is through his or her stomach. He has given students in his course on "
Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling" The following extra credit opportunity. From the syllabus, we read:

Bonus Opportunity: Many cultural differences are subtle: differences in custom, ritual and practice can occur even in small geographical areas, among groups that are otherwise very similar. West Virginia is a great example of an area where the population shares broad commonalities (in race, ethnicity, religious faith and customs and education, for example) while having very subtle—yet important—differences in language and lifestyle.
One example of this difference is how WV views the hot dog. How the hot dog is perceived as a meal and the language that is used to describe the condiments put on it are unique to the area, and may be very different according to which region of the state the hot dog is made. Those differences may well be the result of economics, heritage and familial customs or rural isolation.
Or, they may simply be because that’s how people like a good hot dog!
35 bonus points will be awarded for a three-page, typed essay on the topic:
The West Virginia Hot Dog: Regional Differences, and Why They Exist

He also promised the students additional bonus points if they could convince me to publish the essay, in full or an excerpt, on this blog. So, with that long introduction, I present to you portions of the first such essay I have received, from Donna G. Christian:

The hot dog is known to many West Virginians as a quick inexpensive meal. For others it is equivalent to a steak. If given a choice between a hot dog and a steak, many choose hot dog. Why is it this way? I will give some thoughts and history on the hot dog that might explain the why.

The reason I think hot dogs mean different things in different counties of West Virginia has a lot to do with economics, family customs and rural isolation. But most importantly they just taste good. Some say hot dogs are an everyday event while others have hot dog on special occasions. The reason there is a difference in chili sauce and sauce is what each county traditionally became accustom too. Generation after generation has served their idea of what should or should not go on the hot dog, and it has carried over with each generation in every county.
As one gets older usually their taste buds change. But most everyone still loves a hot dog and is nostalgic when eating one. In my case it reminds me of being young, having lots of friends and family over. This is what I reminiscence about when I eat my first hot dog of the season. There is nothing like a hot dog when spring first comes. Today I could buy steak, but my family and I love the taste and the feeling we get while eating a hot dog. Normally speaking we eat more hot dogs than steak.
I, for one, am very glad that the most important issues of life in West Virginia are finally being addressed by our state's higher eduction system. Kudos, Professor!


larryosaurus said...

What the hell...?!? I gotta get back in school :^)

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clear eyes said...

WOW! Where have academic and intellectual curiosity gone? I see personal opinion, pure conjecture and a reiteration of the professor's propositions from the syllabus. Are you sure this isn't from a journalism class?

The Film Geek said...
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