The history of an American staple: the hot dog

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Millions of Americans are going to biting into hot dogs this Fourth of July, but the top dog of holiday food hasn’t always been number one.

Let’s take a look at the humble history of this stuffed sausage.

Nathan’s Famous hotdogs was started by a Polish-Jewish immigrant named Handwerker on Coney Island in 1916. Handwerker came to the US with no English skills and no money.

The frankfurter was brought to the US by Polish immigrants just like Nathan in the 1800s. The sausage didn’t become an American icon until Nathan dropped his prices to just 5 cents a dog. This cheap price had customers literally fill the boardwalk, all anxious to feed their family for less than a quarter.

Over time, the frankfurter became a staple of cookouts, sports games, and the 4th of July tradition of Nathan’s hotdog eating contest.

100 years after Nathan’s started, it’s still an icon of Americana and a symbol of patriotic celebrations.

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