That Old Time “Hot Dog” Religion

Revelation is not necessarily the word I’m looking for.

But I can’t shake the possibility that if God does indeed watch over my home state of West Virginia, then the uncomfortable truth revealed to me this week really was divine.

In any case, whether it was gospel or not, I see now that I’ve got a problem that only I can solve.

Lord knows I can’t count on my wife. She is ambivalent when it come to hot dogs.

While she can take them or leave them, I find them irresistible. And so does our son. He’s the type of kid whose stomach is just not satisfied unless it’s stuffed with something that’s been slaughtered rather than picked.

My epiphany came on Wednesday, National Hot Dog Day. To celebrate, I treated my 15-year-old carnivore to a hot dog lunch. That’s no mean feat since we live in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle, an area that seems devoid of any decent hot dog joints. I had to settle for stopping by a Sheetz convenience store.

Before you recoil in horror, it’s not like we plucked a dried-out dog from one of those self-serve contraptions lesser convenience stores keep on the counter – the ones in which hot dogs slowly rotate along stainless steel rollers. Our dogs were delivered to us through the use of superior technology – we ordered them from a touch screen. Then we watched as they were prepared and presented to us wrapped in foil to keep them warm.

As we left the store with our prize, I asked our son if he had ordered a West Virginia Hot Dog.

“That’s a thing?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “That’s a thing.”

To prove it, when we got home I sent him a link to the West Virginia Hot Dog Blog, specifically the page that describes the home state creation in loving detail.

You can click here for it, but the short version goes like this:  West Virginia Hot Dog lore says they were created during the Great Depression outside my hometown of Charleston, the state capitol. It’s toppings include a beanless chili sauce, mustard and chopped onions with the essential topping being slaw.

At the risk of alienating myself, I rarely order one. I’m not a big fan of slaw. But at least I know there is such a thing as a West Virginia Hot Dog.

Our son did not.

And the kicker here is, he loves slaw. So it stands to reason that he’d love it on a hot dog.

But he has never experienced the combination.

While the heavens didn’t open up and strike me with divine lightning, I realized after our hot dog lunch on Wednesday that somewhere along the line, I had failed to fully instruct our son in the finer points of West Virginia cuisine.

He knows about pepperoni rolls and when we are back in Charleston, I treat him to an artery hardening Tudor’s biscuit. But I have failed him where hot dogs are concerned.

I know now what I have to do.

I’m going to have to take our son on a pilgrimage to Hinton, the southern West Virginia town where the clouds part and the angels smile upon the legendary Dairy Queen – the one where you can sit down to the hot dog meal of your choice while taking in a spectacular view of the New River.

I hear the dogs there are not as good as they used to be. But I suspect places like the Hinton DQ have trouble measuring up to warm memories.

Besides, whether they are any good or not, I can’t think of a better place for us to have a come to Jesus meeting.


7 thoughts on “That Old Time “Hot Dog” Religion

  1. I’m in the eastern panhandle as well and haven’t found anywhere that serves spectacular dogs other than my back porch grill (I’m pretty confident that my wife and I make the best dogs available anywhere.) Sheetz dogs are tolerable in a pinch but best with ketchup and relish. If you head south again, Sam’s Hotdogs are always a great option. If you happen by the small town of Oak Hill (between Fayetteville and Beckley on 19), look for Tom’s on Jones Avenue. They are excellent as well.

    1. Hi Duncan, thanks for stopping by. I used to have Sam’s dogs for lunch all the time when I was working in downtown Charleston. Those days are long past. The panhandle sorely needs a good hot dog joint!

      1. Tempting but if your “back porch” dogs are as good as you say it’d be easier on my wallet if I just show up at your house when I get a craving! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s