Food For Thought

Why Do they call it a corn dog?

There it is – that sweet and savory smell wafting through the air, bringing back childhood memories of sports games and summertime visits to the state fair. The corn dog is a beloved American tradition enjoyed at arenas, fairgrounds, street vendor carts and any place where fun is on the agenda. There is even an annual National Corndog Day celebration on the first Saturday during March Madness, the NCAA men’s basketball championship.

Why do they call it a corn dog? This curious and tasty snack gets its name from its simple yet brilliant design: a hot dog fitted onto a wooden stick, coated with a thick layer of sweetened cornmeal batter and fried until golden brown. Delicious. They come in different varieties, such as chicken and pork, beef, and cheese-filled. You can find them in your local grocery store’s frozen section, so you can cook up some fun in a jiffy right at home. Corn dogs are great for parties, quick family meals and snacks any time of day. They can be served all kinds of ways, topped with any condiments you like, but the most popular topping is mustard.

The origins of the corn dog are a bit controversial. Some say that Germans who immigrated to Texas in the 1800s invented them to make their German sausages into a unique American creation. Others say that at the Texas State Fair in the late 1930s or early 1940s, Carl and Neil Fletcher debuted their special “Corny Dogs” to the amazement of the crowd. Other sources say that vendors at the 1941 Minnesota State Fair introduced a kind of corn dog called “Pronto Pups.” A handful of others have laid claim to the delectable creation as well. Whoever invented it, the corn dog has grown to be a favorite treat all over the country.

The United States isn’t the only country that enjoys a good corn-dog-like snack. Australians enjoy hot dogs deep fried in batter made with corn or wheat, and they call them by a few different names. Depending on what part of Australia you’re in, you may find a pluto pup, dippy dog or dagwood dog. In Argentina, panchukers or panchuques are sold as street fare. They have a sausage core and a waffle dough outside, they’re fried and served with sauces or cheese, and they’re also propped up on a stick for convenience. The Canadian version of a corn dog, called a pogo, is very similar to the American version, and Canadians love to eat mustard with their pogos, too. Variations of the corn dog are found even as far as Asia. Japanese people enjoy a batter made with wheat on their dogs, and South Koreans love their kogos, which are hot dogs coated with fried potato bits. It’s enough to make anyone want to take a corn dog tour of the world.

Corn dogs are a fantastic accompaniment for enjoying a ball game, spending afternoons with friends, having quality family time or just savoring the moment for yourself. Make sweet and scrumptious corn dogs your next fun and memorable meal.