Questionable Tribune hot dog recipes over the years

Although the Chicago-style hot dog is arguably the best hot dog in the country, for most of the 20th century, Tribune reporters and recipe writers mostly acted deeply embarrassed by the dish.

“Americans in general and housewives in particular are failing in their duty to the hot dog,” begins a July 6, 1961, article by Thomas Wolfsmith. He then quotes a German chef, Otto Schuetz, who explains that Americans “bury” hot dogs in “inelegant” buns, unlike Europeans who serve them as a delicacy.

Schuetz recommended serving a dish that combines asparagus, apples, mushrooms, sliced ​​hot dogs and French dressing. Wolfsmith concluded, “So the hot dog earns a place in ‘haute cuisine’, instead of just languishing under mustard, relish, chopped onion and a bun.”

By the mid-20th century, French cuisine was routinely considered finer and downright better than what most Chicago restaurants were serving. This explains an article from March 30, 1960, titled “A Magnificent Hot Dog? This one, prepared à la française, is by Mary Meade. She wrote that Chef John Bandera of the Sheraton-Blackstone Hotel created a frankfurter bourguignonne “in honor of a century-old Chicago company whose founder, David Berg, helped bring the hot dog in America”. The recipe, evoking the name of a French beef stew braised in red wine, included eight frankfurters slathered in a sauce made with butter, shallots, garlic, brown sauce and 3 cups of red wine. .

Tribune writer Mary Meade has also created her own hot dog recipes over the years, though she almost always read like she was gritting her teeth while making it. A June 25, 1943 article by Mary Meade begins: “‘Reds’ slathered in mustard and piccalilli are fine dishes for picnics and ball games, but have you considered the possibilities of frankfurters in your everyday meals? She then goes on to give a recipe for frankfurters with fried rice and tomatoes.

More than 20 years later, Meade didn’t think much of the hot dog. In an article from June 9, 1966, she begins with this posed: “A red snapper is a delicate and delicious fish. It tells you ‘gourmet’ when you think about preparing it. That’s not what a sausage says! Then you can find a recipe called Barbecued Southern Pups, where she recommended covering the sausages in chili sauce, wrapping them in cornmeal batter, and then cooking them.

Not to blame Meade, but she spent an inordinate amount of time finding ways not to use hot dog buns. On June 3, 1958, Meade suggested making “frankfurts in tomato rolls.” “The francs are wrapped in yeast dough – there are seasonings of onion juice, cheese, parsley and tomato juice. Doesn’t that look delicious? On May 30, 1960, she gave away a Ring-a-Rosy hot dog recipe made by “making hot dogs like hamburgers”, so they could fit on round buns. To be fair, the April 2, 1971 recipe for Frankfurter Sausage and Sauerkraut Skillet sounds like something I would enjoy.

(While she certainly had her fair share of dodgy hot dog recipes, there’s an explanation for her mercurial takes on hot dogs. Turns out Mary Meade wasn’t a real name. Instead, the pseudonym was used by a succession of female writers, a common practice in newspapers at the time.)

But it’s still hard to imagine enjoying Meade’s Supper Salad Bowl on June 25, 1943, which combined hot dogs with French dressing, green pepper, cottage cheese, shredded raw turnip, raw carrot, mayonnaise, lettuce and coleslaw.

I’m also not sure you could pay me to try a “Frankfurters Supper” (from May 15, 1964), which combines a pound of hot dogs with scallions, chopped green pepper, beans of Lima, tomato sauce and a whole cup of sour cream. I’d probably also skip over the “francs in sour cream sauce,” which is found in a July 19, 1957 article by Doris Schacht.

Male recipe writers didn’t fare much better. In a recipe column genuinely titled “For Men Only!”, not to be confused with one titled “Wife’s night out,” Morrison Wood called for making Creole frankfurters. The designation is charitably a stretch; I guess it got that name because of the pinch of cayenne pepper and Tabasco.

Even readers got in on the dodgy hot dog action. On July 2, 1958, a reader sent in a recipe for Hot Dog Surprises, which combined a pound of “Frankfurters, finely chopped” with shredded sharp cheese, grated hard-boiled eggs, chili sauce, pickle relish , mustard and garlic salt. This mixture was spread on a foil-lined baking sheet and topped with halved buns.

Thankfully, by the 1980s, writers and readers finally seemed to realize that Chicago’s best hot dog dish was staring them in the face all the time.

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Try the recipes yourself:

by Mary Meade, March 30, 1960


8 frankfurters

2 tablespoons Butter

3 teaspoons shallots, onions or chives, chopped

½ teaspoon chopped garlic

3 cups Bordeaux or Bordeaux wine

24 cooked pearl onions

½ pound whole button mushrooms (fresh)

2 cups brown sauce

24 small potato dumplings, browned in deep fat


1. Cut the frankfurters in thirds and sauté in the butter for about 5 minutes. Remove the meat and add the shallots and garlic to the fat. Let simmer for 2 or 3 minutes.

2. Add wine and simmer to reduce the liquid to 1 cup, which will take about 8 minutes. Add onions, mushrooms and sauce.

3. Coverage and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Add cooked potatoes and frankfurters and serve over fluffy wild rice.

Makes four servings.

by Mary Meade, June 25, 1943


½ pound frankfurters

½ cup French dressing

¼ cup chopped green chilli

1 cup cottage cheese

1 cup grated raw turnip

1 cup grated raw carrot

Mayonnaise and lettuce



1. Simmer frankfurters in water for 5 minutes and let cool.

2. Slice frankfurters and cover with French dressing. Leave to rest in the fridge for half an hour.

3. Combine green pepper and cottage cheese.

4. Combine grated turnip and carrot; drizzle with mayonnaise.

5. Organize lettuce in a salad bowl. In separate lettuce cups, arrange the frankfurters, cottage cheese, grated carrot and turnip, and coleslaw. Serve with mayonnaise.

Makes 4-6 servings.

by Mary Meade, June 9, 1966


ten sausages

¼ cup Butter

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

1 tbsp chopped onion

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ cup chili sauce

Corn flour dough:

¾ cup plain flour

¼ cup cornmeal

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup lard


1. Do cornmeal batter first. Sift together flour, cornmeal and salt. Cut the lard and add just enough water to moisten, about 3-4 tbsp.

2. Turn on a lightly floured surface and roll out to about ⅛ inch thick. Cut into five 5 inch squares.

3. Melt butter for the sauce and add the dry mustard, onion, lemon juice, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and chili sauce. Simmer 15 minutes.

4. Cut sausages lengthwise, almost to the ends, but not completely. Place two sausages diagonally on each square of cornmeal. Spoon a tablespoon of barbecue sauce into each. Fold the corners of the dough over the sausages, moisten the corners and press together.

5. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 12 minutes at 425 degrees.

Makes 5 servings.

Other items mentioned:

“The German Chef and Hot Dogs Go Together” by Thomas Wolfsmith, July 6, 1961.

“New Ways to Fix the Franks: You’ll Consume Much” by Mary Meade, June 3, 1958.

“Ring-a-Rosy Hot Dogs” by Mary Meade, May 30, 1960.

To eat.  Look.  Do.

To eat. Look. Do.


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“Menus for a Week of Mary Meade’s Kitchen” by Mary Meade, April 2, 1971.

“Processed meats are easy to respect: many tasty ways to use them too” by Mary Meade, May 15, 1964.

“Frankfurt Stewards May Be Dressed for Business” by Doris Schacht, July 19, 1957.

“For men only!” Frankfurt hoop earrings have at least one way of getting guests to sit down and shout “Hot Dog!” by Morrison Wood, October 4, 1947.

“Favorite $5 For Your Picnic” by Bob McBridge, July 2, 1958.

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