Okay. It’s not really new, but I’ve just learned how OLD it actually is, and I’m wondering: If I’m actually old, too, why have I missed this fad before? Seems it’s been lingering the background for decades. But if that’s so, it appears to be getting a new round of attention from the food ‘influencers’…
First, I admit to being greatly surprised by the number and variety of PB Hot Dog ‘recipes’ I found on the Net, just by Googling ‘Hot Dogs with Peanut Butter’. Some are decades old! Taking a step back for a moment, I only Googled the phenomenon because of a relatively new TV commercial for Oscar Meyer Hot Dogs in which a pre-schooler apparently brings out the PB jar on her own to adorn her dinnertime Dog. Her young (20-something) parents are amazed at her oddball creativity and ask where she heard about that.
It doesn’t really matter where. What does matter is that a new generation of young parents has apparently fallen for an old food twist they are too young to have caught the last time it came ’round. Fortunately, it’s coming ’round again.
(Above: Hot Dogs with Peanut Butter, Red Onions, Bacon, and Grated Cheddar Cheese. Wow! Double Cheese on mine, please! ~ Maggie J.)
Why does the PBHD come round in cycles?
Question: If PB is so good with HDs, why does this apparently ancient combo come ’round in popularity cycles, rather than having arrived and stayed on Fast Food menus like Chili Dogs or Pogos, or other HD conventions? The facts are clear: the concept has been circulating since at least the 1960s.
I think it’s partly because kids’ attention spans are so short that they lose interest before their elders even get used to the notion. And there aren’t enough adults out there (who customarily control what is and isn’t done at millions and millions of lunch and supper tables) who take one look at, or expend one cautious thought about the concept of PBHDs before passing it by as a crackpot idea. Their loss for not having pursued it! More on that in a moment.
I was intrigued to hear about the experience of a Fast Food Blogger who tried out the PBHD on her colleagues at the office and discovered that, while the majority of them pooh-poohed the notion at first mention, many became converts after being coerced to try it while their co-workers looked on with prurient curiosity.
I wonder why the idea of the PBHD fades back into the background of the Fast Food world as fast as it appeared, as the ‘fad’ passes away again, every cycle. I’ve come to the conclusion that Curry is just not as big a thing in North America, especially in the context of Fast and Street Food, as it is in, say, the UK, where Curries have become a mainstay of what they call ‘takeaways’. Not enough presence of mind among consumers in NA. No staying power.
A natural partner for Paprika?
I have another theory: ‘Peanut’ is a flavour that has a natural affinity for the flavours of the traditional HD: Salt, Garlic and Paprika. And that takes taste testers by pleasant surprise when they audition the combo. But the idea has never really gained sufficient traction to ‘stick’ to HDs the way other, traditional condiments have.
Likewise, HDs aren’t natural flavour partners with the other spices that go into traditional Curry Masalas. And HDs – sausages of any kind, in fact – have never been terribly popular in Asia, the traditional home of Curry.
Whether it has come round to stay this time (or more likely not), have some fun with the notion of PB and HDs. Another idea to help break up the monotony of day-after-day and week-after-week of the same old ‘family faves’ that have somehow ensconced themselves in many families’ COVID-19 lock down routines.
Next time, maybe we’ll take a look at another unlikely mash-up that folks seem to love at first bite, but never really catches on strongly enough to make it to the Fast Food joints’ permanent menus when it comes ’round. Yes – even with the all-out endorsement the immortal Elvis Presley – PB, Grape Jelly and Bacon has never really earned the acclaim that I, among others, believe it should enjoy…
~ Maggie J.