If, like me, you are a little uneducated about hot dog cuisine, you could be forgiven for thinking that a hot dog is just a hot dog. If that’s the case, then you need to read Haute Dogs and your relationship with hot dogs will never be the same again!
This book,written by Russell Van Kraayenburg, has to be one of the most comprehensive books I’ve seen on just one type of food. Taking you on a journey through the history of the hot dog, to how they are made and the different methods of cooking, he whets your appetite before you even begin to dig your way through the recipes!
There is such an eclectic mix here that it would be hard not to find a little something for everyone. Sections include:
- American Classics – starting out with your Plain Jane (beef and pork dog, served with mustard) to the famous Coney Island Dog (beef dog topped with Coney Island sauce, yellow mustard and onions) to the traditional American corn dog (battered beef hot dog on a stick with ketchup and mustard). These classics will have your dog knowledge up-to-date in no time!
- Modern American Dogs – from the Texas BBQ Dog (beef sausage, pulled pork, baked beans and Texas BBQ sauce) to the Wasabi Dog (beef dog, katsu sauce, wasabi mayo, sliced nori and katsuobushi or bonito flakes) to the Danger Dog (Beef and pork dog, bacon, chilli and onions) these recipes combine traditional American elements with newer popular ingredients to create something a little different. There are also some great vegan recipes in this section, check out page 79 (we want an Autumn Dog – butternut squash, sweet potato, maple syrup and spices)
- South and Central American dogs – moving further down the borders, these dogs all have Latin influenced flavours. To celebrate the World Cup this month, why not try one of the Brazilian gems, like the Campinas Dog (mashed potatoes, sweetcorn, peas, 2 beef sausages, mayo, ketchup, mustard, cheddar cheese, pico de gallo and shoestring potatoes) – not sure you can get much more in a bun! Although we are big fans of El Completo from Chile (beef and pork dog, sauerkraut, avocado, tomatoes and mayo) for a little something outside the box.
- European, African and Asian dogs – it’s very hard for us to keep up with the delights heading over from America, but the rest of us further East have a go at making dogs our own, with some pretty interesting results. There’s the classic French Baguette Dog (do you really need an explanation for that?), Authentic Bratwurst from Germany (this one is all about having the right sausage) or for a bit more or a flavour punch, how about the Spicy Thai Dog (Chili nam chim on top of a beef and pork dog) or the Chutney Dog from India (mango chutney, onions, tamarind paste and a chicken hot dog)?
The book then goes on to cover off hot dog ingredients and how to make most of them from scratch. This includes buns and batters, condiments, sauces and toppings and even how to make dogs themselves from scratch.
What do we think?
I was a bit sceptical when I was asked to review a book all about hot dogs, I mean seriously? But this book is seriously awesome! It’s not just that it encourages you to experiment with your hot dog style (with perfect timing for the summer BBQ season), but more so that it is brilliantly styled to deliver culture. It’s the little things about this book that really set it out and that help it to feel like some real heart and soul went into it. For example the little blurb on each page telling you the origin, other names for this type of dog and a bit of its back story. Also the box-outs that suggest extra little twists to help you find the exact combination you like, rather than just assuming one way is the right way. This book doesn’t look down on you, it’s your friend and wants you to enjoy hot dogs as much as it does!
So … where can I get it?
Haute dogs is published by Quirk Books.
Available from Amazon