Learn English – American food, the hot dog!

Just what is American food?  In this video, Maria explains the melting pot concept of cultures to talk about influences on the American hotdog. Then she focuses on one particular place in Montgomery, Alabama that is famous for its hotdogs.

57 Hot Dogs – 6 Dec 2019

Hey, there. Do you like American food? Just what is American food?  Today I’m talking about hot dogs. So, sit back, relax, listen, and just try to understand as much as you can.

(Intro: English without Fear, where you can learn to speak English naturally through listening to stories.)

Yes, how do we describe American food? America is such a big country with lots and lots of different cultures. First, let’s describe, let’s explain, let’s talk about two facts. 

Number one – so many different people groups have come to America and brought their own distinct, separate, special way of eating, special way of cooking. We call that their ‘cuisine’. So, we have Chinese food, we have Italian food, we have Moroccan food, we have Peruvian food in America. 

The food has come with the people and the culture that they brought with them from their home country. And so, in America you can get the separate kinds of food, which is wonderful. 

The second fact is when you have all these different cultures rubbing shoulders together, influencing each other, that changes food. There’s an expression that goes like this. People say ‘America is a melting pot’. And what that means is –  distinctions. Differences sometimes disappear a bit. And that can happen with food. So, Mexican food that has been influenced by Americans can be called ‘Tex Mex’ food. So, it’s not authentically Mexican, but it has the American influence. But you can still find authentic, real traditional Mexican food in America. 

So, we have both kinds. We have the blended melting pot kind of cuisine and we have the different, cultural cuisines.

So, today’s food I want to talk to you about is the American hot dog. And the hot dog, um, came from German culture and Polish culture. They like sausage, pork sausages. And they brought over their sausages and how they make them to America.

But being in America and being with other cultures, (a lot of beef gets eaten,) all sorts of things happened and the American hot dog was changed. So, not so much the meat perhaps because there is a type of ‘Frankfurter’, type of sausage from the German city of Frankfurt, which is thin and like our hotdogs. But what Americans have added are sauces. And since I live in Alabama – today, I want to tell you about a particular restaurant here in Alabama. It’s called Chris’s Hot Dogs and it can be found in the state Capitol of Montgomery. 

Well, what is Chris’s Hot Dogs and why are they famous?

As you can see from the logo, there was a man named Chris and he started selling hot dogs at a little hot dog stand. Nothing fancy, in 1917,102 years ago. 

He was from Greece. So, his family was Greek and he started serving hot dogs and making a special sauce. And Chris’s hot dogs became well known. He then moved into what we call a storefront – so, a building with seats and counters and tables. Nothing fancy but good hot dogs with his special special sauce. 

Today, 102 years later, Theo, his son, makes the special sauce every single morning. And people come from all over to Chris’s hot dog restaurant. They say that Elvis Presley, the singer, was in town, was in Montgomery performing, playing music and singing with his band. And at the end of the show he asked a security guard, “Hey, where can I and my band and the men helping, the crew, where can we go get something to eat?”

And the security guard said,”Just down the street, try Chris’s. It’s great.” And he went there. 

But Elvis Presley is not the only famous person to eat at Chris’s. There have been presidents of the United States, governors, other movie stars, other singers, have enjoyed Chris’s hot dogs.

Do they only serve hot dogs? No, you can get hamburgers and chicken tenders, which are pieces of chicken, fried. You can get chicken salad, you can get French fries, but the hot dogs are famous. The sauce is made every day. The sauerkraut, you can have a hot dog with sauerkraut and onions there, it’s made fresh. The onions are cut fresh every day. The buns are heated warm.

And the good news, besides these hot dogs tasting wonderfully, fantastically, is you can get a hot dog with ‘old man’ Chris’s secret sauce for only two dollars and ninety-seven cents ($2.97). Now that’s a bargain! 

Well, what about you? What is your favorite kind of food? Hard for me to say. Sometimes I like a good steak…. I love French cuisine…..I love Middle Eastern cuisine. I like variety. So, let me know what you like best. Leave me a comment below this video, and if you would like the transcript, the written words for today’s episode, just go to www.Englishwithoutfear.com and you’ll find the transcripts there. Well, that’s it for this episode. Talk to you next time.

(outro: Thanks for watching. For questions or comments. Here’s my mail.)



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