Indeed, ketchup on a hot dog is a major cop-out. It’s a shortcut to flavor, a lazy attempt to make a dog palatable. A properly made hot dog should not rely on ketchup to rescue it from mediocrity. When you opt for ketchup, you abandon the artistry of the food and choose the easy way out.
A well-constructed hot dog is a balanced blend of textures, from the snappy casing and succulent interior to the crunch of toppings and tenderness of the split bun. Ketchup, with its liquid consistency, disrupts this artful uniformity. It can quickly turn the bun into a soggy mess and reduce the dog to a sad, limp creation. A hot dog should be a sensory delight, not a mushy disappointment.
But the anti-ketchup-on-hot-dogs argument goes far beyond taste and texture; it delves into upholding cultural significance. Hot dogs are an integral part of our nation’s customs, from summertime backyard barbecues to baseball games. They represent togetherness and evoke nostalgia. When you squirt the tomato-centric condiment along the dog’s surface, then you, in a way, betray heritage, making a mess of its proud cultural status. You disregard the rich history and traditions associated with hot dogs — after all, it’s mustard that’s used most commonly on German sausages, from which the humble hot dog finds its roots — and replace those customs with a mundane condiment that lacks depth and character.