I can't remember my first hot dog. Growing up in Philadelphia, I somehow became aware that they were called Shibe Park hot dogs (after the city's baseball stadium) and were a plain wienie topped with a bit of mustard. I also learned from my father that they were made from meat scraps from the floor after an animal had been butchered.
However, since I never attended a baseball game, and I am sure my mother shared my father's prejudice against this delightful concoction, my own sampling must have taken place when I had reached an age where I was free of parental restraint.
About 12 years ago I became an addict. In Naples, Fla., every Sunday afternoon there was a free band concert, and adjacent to the park sat a mobile hot dog stand. It dispensed soft drinks, freshly popped corn, soft ice cream and the most delicious hot dogs in steamed buns (add your own mustard or relish). Riches running riot!
Upon returning to Charleston, I went in search of a similar treat and found that the West Virginia hot dog is topped with chili, coleslaw and onions, and that hot dogs were not readily available in our fast-food outlets.
One source, for countless years, had been Chris's on West Washington Street. It was frequented by businessmen.
Today things are different. There are hot dogs everywhere with imaginative names and a vast selection of toppings. For example, Hillbilly Hot Dogs, in Huntington, lists 26.
I am happy to say that I have at last found the perfect West Virginia hot dog in a steamed bun topped with chili and slaw. It is right here in the Court Yard Café of my retirement community, Edgewood Summit.
Dorothy Wehrle Dixon, of Charleston, may be contacted at dwdi...@suddenlinknet.