"¢ New Yorkers may consume more hot dogs than other Americans, but ballpark goers will eat enough at major league ballparks this year to stretch to and from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., the two sites of the 2008 World Series.

"¢ But what exactly is a hot dog? References to sausage go back as far as Homer, and it is likely that the frankfurter was the grandfather of the eventual "weiner" dog (possibly named after Vienna - Wein - Austria from whence it came). However, others suggest that the term might have come from "dachshund sausage," "dog wagons," (that delivered the fares to college students) or even from street vendors hawking them from portable hot water tanks.

"¢ In any case, the hot dog as we know it first appeared in ballparks 1893, and they have remained popular ever since. Humphrey Bogart once said, "A hot dog at the ballpark is better than a steak at the Ritz."

"¢ Pre-Kobayshi, the record for hot dogs consumed in 12 minutes was 25. Kobayshi - at the time, 23 years old and weighing in at 131 pounds - consumed 50 hot dogs in the same amount of time.

"¢ One must be careful when consuming hot dogs at any speed, however. One way to prevent choking is with the Octodog. (If that didn't weird you out enough, here's another picture). Also, criminals beware! A convenience store thief once choked on a heisted hot dog, and required the Heimlich (and of course ... was caught).

"¢ How do you say "hot dog" in Latin? Pastillum botello fartum. No, not a joke. The Vatican issued a dictionary of new Latin terms for words for which there was no equivalent, The Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis. Consider it Latin's way of keeping it real with the kids (but "fartum"? really?)

"¢ Hot dog stands are, in some parts of the country, as ubiquitous as taxi cabs or Starbucks. But real estate doesn't come cheap to these vendors - for one hot dog stand in NYC near the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the monthly price is $53,558. The cart was (to no surprise?) eventually evicted.

"¢ Finally, hot dogs are even good enough for a Queen: In 1939, the King and Queen of England were served hot dogs by the Roosevelts: a sampling was served on a silver tray. However, the royal guests nevertheless joined everyone else in eating off paper plates.

"¢ Although I only enjoy the soy variety myself (Loma Lindas!), I love hot dogs. What do you guys like to dress your dogs with? My new favorite condiment: Wickles!

Hungry for more? Venture into the Dietribes archive.

"˜Dietribes' appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.