Friday, May 15, 2009

The Proper Way To Put Chili And Cheese On A Hot Dog: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

There is nothing on Earth like a chili cheese dog. Seriously, it's the world's most perfect food. You know the phrase, "You can't improve on nature?" What a crock of $#*&^$@. A chili cheese dog: Beautiful. Delicate. Processed. :-)

When I was a wee little Nevdogg of 7, my dad took me to our good friends at Hot Dog Factory in Northridge and showed me one of the rights of passage that every man should lead his son down: The proper way to put chili and cheese on a hot dog. He was patient with me, his larger hand guiding mine as we put the toppings on the right way, like his father did before him and like I'll do with my own son one day. Like religious tablets being passed down through the generations, so to is the teaching of putting chili and cheese on a hot dog.

So the other day, I visited Hot Dog Factory for the Nevdogg Special -- a jumbo chili cheese dog with onions and an order of chili cheese onion rings (that's good eatin' there, kids) -- when I was greeted by a junior college girl who was eager to do well at her job but, like most girls her age, still had much to learn about the ways of the world.

Case in point:

When she put my hotdog on the bun and proceeded to the toppings, she went to the cheese first....

"Whoa, little darlin'!!" I cried. "What are you doing?"

She looked at me, confused.

"I'm...uh...putting your toppings on, sir," she stammered.

"But you're putting the cheese on first."

She answered with a vacant stare, obviously lost.

"Let me show you the right way to do that, sweetheart," I said. "Come: Let us discover together."

And I proceeded to teach her the following steps of putting chili and cheese on a hot dog:

Step Of Putting Chili And Cheese On A Hot Dog # 1: Put the chili on first. This step is crucial. If you don't follow this step, it's like making eggs without butter: You're finished before you started. Chili goes on the hot dog first. No exceptions. In order to achieve perfect chili-to-hot dog harmony, the chili must fully encompass said hot dog. And the only way to do that is to ensure that there are no toppings in-between the two.

Step Of Putting Chili And Cheese On A Hot Dog # 2: Put the cheese on second. Now you would think that once you put the chili on first, most people would take the next logical step of putting the cheese on next. But surprisingly, some folks choose to put the onions on as topping No. 2. This is a grave mistake for two reasons: 1) You don't taste the onions. If you put the onions on top of the chili, the chili acts like quicksand, quickly sinking the onions into its depths. This takes away from the taste of the chili as well, so it's lose-lose for the eater. And 2) More importantly, the cheese doesn't properly melt. That's something tha you can only learn from real-world experience: Putting cheese on top of chili melts the cheese. Write that down. Those are words that will change your life.

Step Of Putting Chili And Cheese On A Hot Dog # 3: Put any additional toppings on last. And if you haven't figured that out by now, there's simply no hope for you. :-)

As I was leaving Hot Dog Factory, I glanced back and saw the junior college girl putting toppings on another customer's hot dog.

And you know what she did?

She put the chili on first.

I caught her eye.

And she smiled.

A teacher's greatest watching his student learn.


And now for this week's:


My mom doesn't like the Jack In The Box guy.

"There's something, you know, not quite right about him," she says.

"Mom," I replied, "it's not a real person."

"Yeah I know," she said. "But he has that pointy hat. And he sings with midgets. And I mean, how can you really trust someone like that?"

What the...

"Mom, he's not real!!" I said.

"But it doesn't mean he's not evil," she replied.


I swear, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.


Mike said...

Please tell me you actually said "Whoa, little darlin" to someone. I can't picture anyone outside of a country rascal/varmint/cowpoke saying that, and especially not you. But who knows...maybe chili dogs bring out the cowboy in ya.

MehPlusOne said...

You still frequent the Hot Dog Factory? What happened to the quality of their food/toppings bar after they changed ownership a few years ago?

Dave Thun said...

1) You bring back fond memories of that Korean hot dog place we used to visit for lunch. I should go back there soon.

2) You actually make "come, let us discover together" and chili dogs sound...salacious.

3) Now I must sing: "Tiny cattle (tiny cattle)..."

-Dave (only anonymous due to lack of a google account)

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