Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Simple Hot Dog

Last evening I attended a bonfire along with fifty or so American teenagers and a dozen or so teenage exchange students from across the globe, Switzerland, China, Norway, Germany, Indonesia and Chile. Also attending, to add another layer to the mix, were adult exchange teachers from Morocco, Haiti and Germany.

Of course the main attraction was the bonfire, a blazing inferno that supplied warmth to break the autumn chill. After several hours, it died down to mere embers, perfect for roasting the marshmallows for the s'mores. We had to explain the derivation of the word s'mores to the non-Americans, as in "that's so good, I want some more," which, in slang shortens to "s'more," an obvious reaction to the hot marshmallow served on a Graham cracker, topped by a chocolate square.

We also had to explain coleslaw, that most common southern topping for hot dogs. And the chili, that we explained, and laughed along with the girl from Chile.

But hot dog, now that we didn't have to explain. Hot dog is to America as spaghetti is to Italy or rice is to Japan. The visiting students and teachers knew about hot dogs and surely had eaten several during their months already in America.

Which brings me to Pilot Mountain School and the simple hot dog...

Hot dog complete with chili, onions and mustard.

Children of the South Mountain during the early years of the school were fed local food, unprocessed, fresh or canned during the summer months by their mothers. A hot dog is none of the above. Several people I interviewed mentioned that the first hot dogs they ate were at school, not home. Hot dogs were an unusual delight to them.

Imagine a simple hot dog being special. How wonderful the memories that first taste was for them. I can't remember my first hot dog. Can you?

Catch of the day,


No comments:

Post a Comment