The All-American Hot Dog

American Hot Dog with mustard ketchup and relish on bun Doodlewash and watercolor urban sketch

I figured after pizza and donuts, the only logical next step was to bring a hot dog to our #DoodlewashDinner today. It’s a number one favorite in this country, and Americans will happily chow down on a staggering 20 billion hot dogs this year. This is not a food that I actually eat anymore, but I had them a lot when I was growing up. I’ve also never liked relish, but any chance to add a little green into a doodlewash and I’m in. In short, this is a food memory and not something that was sitting in front of me. Ever since watching a video on hot dog production years ago, I’ve not had the stomach to try them again. And though the video was graphic and in depth, it still managed to leave it a complete mystery as to what’s precisely inside.

As a child, however, this was the coolest food on the planet. And it was made extra cool when I found out it was the first food eaten on the moon! That’s right, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. ate hot dogs on their historic trip back in 1969. This was along with an additionally bizarre diet of coffee, bacon squares, canned peaches, and sugar cookies. I wasn’t born in time for that bit of history, but liked the idea that I was eating astronaut food. Though a hot dog on a bun is pretty much the standard way to serve them, I loved the ways my mother used to make them. One way involved taking two hot dogs and cutting them in half to line them up between two slices of regular toasted bread. I realized later this invention was just because she’d always forget to buy buns.

The absolute best, though, were the little hot dog people. Mom would make a slit down the middle of each hot dog and then two other small slits on each side. When the hot dogs were tossed into boiling water, arms and legs would pop out and magically transform them into tiny people. I guess eating people has strangely cannibalistic overtones, but no more so than gingerbread men, and in hot dog form they really looked more like naked little aliens. And even if I don’t eat them today, I admire the fact that they are the one food you’ll always find where people are having a good time. From picnics, to cookouts, to baseball games,  if there’s a large group of happy people, one thing is always certain. There will definitely be hot dogs.

You’re all invited to a Doodlewash Dinner Party during the month of May! Just tag your food or drink image #doodlewashdinner and I’ll feature you and your culinary creations in a delicious Doodlewash Gallery at the end of the month! 


About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Azo Green, Azo Yellow, Azo Orange, Pyrrol Red, Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Permanent Pale Green and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
Published in By Charlie
36 Comments
  1. Sabiscuit 1 year ago

    20 billion hot dogs? Americans know what’s good for them. I’m in the wrong business, I now realise. Thank you very much for the hint.

    • Author

      Hehe…yeah…lots like the hot dog business is the place to be in America at least! People can’t seem to get enough of them! 😉

  2. debiriley 1 year ago

    great illustration of the hot dog Charlie! it looks perfect! I loathed boiled hot dogs, but did love the regular ones for summer picnics! I had to give them up moving over to Australia, they don’t have them. no great loss I guess.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Debi! 😃💕 yeah…probably not a huge loss from a health standpoint. Hehe… I like seeing them around at least. Brings back good memories.

      • debiriley 1 year ago

        they smell nice….. I’d probably have one. as a token remembrance. if I went back for a holiday *with Relish and mustard though!

  3. Teri C 1 year ago

    I’m with you on not eating hot dogs but what a wonderful painting!

  4. Jessica Seacrest 1 year ago

    This made me think of Tang too as an astronaut food! My mom made cut up weenies with jam in the crockpot last night for an outdoor party today. Yuck! LOL. I was keeping my fingers crossed that there wasn’t a weenie whipe out on the car ride over, thankfully nothing spilled. All your foods look so good Charlie!

    • Author

      Thanks Jessica! 😃💕 lol…with jam?!! Ewwwww!! That’s even worse! I can’t imagine what that would be like, but glad it all stayed where it was supposed too!! Hehe

  5. Oh I did laugh, what a great thing to slit the hot dog and turn it into a person, lol, I have only eaten a few of these in my life time, but I might have to buy some just to try your mums trick, love it. Great doodlewash, and I agree, a bit of green😀 Plus it’s veggie week in the uk( or maybe that’s worldwide)?

  6. Jodi 1 year ago

    What a creative ingenious mom – LOL! Do you really NEVER eat hot dogs anymore?! Not even turkey ones? Wow – I admire your healthy food habits! I don’t eat them often, but I do love a good dog now and then. Awesome doodlewash – seriously made me want one!

    • Author

      Thanks Jodi! 😃💕 my mom is very creative! Hehe… And I don’t eat the American kind because they have too many fillers. It’s more a taste thing than health…I don’t like them as well. But I love handmade sausages and there’s a German brand we get that’s kind of hot dog like. So they’re sort of still on the menu when we eat meat! 😉

      • Jodi 1 year ago

        Phew!😓

  7. ybromfield 1 year ago

    Hey Charlie, it’s Kari! I’m not a huge hotdog fan, but I do enjoy a grilled kosher hotdog at a BBQ. I used to enjoy them but after watching a hotdog eating contest, I couldn’t eat one for months! You found the perfect red for the hotdog and I’m wondering what color combination you used (I see your color selection above but do you remember what you combined to get that hot dog color?) Great doodlewash!

    • Author

      Thanks Kari! 😃💕Haha! Hot dog eating contests are another reason I got put off by them! Too funny! As for the hot dog color… It’s mainly a blend of Burnt Sienna and Pyrrol Red… That was a little too reddish, so I lightly came back with a watered down wash of Azo Orange to get the final color.

  8. Carmel Campbell 1 year ago

    I really like how you put a somewhat positive spin on all foods. Wonderful illustration. I will eat vegetarian pizza, and I have been known to eat a donut but not hot dogs. If I remember not something Australians ate too often, that may have changed now. I really enjoy reading your write ups!

    • Author

      Thanks so much Carmel! 😃💕 It always seems like even the food I dislike now has some good memories attached, so it’s all good in the end! And yay to donuts! Much better junk food choice! Hehe

  9. Sharon Mann 1 year ago

    What a delicious looking hot dog. Like you, I don’t eat them anymore. But I have had my share in my lifetime. Thanks for the fun narrative Charlie. 🌭 Cheers

  10. Jill Kuhn 1 year ago

    I’m not a big hot dog fan either, Charlie. I don’t think it would be so popular if people really knew what they were made of…but in light of that, I like your doodlewash version! 💕🎨😊🌟

    • Author

      Thanks Jill! 😃💕 Hehe…glad you like the doodlewash version. Unlike actual hot dogs, all the real ingredients are listed below it! Lol

  11. Cathe 1 year ago

    I’m with Jill and Sharon. Your version looks great attached with happy memories!

  12. Carol 1 year ago

    Great doodlewash, Charlie, and very timely for Memorial Day preparations. OMG, I thought our family was the only one who cut the hot dogs lengthwise and put them on bread – even if my mom remembered to buy buns, with 5 kids and 3 of them being boys – the buns didn’t last long. I never heard of the fancy alien-cut hot dogs, but I love the creativity your mother put into mealtime!! 🌭

    • Author

      Thanks Carol! 😃💕Glad you liked this one! Yeah… I actually preferred the regular bread because you could taste more of the hot dog. And with Memorial Day coming… you should try a few alien hot dogs just to mix things up! Lol

  13. beverlydyer 1 year ago

    My mom made a version of beanie-weanies. A can of beans du-jour topped with a row of hotdogs.

  14. Jacob 1 year ago

    Awesome doodlewash Charlie; even if I’m less tempted by the prospect of a hot dog (and I’m with you on relish), I probably would have enjoyed these interesting serving suggestions as a child – mmm… naked aliens. Also, I did not know they were the first food eaten on the moon! How very American 😉

    • Author

      Yeah, isn’t it? I’m not sure why Americans love these so much. Probably because they’re lazy food. I’m have a proper sausage instead, but they do come with great memories at least!

  15. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 year ago

    Painted from you memory? I am very impressed, Charlie. That’s some good painting of some American eating.
    I prefer grilled kosher hot dogs when I eat them, and now we can get them without the preservatives. Still, hot dogs are one of those foods that disappoint me every time. They promise of extraordinary flavor in a hand held food but they always taste like a sausage reject. As for the 20 billion eaten each year: I think my hubby was responsible for at least a million, and he likes them straight out of the microwave – yuck!

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon! 😃💕Haha… ewww… I used to eat them as a kid from the microwave, but I can’t even imagine doing that today! Yeah… you’re right… they are a food that disappoints. I’d much rather have a real sausage than whatever food hot dogs are pretending to be. Hehe

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