I don’t know, my mom worked at Oscar Meyer’s plant after high school in the 1940’s, growing up we were never allowed to have hot dogs, sausages or bologna.
Don, I think you’ve nailed it!
I stood in front of the hot dog section at Publix for a ridiculous amount of time. I picked up Ball Parks, and put them back down, and the same with Oscar Meyer. I finally bought Sabrett skinless franks.
Don, do you have any other contextual clues from the recipe in that old book? Were supermarket hot dogs explicitly mentioned?
Certainly there were national grocer/supermarket brands of rot gut franks sold in plastic packages around 1960. There were also a lot more mom-and-pop neighborhood butcher shops who made their own franks than today. Then, there is the regional issue, i.e. Viennas in Chicago, Usinger’s in Milwaukee, Hebrew National in NY/NJ. Hygrade of Detroit was once a huge seller in NYC, now still selling a lot as Ballpark franks. There were also the infamous Merkel hot dogs made in Jamaica, NY with horsemeat.
Supermarket hot dogs changed since 1960, but natural casing Sabrett franks don’t seem to have changed much, despite having changed plants twice since then. Back then, current quality brands such as Boar’s Head, Deitz and Watson, and Thumann’s did not have the wide distribution they have today.
We also run up against that problem of trying to reproduce recipes from 50 years ago using processed foods. Some of those processed foods are no longer available in a recognizable form.
Rosseler’s and Hummel’s were wonderful then, but just Hummel’s survives. Close to those today are Boar’s Head natural casing dogs.
Let’s see. I remember Armour Star, Oscar Mayer,Swift’s Premium as major brands when I was a kid and then the store brands from A&P and other chains that were still down here. First off, many were thinner then the premium brands of today. Hot dogs had a variety of tastes and textures that you no longer have anymore that seemed to homoginize towards the 70’s. One thing I remember is the water being red from the food coloring after cooking. Hot dogs tended to be less stable. It wasn’t uncommon to get a package that when opened had a viscous,slimy liquid of spoiled hot dogs. That was like a wild card and I suppose it had both to do with stock rotation and undated product as well as preservatives. Some had a granular texture, some the fine texture of today. I remember some hot dogs had a rubbery texture that “squeeked” against your teeth when you bit into them. Some even had a skin-like casing that wasn’t natural casing that could be peeled off. Some hot dogs I remember tasted and smelled sort of like packaged bologna (Oscar Mayer?). After hot dogs were cooked and the water cooled, there was a stench I remember that you don’t smell anymore in the pots and fat rendered from the hot dogs floating in the water. Oh yeah, it didn’t take much heat to get the ends to split open. I don’t remember any getting plump from cooking until Red Foxxx started pushing Ballpark in the 70’s which is about the time the hot dogs started getting pretty uniform. Most all store meat departments still had natural casing hot dogs available from the butcher in strings that they wrapped in that red paper by the pound. No bar code label, just a grease pencil to mark the price and masking tape. No zip lock packages for the hot dogs either.
Edit: Just thought of something. Store brand and Institutional hot dogs were nothing alike back then. A concession stand hot dog & bun were much bigger/longer and had a meaty taste much like hot dogs of today taste like. By comparison, store bought hot dogs tasted artificial. Also there used to be a paradox between packaged buns and hot dogs. I don’t remember if the buns were 10 count and the hot dogs 8 or visa versa, but there was a disparity I recall. I wouldn’t know. Virtually everybody I grew up with got a regular slice of bread with their hot dog instead of a bun. The hot dogs were the same length as the bread slice. Buns were for special occasions like cook outs for us average folks.
I’m writing something elsewhere based upon a recipe from a book published in 1960 that calls for frankfurters. I believe that it would have referred to what was available in some sophisticated urban locale, not in a rural area. What, of the current franks widely available, would you recommend as being representative of what would have been typical then? I was alive and eating hot dogs in the home at that time, but I was age 5 for most of that year, and have no recollection of the brands.
<<I don’t think Trunz had a supermarket brand. They had a plant along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (I-278) in Greenpoint, and I only saw their processed meat products sold in Trunz and Indy butcher shops, and delis.>>
Thanks David. Just to clarify my statement, I didn’t mean to imply that they sold a supermarket brand. What I meant was I don’t recall whether the Trunz Hot Dogs served by my grandmother came in a package labeled “Trunz” of if they were loose and sold by the pound. They definately came from a Trunz store, “Rudy down at Trunz” was her butcher, I remember that.
A hot dog from national chain supermarkets hasn’t changed all that much. We are just more sophisticated about our choices today compared to 1960 and have a much better variety and better quality. Same with breads. I think as we lose our ethnicity heritage the name hot dog just displaced frankfurter over time. Frankfurter also over time has been shortened to franks as in beans and franks.
The regional and local independents were a different story. Now we know about choices throughout the country and independents have adopted and copied each other. There were a wealth of independent choices, but what was available in New York would have never been available in Iowa and vice versa in 1960. Different regions of the country also adopted different names for products that may have been very similar. Unless one was well traveled in 1960 one would never know. Also, in 1960, the only way information was distributed with any timeliness and mass coverage was through official media and not the way it is now through the internet via individuals.
That’s my take. I also assumed a frankfurter was nothing but a hot dog as an interchangeable word in 1960.
I don’t think Trunz had a supermarket brand. They had a plant along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (I-278) in Greenpoint, and I only saw their processed meat products sold in Trunz and Indy butcher shops, and delis.
In the ’60s in small town Central NY we could only get the big factory dogs, Tobins, Oscar Meyers, etc… I didn’t know what a good hot dog was. Mom always got the OMs. I had one a while ago, its just tasted like bad meat. Wish I lived near Liehs and Steigerwalds back then as I do now..
I was 12 in 1960, and then as now I was a hot dog fan. My preferred packaged brand was Ball Park, (this in Brooklyn where at the time there must have been 50 independent butchers making thier own hot dogs, but, again, I was 12…)
On the other hand, my grandmother, who lived in Ridgewood on the Brooklyn/Queens border, swore by Trunz, although I don’t remember whether they had a packaged brand or just a butcher shop brand, and I couldn’t find anything definitive just now on the Internet.
1960 Supermarket Hot Dogs?
As a kid growing up in the 160s,70s, only brand of hot dogs i remember is Oscar Meyer. Don’t recall Usingers here in the San Antonio at that time.They still make Rath’s Black Hawk hot dogs. H.E.B. the big South Texas grocerystore chain has someone make some very good ones for them.They also sell hebrew National and Ball Park, Fud,Boar’s Head and a few others. Haven’t been to Penshorn’s Butcher shop in Marion, down the road from me or even back up to Granzin’s in New Braunfels.I assume they make their own. Vienna brand is good but don’t see them in the stores here. Oh we also have Nathan’s Famous from Coney Island here in stores as well.
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