By Jamie Loftus
2023 • Forge Books
Part travelogue, part culinary history, all capitalist critique—popular podcaster and comedian Jamie Loftus's debut takes us on a cross-country road trip in the summer of 2021, and tells us what the creation, culture, and class influence of hot dogs says about America now
Hot dogs. Poor people created them. Rich people found a way to charge fifteen dollars for them. They’re high culture, they’re low culture, they’re sports food, they’re hangover food, and they’re deeply American, despite having no basis whatsoever in America's Indigenous food traditions. You can love them, you can hate them, you cut them up and put them in a bowl of macaroni and cheese, but you can’t avoid the great American hot dog.
Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs is part investigation into the cultural and culinary significance of hot dogs and part travelogue documenting a cross-country road trip researching the landscape of American hot dogs as they’re served today. From avocado and spice in the West to ass-shattering chili in the East to an entire salad on a slice of meat in Chicago, Loftus and her soon-to-be-ex eat their way across the country during the strange summer of 2021, a brief window of the year between waves of a plague that the American government has the resources to temper, but not the interest.
Loftus weighs in on:
- The reality of hot dog production and working conditions from factories to fast food stands in a post-Upton Sinclair world
- The best hot dog you can get in the United States right now
- And yes, critically overlooked bun infrastructure problems.
So grab a dog, lay out your beach towel, and dig into the delicious and inevitable product of centuries of violence, poverty, and ambition, now rolling around at your local 7-11.
Tags: Books, food essay, food history, food writing, humor, meat, Pre-Order, travel