How It Came To Be America’s 4th Of July Staple Food – CBS Miami
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – If there’s one thing Americans love on July 4th, it’s hot dogs. And the iconic food has an interesting history behind it.
The grandfather of Lloyd Handwerker was Nathan Handwerker, the Nathan of Nathan’s Famous. As a Polish-Jewish immigrant, Nathan opened a modest hot dog stand on Coney Island in New York in 1916.
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“He came with no English and just enough money to get to Ellis Island,” says Lloyd.
German immigrants brought sausage to the United States in the 19th century, but it didn’t immediately become an American icon. Nathan gained customers when he decided to cut prices to just 5 cents per dog.
“When the Depression hit, the business started to develop because you could support a family of four for less than 50 cents,” says Lloyd.
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Soon everyone was coming to Coney Island for a dog.
Lloyd says, “The sidewalk out here was lined with people pushing to the counters, the promenade was full.”
Over time, hot dogs have become synonymous with American culture – with cookouts, baseball games, and of course the July 4th tradition: the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
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The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council estimates Americans will eat 150 million hot dogs on July 4th.