Guy Adams: Here's one US symbol not worth saving

LA Notebook

Share
Related Topics

For people prone to harping on about their European heritage, Americans sure make a mess of the sausage. You can find, if you look really hard, the occasional half-decent bratwurst. And there are some edible, if over-spicy, Italian ones on the market. But it's nigh-on impossible, in this vast nation of vast meat lovers, to source a proper British-style banger.

US health laws are to blame, I'm told: they forbid American butchers from using pig innards to make the sticky sausage skin and meaty-offal filling that transatlantic consumers enjoy. Instead, the country's favourite way to scoff mass-processed pork is by sticking a pink plastic frankfurter between two halves of a bun to create the culinary abomination that is a hot dog.

I've come to learn, after plenty of trying, that hot dogs can only be made bearable if their blandness is masked by ketchup, mustard, and pickle; sauerkraut, too, if you're at a posh vendor (but avoid the awful innovation of beef-based sausage). Then, particularly if accompanied by live sport and watery lager, they'll at least provide a star-spangled way to fill you up.

That, however, could be about to change. The American Academy of Pediatrics made headlines this week by calling for the hot dog to be "redesigned," and made significantly smaller, to avoid the hitherto obscure hazard of choking babies and young children.

Apparently 10,000 US kids are rushed to hospital each year with food lodged in their throat (does no one teach them to chew?). Around 80 die. And it turns out that 17 per cent of all those asphyxiations are caused by common or garden hot dogs. "If you were to take the best engineer in the world and try to design the perfect plug for a child's airway, it would be a hot dog," said the academy.

In the aftermath of this announcement, which made several front pages, the American sausage industry has angrily complained about a creeping nanny state. But I call it good news. For if frankfurter sales are to dive (and remember, the US takes health scares seriously) then there's a small, but glorious, chance that this pork-loving country will finally start producing better bangers.

'Locker' the seniors' choice?

Wondering how The Hurt Locker, which generated just $12m at the box office, can suddenly be odds-on favourite to beat Avatar (which made $2bn) to the Oscar for Best Picture? Even if it did clean up at the Baftas on Sunday. Wonder no more: the Hollywood Reporter recently surveyed the Academy's 5,777 members and discovered that their average age is 57.7. That's older than the electorate for any other Hollywood award, and makes them less likely to plump for a crowd-pleaser. Or so the (ageist) theory goes.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Learning Support Assistant

£65 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Due to the continual growth and...

Learning Support Assistant - Newport

£65 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Due to the continual growth and...

Operations Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am currently recruiting for an Operati...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, Security Cleared

£100 - £110 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Ham...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Prime Minister David Cameron walks on stage to speak at The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual conference on November 4, 2013  

Does Cameron really believe in 'British Values'?

Temi Ogunye
The Lada became a symbol of Russia’s failure to keep up with Western economies  

Our sanctions will not cripple Russia. It is doing a lot of the dirty work itself

Hamish McRae
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz