Searching History For The Hot Dog's Origin

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On Monday, New York's Coney Island will host Nathan's Famous annual hot dog eating contest. The contest is in its 96th year.

But the origin of the popular summer food is still cloudy.

Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the online magazine Visual Thesaurus, says there are a lot of myths about the name "hot dog." One is about a New York Evening Journal cartoonist, Tad Dorgan.

"Around 1901, Tad Dorgan was at the Polo Grounds in Upper Manhattan; it's where New York's baseball Giants used to play. He was at the ball game [and] one of the concessionaires was selling red-hots, these frankfurter sandwiches, and he had the idea to make a cartoon with a dachshund in a roll, and so he drew this picture for this cartoon," he tells Morning Edition's Renee Montagne....

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