Spring Training: Part One.


“So I can watch seven episodes of ‘Top Chef’ with you, but you won’t sit down to watch one baseball game with me?”

I guess he had a point. Especially considering that the television and cable were both his. Without his contribution, my television knowledge of this year would be limited to the Daily Show on the internet.

For those of you who pay attention to baseball, it’s time for Spring Training. The aforementioned “He,” it turns out, pays a lot of attention to baseball. It’s kind of his thing. Not really having an affinity for the sport, I worked my mind to find a way to make it interesting. The most obvious answer, of course, is food. Baseball is America’s National Pastime and food is mine.

This is the first of a two-part series of my homage to baseball (food).

When I think baseball, I think hot dogs. More specifically, I think of Columbus’ “Dime A Dog” night for our local baseball team. It’s huge. Personally, I’d rather not eat something that can be sold for a dime and still be profitable, even if it’s only for marketing purposes. I decided for my foray into baseball food, I’d do the opposite of Dime A Dog; I’d create a gourmet hot dog with fancy sauerkraut and unique mustard.

The hot dog choice was easy: Nathan’s beef frankfurters from Brooklyn. They’re longer than the bun and they’re delicious.

Next, the sauerkraut. Although I’d someday like to make my own from scratch, I didn’t have the time. Spring Training only lasts for so long. (Maybe I’ll accomplish this feat by the World Series.) I decided that I’d try this recipe from the October 1994 Gourmet, via Epicurious.

Finally, the mustard. Working for a specialty market, I’m pretty aware of the mustard products available. Two came to mind immediately, both from Ohio. The first was Buckeye Mustard, which is made in Columbus with real horseradish. I love the lady who makes it and it’s the perfect complement to a hot dog. But I decided on the second: Ben’s Sweet & Hot Mustard. Spiked with both sugar and jalapeños, I felt that this choice would work well with my Red Onion Sauerkraut.


I altered the recipe for the sauerkraut a little. I omitted the juniper berries; I don’t really feel as if they were a big loss. I used ground cloves rather than whole ones and I substituted white wine vinegar for the red wine vinegar. At a certain point, I wondered how many of the ingredients were simply there for color.

I served the sauerkraut atop the hot dogs with a small salad on the side. Mixed greens, sweet and sour dressing, aged gouda (one that I will talk about in length sometime soon), dried cranberries and spring greens came together nicely.

The sauerkraut turned out to be very sweet, and in retrospect I probably would have used a less sweet mustard to balance out the flavors. Nonetheless, this part of the meal was a success. The second part – my Sweet Potato Chips – is another story.


One thought on “Spring Training: Part One.

  1. Elizabeth Lessner says:

    YUM! Great photo, that almost looks healthy!

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