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Wayne's Words: Hot Dog!

Wayne Horne | 5/4/2017, midnight
The calendar says it’s the beginning of May and that means all of the summer activities we all look forward ...

The calendar says it’s the beginning of May and that means all of the summer activities we all look forward to are set to begin. The beginning of April felt that way, but the weather isn’t cooperating at the moment. After taking a week’s vacation in sunny Florida, I’m ready to enjoy all that summer in the Midwest offers. The weather’s not cooperating yet, but like most things it will, eventually.

One of the things most of us do when we travel around the country is sample the local cuisine. In Florida that means seafood is offered in most eateries. I certainly tried my share of those offerings, but I’m not a food critic so all I can say is what I tried was good. The kind of fare that is universal in the U.S, though, are hamburgers and hot dogs. Particularly universal is the “Chicago style” hot dog. Even in Florida that’s the enticer.

Why do I mention hot dogs? One of the first “news” pieces I read when I returned home was in Crain’s Chicago Business magazine. It reported that Oscar Mayer, the top-selling wiener in the U.S., has developed a hot dog without nitrates, nitrites, and artificial preservatives. The company says they did this without compromising the taste or raising the price. We’ll see.

Anyway, the change does raise a couple of questions. What took them so long to do this if it is in the best interest of the consumer? Secondly, what’s so bad about the demonized ingredients removed?

The answer to the first question won’t be known for some time until the “secret memo”, detailing the reason, surfaces from a disgruntled employee at a future date. Remember how long it took the tobacco industry to reveal they knew cigarettes were addictive, among other health issues?

The second question is a bit more complicated. A recent article published by Prevention.com detailed two studies from the U.K. show that a diet rich in nitrates can improve cardiovascular health. It also can lower blood pressure. Studies from the 1970’s say the ‘demon ingredients’ are carcinogenic to animals. I believe the USDA included humans in that category when they limited the number of nitrates that could be added to cured meats, like hot dogs.

At any rate, the controversy over the good and bad effects of a clean-eating regimen may be difficult to follow. According to the article in Prevention.com, cured meats account for 6 per cent of dietary nitrate intake. About 80 percent comes from veggies and water. Conclusion? Who knows. I will still eat hot dogs and veggies in moderation as always. Kind of like I absorb political news and commentary.

One last thing… speaking of hot dogs, the Joliet Slammers kick off the home game season on Tuesday, May 16, at 7:05 PM. There are 50 home games scheduled this year. The season goes to Labor Day weekend. The city-owned field will have artificial turf installed at the end of the 2017 season. The plan is for additional venues to use the facility.

To date, the naming rights have not been negotiated for the stadium. The Silver Cross naming rights contract expired last year.

Stay tuned…