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I Hate Farmer John

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Every year for the past decade or so, my Dad and I have gone on a short trip to see a different baseball park around this great nation. It's a great father-son bonding thing, and you get to notice the differences between parks. Our beloved Dodger Stadium stands as one of the better parks in the land, but I've noticed it's missing one crucial element. One element that has driven me insane since my youth. The issue is not so much about my personal gripes as it is about our sweet, beloved freedom.

I'm talking about the lack of kosher hot dogs.

Every year for the past decade or so, my Dad and I have gone on a short trip to see a different baseball park around this great nation. It's a great father-son bonding thing, and you get to notice the differences between parks. Our beloved Dodger Stadium stands as one of the better parks in the land, although it's missing one crucial element. One element that has driven me insane since my youth. The issue is not so much about my personal gripes as it is about our sweet, beloved freedom.

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I'm talking about the lack of kosher hot dogs.

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Now, for those not in the know, to keepkosher is to follow a bunch of Jewish dietary laws. You don't have to worry about the bloody details, but let's just say pig is off the menu and the animals have to be killed a certain way. Now, I'm not all that religious at the moment, but I've held onto this for whatever reason. So this means I cannot- repeat, cannot- eat a Dodger Dog. But, as mentioned before, this is not so much about me as it about our sweet, beloved freedom and the bastards at Farmer John who have taken it away from you. At this point, I'm sure you're thinking, "Well Dave, why doesn't Farmer John, who has a monopoly on Dodger hot dogs, just let some kosher company come in and make them? After all, Los Angeles has the third largest Jewish population in America! A single place to sell wouldn't be too hard." You make a good point. A single place wouldn't be too hard, especially considering how many other parks have done it. San Francisco, Seattle, Baltimore, and even Denver (!?) of all have places for the Chosen people to get a nosh. But, except for creepily named Jew Day at Dodger Stadium, we've got bubkus. And once again, I'm sure you're thinking, "If they can do it for one day, why not for the whole year! Wouldn't be that hard!" You're right, it wouldn't. But you're also forgetting that Farmer John is a bastard. As an article from the Jewish Journal puts it

[Rabbi Aaron] Parry (disclosure: Parry was my high school teacher) and other religious fans express concern that the regular availability of kosher hot dogs might be perceived as a potential threat to stalwart Dodger sponsor Farmer John. Despite the fact that Orthodox Jews wouldn't eat Farmer John's products, there is both hope and worry that a kosher hot dog at Dodger Stadium might appeal to the nonobservant public. Supporters hope that a kosher dog appeals to more than just the Jewish community, which would help bolster arguments with Aramark that sales wouldn't be a concern. But if it's too successful, they worry that Farmer John might feel threatened and oppose the regular inclusion of kosher dogs at the stadium

And they're right to be concerned. Kosher dogs are made out of cleaner meat, and as a result, taste better (or so I've been told). According to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (awesomest council ever, by the way), they make up to 15 or 20 percent of total sales. And at Comiskey Park in Chicago (that's the one that isn't Wrigley- and yes, I refuse to call it U.S. Cellular Field), the kosher dogs outsell the normal ones 3-1. But Farmer John need not be afraid of a little competition, even if food critics describe their Dogs as "mealy" and "flavorless". Just charge an extra buck to keep anyone but those keeping kosher out.

Of course, will that happen? Probably not. So you could write a letter or something, or you could follow the great tradition of smuggling food in. I'd recommend Jeff's Gourmet for all your hot dog needs, and of course Pico Kosher Deli (PKD, to those in the know). But seriously, as good as those are, I know we're missing something with the lack of kosher Dodger Dogs. They'd be such a hit. We could even get this guy to sing a song about them. And who wouldn't want that?

Photo by manleywalker via flickr