July 29, 1539: The Beginning of an American Culinary Tradition – In July 1539, during his North American entrada, the army of Governor Don Hernando de Soto crosses the Withlacoochee River near present day Inverness, FL. Low on supplies, De Soto moves ahead of the main body of his hungry band with over 50 mounted troops and seizes a large cache of food in the native territory of Ocale (near modern Ocala, FL). Some of this is sent back by “pack mules to the main army.” Don Luys Hernández de Biedma, the Emperor’s representative on the expedition, reports that “We got some maize, beans, and little dogs, which were no small relief to people who came perishing with hunger." This is the first time during the entrada that the Spanish invaders encounter native beans. The “little dogs” mentioned by Biedma were a small, fat, non-barking breed raised by the natives for food.
Consequently, this marks the first documented occasion that grilled hot dogs are consumed by Caucasians in what is now the continental United States.
Special thanks to Tim Burke, of Calderon's Companie of Calderon’s Company for his help with this entry.
I like mine Chicago style, with Vienna hot dogs.