Talk to DP Forum

Kevin Cheek

August 31, 2014

You asked: "What is it about hot dogs?"

It is the fact that you write about them with such longing and such great description of the multi-sensory assault that is the experience of eating a genuine Chicago Dog that causes us to share that longing. I've even started looking for Hawaiian shirts with brightly colored tomatoes, pickles, etc.

Sadly, I'm health conscious and have taken to grilling fat-free spiced chicken sausages (sage, apple, and green chile are good flavorings) and serving them with sliced kosher pickles, fancy mustard, and grilled chiles on a steamed whole-grain bun. It's not the same experience, but I may live longer to enjoy more of them over the long run.

Daniel replies:

I don't think I ate many more than 20 Chicago hot dogs in all the years I lived in Chicago. When the meticulously authentic establishment opened in my current locale, I may have eaten another 10 or fewer, but I struck up a friendship with the proprietor, (who perished, I believe from eating his own product). So when I visited him, I would order a dog sans sausage. The other ingredients qualify as food, excepting maybe that bright green relish. As to longing for them...I don't long. It's a literary device. I approve of your less lethal chicken sausage combination.

Rick Rundle

August 26, 2014

Sim sala bim, Danial love that you resurfaced on NPR. As I have gotten older my sharp mind has dulled a bit. But listening to your essays then going to your website has refreshed me like a babe being baptized. Friends of mine Bob Sirott & Marianne Murciano husband & wife on WGN 720 AM, noon show, not Don McNeal, not Paul Harvey but…. Marianne tries to get Bob to eat healthy, and of course Bob likes Chicago hot dogs. Loved your essay, did you know "Brigadoon" was just at the Goodman? You would be great on their show. "And I'll Never forget the day I read a book'. Thanks

Daniel replies:

What is it about hot dogs? When that piece first aired, I got a ridiculous number of emails and calls, people drove from Maine and Pennsylvania to find the hot dog joint I told about. Or is it something about me when I describe food? If I told what I actually eat, would I be inundated with notes from skinny non-leather-sandal-wearing octogenarians with a wild look in their eyes?

Tom Purpur

August 26, 2014

Daniel, I heard your piece about Chicago hotdogs somewhere there in New Yorkish where you live and thought it was hilarious. I just wanted to thank you for it. Carry on with that good fight you're fighting! :-)

Daniel replies:

See, Chicago winters used to be more severe, and much as Inuit peoples living in arctic conditions could utilize blubber, Chicagoans could eat those hot dogs and yet survive. It's a risk that needs to be minimized. I won't go as far as suggesting the tofu pup...just be mindful.

Tim Lowe

August 26, 2014

I just heard your ode to the Chicago hot dog. The REAL hot dog. The simple thing of beauty that purely defines the city of big shoulders. You think NY is bad? Try South America. I can't get a decent hot dog here in Colombia. The put a lot worse things than ketchup on them, believe you me.

Daniel replies:

I have much to answer for.

George Combs

August 26, 2014

Mr. p.,
I listened this morning to your elegiac hot dog story. I was so moved that I felt compelled to drive an hour to one of the few places in the Washington, DC area that sells that Windy City delicacy. Curse you and bless you sir. If only I could find a place that served a decent ratatouille on a hot dog. The search continues…

Daniel replies:

I repeat the admonition always prompted by reference to my hot dog writings--remember to treat those things with the respect you'd give a loaded gun. Ratatouille, yes, often as you like--hot dogs of any denomination, be careful!

Tracy Salladay

August 24, 2014

Mr. Pinkwater,
I heard your call on car talk earlier this month and would like to have the name of the used car dealer in Danbury where you purchased your car.

Daniel replies:

I don't remember the name! It was the used car department of a then-new Infiniti dealer, and they were extremely nice to me, made a vast number of free repairs on the car before and after delivery. I theorized at the time that as a newly-opened luxury car dealership, they had little to do in the repair department, and wanted to put the mechanics through their paces. I wound up with a swell car in perfect condition, and enjoyed it for a long time.

Len S.

August 17, 2014


Every time I travel to Chicago, I go looking for traces of Baconburg; it's like Narnia to me, but way funkier. Does anywhere in Chicago still have a touch of the Snark? Or has it, as if seen by a Boojum, softly and suddenly vanished away?



Daniel replies:

I haven't been to Chicago for quite a few years, like more than 20--the last time I went, there were plenty of artifacts left--but I can't speak for today. But really, what I wrote about was a state of mind--the one you go forth with. If you allow it, Baconburg, or whatever you hope to find, will find you.


August 14, 2014

Mr Pinkwater,

The young son of a friend of mine is at the age when all things gross are of interest and she happened to mention that his current interest is ear wax. I seem to remember that one of your books dealt with a creature that ate ear wax but I can't tell from the list of titles of your books which book it is – can you help me and make a little boy happy?

My nephew as a child was a fan of your books and even sent one to you which you kindly autographed. I hope this request is simpler.

Many thanks. – Faith

Daniel replies:

It's The Moosepire.

David Allen

August 14, 2014

Daniel – the correct car for you is the VW Touareg. It's a big powerful car that will make getting around so easy, but the best feature is the seat! It has the presets like you described in the BMW, BUT is has a feature that will retract the steering wheel and move the seat back all the way when the key is removed from the ignition. This makes it a dream to get in and out of. Then when you start the car the next time, the seat will return to your pre-programmed position. It can even make you preset remember your key so that other driver's won't disturb your settings – assuming they use their own key!

Daniel replies:

Even the VW New Beetle was quite accessible. (I think there are remarks of mine about it somewhere on the Car Talk website.) Apparently there are plenty of fat Germans, as most cars from there fit me nicely. I note your remarks about the Touareg, and should VW's advertising agency read this, I am available for a campaign aimed at Fat Americans, in exchange for large sums of money and a car. Dark blue, I think.

Tess Felter

August 5, 2014

Hello! I'm a big fan of Daniel Pinkwater, especially The Neddiad and The Yggesey, and
I thought you'd be able to help me with something.

I'm participating in GISHWHES this year,
(If you are puzzled, look here

it's a sort of scavenger hunt,and one of my responsibilities is to complete this challenge:

"Get a previously published Sci-Fi author to write an original story (140 words max) about Misha Collins, the Queen of England and an Elopus"

(misha collins as in the actor from the popular television show "Supernatural")
(an elopus is an elephant/octopus creature)

if you could help me out with this and email me back a story, I'd be eternally grateful!

Thank you!


Daniel replies:

Nope. Sorry. Not my thing. Why don't you ask Harlan Ellison?