pretzel dog

It’s about the N + N compound pretzel dog, and its many possible understandings: a dog that delivers pretzels, a dog that likes pretzels, a dog twisted into the shape of a pretzel (or merely contorted), a dog-like object made of pretzels, and so on.

If I tell you that the dog in pretzel dog is to be understood as short for hot dog ‘frankfurter’, you’ll come up with another set of possible understandings: a contorted hot dog, a hot dog with pretzel bits on it, a frankfurter-like object made of pretzels, and so on. But unless you’ve actually experienced something marketed as a pretzel dog (at a Sonic Drive-In or from the Auntie Anne’s company, say), you probably woudn’t think of interpreting pretzel as a reference to pretzel dough. But that’s where we’re going.

Sonic: The Original Pretzel Dog and the Cheesy Bacon Pretzel Dog. As announced with great flourish on June 20th (text reproduced here without editing):

Oklahoma City — SONIC® Drive-In (NASDAQ: SONC) is bringing back a fun twist on everyone’s favorite summertime meal by reintroducing two delicious Pretzel Dogs for a limited time. With one bite, fans will remember why Pretzel Dogs make a craveable meal or perfect go-to snack when paired with crispy SONIC tots and a classic Cherry Limeade.

Hot dog fans can choose between two savory flavors: the Cheesy Bacon Pretzel Dog made with a premium beef hot dog topped with melty cheese, crispy bacon and grilled onions; or The Original topped with classic mustard. Both Hot Dogs are nestled in a warm pretzel bun.

(#1) Sonic pretzel dogs
(#2) The Cheesy Bacon Pretzel Dog in close-up

“For 64 years, guests have been coming to SONIC to experience evolving and iconic menu items, including Pretzel Dogs, the distinctive twist of classic flavors and current culinary trends,” said Scott Uehlein, vice president of product innovation and development at SONIC. “With so many choosing SONIC to satisfy their hot dog cravings, welcoming Pretzel Dogs back to the lineup is the perfect way to kick off summer at the drive-in.”

SONIC’s Pretzel Dogs are available for a limited time only so head to your nearest drive-in to try one of each before they’re gone.

(The company is fond of ornamental caps: Pretzel Dogs and SONIC. No, the company name is not an acronym. From Wikipedia: “Upon learning that the Top Hat name was already trademarked, Smith and Pappe changed the name to Sonic in 1959. The new name worked with their existing slogan, “Service with the Speed of Sound.””)

Sonic on this blog previously: a 5/9/15 posting on the company and its Master Blast ice cream drinks / desserts.

Sonic’s pretzel dogs are ordinary hot dogs in a pretzel bun, that is, a pretzel-dough bun, a bun made from pretzel dough.

Auntie Anne’s pretzel dogs. Auntie Anne’s dogs are wrapped in pretzel dough, so they are like corndogs (wrapped in cornmeal) and bagel dogs (wrapped in bagel dough) — and American pigs in a blanket (hot dogs wrapped in biscuit dough, pancakes, or croissant dough; the name pigs in a blanket is used elsewhere for hot dogs or other sausages wrapped in bacon). A display of the company’s offerings:


About the company, from Wikipedia:


Auntie Anne’s, based in Lancaster [PA], is an American chain of pretzel shops founded by Anne Beiler and her husband, Jonas, in 1988 [as a market stand in the Downingtown, Pennsylvania Farmer’s Market]. Auntie Anne’s serves products such as pretzels [both soft and hard], dips, and beverages. They also offer Pretzels & More Homemade Baking Mix. The chain has more than 1,500 locations around the world, in shopping malls and Walmart stores, as well as non-traditional retail spaces including universities, parking/rest areas, airports, travel plazas, amusement parks, and military bases. [In the Bay Area, there are stores in Santa Clara, Milpitas, San Jose, Newark, and Fremont.]

Digression on pretzels. From Wikipedia:

A pretzel (German: Breze(l)) is a type of baked bread product made from dough most commonly shaped into a twisted knot. Pretzels originated in Europe, possibly among monks in the Early Middle Ages. The traditional pretzel shape is a distinctive nonsymmetrical form, with the ends of a long strip of dough intertwined and then twisted back into itself in a certain way (“a pretzel loop”). In the 2010s, pretzels come in a range of different shapes. Salt is the most common seasoning for pretzels, complementing the washing soda or lye treatment that gives pretzels their traditional “skin” and flavor through the Maillard reaction; other seasonings include sugars, chocolate, glazes, seeds, and/or nuts. There are several varieties of pretzels, including soft pretzels, which must be eaten shortly after preparation and hard-baked pretzels, which have a long shelf life.

(#5) Philly soft pretzels

… the S-shaped soft pretzel, often served with brown mustard, became iconic in Philadelphia and was established as a part of Philadelphia’s cuisine for snacking at school, work, or home, and considered by most to be a quick meal. The average Philadelphian today consumes about twelve times as many pretzels as the national average. Pennsylvania is the center of American pretzel production for both the hard-crispy and the soft-bread types of pretzels. Southeastern Pennsylvania, with its large population of German background, is considered the birthplace of the American pretzel industry, and many pretzel bakers are still located in the area. Pennsylvania produces 80% of the nation’s pretzels.

… Hard pretzels originated in the United States, where, in 1850, the Sturgis bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania, became the first commercial hard pretzel bakery. Snack food hard pretzels were shaped as sticks (around 3 millimetres (0.12 in) thick and 12 centimetres (4.7 in) long), loops, braids, letters or little pretzels; they have become a popular snack in many countries around the world. A thicker variety of sticks can be 1 centimetre (0.39 in) thick; in the U. S. these are called Bavarian pretzels. Unlike the soft pretzels, these were durable when kept in an airtight environment and marketable in a variety of convenience stores. Large-scale production began in the first half of the 1900s, [and expanded] during 1930 to 1950.

You can make pretzels (soft or hard) from scratch, but it’s a task, since pretzels are a species of yeast-leavened bread (with all the work that that entails) and also have a characteristic brown crust.

More X dogs. On the pattern of bagel dog and pretzel dog — X dog ‘hot dog wrapped in (baked) X dough’ — and roughly similar corndog ‘hot dog wrapped in (baked) cornmeal’, there’s also one sense of pizza dog, referring to a hot dog wrapped in (baked) pizza dough.  (Biscuit dogs and croissant dogs would be what we know in the U.S. as pigs in a blanket.)

(#6) Pizza (dough) dogs from the ChowHound site

The compound pizza dog is, of course, open to a whole host of understandings, some not involving hot dogs (a dog that delivers pizza, a dog that likes to eat pizza), some of those not even subsective (a dog-like object in a pizza pattern), some involving hot dogs with characteristic pizza toppings rather than pizza dough:

(#7) Mozzarella and pepperoni pizza dogs

There’s a lot you can do with N + N compounds. And with various kinds of dough, for that matter.

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