According to both common sense and the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are two truths about hot dogs which neither science nor industry can afford to ignore: kids love hot dogs, and hot dogs are the perfect size and shape for a child to choke on. To wit: "If you were to take the best engineers in the world and asked them to design a perfect plug for a child's airway, you couldn't do better than a hot dog," one AAP doctor said.
As such, the hot dog is in need of a redesign. So the folks at Fast Company took a look at California design house RKS's quest to cook up a completely rethought hot dog, and they did it using a design tool that is decidedly child-approved: the Play-Doh Fun Factory.
The team started with a blank slate but eventually decided that – in a tip of their hats to tradition – they wouldn't radically alter the hot dog's essence; a meat product, packaged with a bun, that more or less serves as a vehicle to get otherwise unmanageable condiments from plate to mouth.
After experimenting with hollowed-out dogs, dogs with grooves cut into the sides and even some wieners resembling the more complicated organelles of a living cell, they finally settled on the design below.
While the notion of redesigning foods to make them less dangerous seems a bit over-ambitious to us – a simple pretzel nearly felled the leader of the free world, proving there's really no telling what size and shape of delectable snack food is really going to do you in – we are fans of this kind of outside the box thinking. And cylindrical foods really do pose a choking hazard, compounded when you introduce children to the equation. Whether the spiral dog is the future of ballpark and backyard fare is uncertain (we're thinking probably not), but just in case we're already thinking up ways to capitalize on the new design. Foie gras–stuffed, bacon wrapped slinky dogs anyone?
If you want to see more hot dog schematics and Play-Doh creations, check out RKS's Flickr page.
Ugh. Can't they at least make it colored like the old hot dog? Green is such an appetite-killing color for meat.
Nevermind. Didn't notice that that's play-doh, not meat.
Can't we just let natural selection take care of this one?
Give this enough time to play out, and eventually humans will evolve to be better equipped for defeating their natural enemy, the hotdog.
Only if the hotdogs don't out compete us...
A future dominated by meat filled casings, ensconsed in bleached white flour buns sounds delicious, and I for one welcome our hotdog overlords.
Coil, for the win!
It is the responsibility of every adult to parent other's children and reduce their own joy of life into a world entirely covered in padding and soft corners.
I'll have my strained peas now, thank you.
Why redesign it? I don't think you'll choke on a hotdog if you just chew properly.
sirald66, are you suggesting children won't enjoy a coil shaped hot dog? That to make it into a coil would ruin their fun? That to try and prevent death by choking because we know children don't always chew their food will somehow rob them of some important life experience?
@Whys333...Yes. All children are endowed with the HUMAN right to gobble down phalluses and buns.
I, like Sirald, worry that we are socially engineering out competence. If we don't provide children with challenges (such as hotdogs) early in life, they will lose the ability to deal with those types of challenges later in life (following a language acquisition analogue). Instead of spending money on new fangled meat sacks, parents should spend the money learning first aid skills and safely allow children the freedom to fail and more importantly LEARN.
DOWN WITH THE HOTDOG OVERLORDS!
First, the unusual shape would create a bit of a cooking puzzle. How long does it have to cook and will it break up on the grill if moved around a bit? Some hotdogs split when you cook them, so would these coiled dogs break up and be impossible to get into a bun as a single piece? I'm guessing cooking is faster since they're thinner than a normal hotdog. How would you even package a hotdog shaped like this anyways and keep its shape through shipping without compressing it and squishing it?
My niece almost choked to death eating a hotdog when she was about 3 years old, so doing something like this is good in my opinion (her mom was a CNA at the time and even though she's trained in the Heimlich maneuver and stuff, she still froze up because it was her kid that was choking).
There's this guy who worked at a hot dog company who said, "There's one thing I would never ever eat in this world. And that is a hot dog." When asked why he would never eat it, the man replied "Because I know what goes into a hot dog."
That statement makes me scared.
When its your kid that is choking on a hotdog, let's see you say the same thing.
Even if you do, what a horrible thing to say. You're an awful human being for even thinking such a thing. You think keeping children safe is so easy? Do you even have kids? Probably not. And if you do, I'd be inclined to call social services on you and get them to a safe environment.
It's the role of the parents to teach their children how to eat food, if that's not possible, then perhaps those parents shouldn't be having children. It's a two way street. You can blame the parents for not raising their children correctly, and you can also blame the food manufactures for creating food that can be choked on.
I guess its in agreement that ONLY KIDS EAT HOTDOGS????
Just because of failed parenting of some tards to teach their little carpet grubs to chew their food properly, they de-humanize one of the most favorite foods and world renown foods in history!
Too much concern on safety is dumbing society down. Please stop peeing in the gene pool!
@Cookiees453. amen. Also, blaming the food manufacturer is using a scape goat. A choking hazard? don't feed it to them or teach them how to chew. Simple as that, be a parent. Don't want to be a responsible parent? buy bigger hot dogs.
Hot dogs shouldn't even be a children's food, read Kormiko's comment. That's like feeding your kid McDees every day and complaining the food size/shape is a health risk.
Meanwhile, they should re-engineer the shapes of baby carrots, grapes, almonds, and all candy.
Corr, Cookiees453, NikitaJ and Mescha have it right. This sort of effort is more about removing responsibility than it is about removing risk. On this same topic, here is an article from CBS News last week about pediatricians looking to have certain foods labeled with choking hazard warnings:
The issue in question appears to be resolved rather easily, as stated in the excerpt below, quoted from the same article:
'Doctors say high-risk foods, including hot dogs, raw carrots, grapes and apples - should be cut into pea-sized pieces for small children to reduce chances of choking. Some say other risky foods, including hard candies, popcorn, peanuts and marshmallows, shouldn't be given to young children at all.'
The solution is simple: Be smart. Use common sense. Take responsibility for yourself, and those under your care. The system is not accountable for your safety in this world. You are.
Soliok, all very true. But honestly, what's the big deal about a coil shaped hot dog? It seems like everyone is trying to turn this into some sort assault on food by big brother. Recent government talk of taxing sugar certainly falls into that category, but a coil shaped hot dog? Seriously, who cares? It wouldn't bother me and kids might find it fun. Hot dogs are utter crud anyway. Are you telling me you eat it for the shape?
I would love a coil shaped hot dog, but everything must be done right. I don't want them replacing 'conventional' hot dogs, I want it to have 1 spot right next to the 15 or so spots the hot dog has at a supermarket.
But it might not catch on, a lot of people are already turned off by what goes in a hot dog, now they're going to think "look at that unnaturally shaped coil of crud."
The Lifesaver candy shape, with a center hole, was invented to prevent choking on hard candy. A new hot dog with the center removed like the cross-section of a Lifesaver could solve the problem. You might even be able to pipe ketchup and mustard inside!
I think the 2D hot dog is best idea yet. There is only one small problem...it already exists! They call this miraculous, life-saving invention bologna.
Has anyone ever considered that hotdogs were just not designed to be eaten by children??? There is a reason that infants eat babyfood, dogs eat dogfood, etc. A simple thing like parents cutting the hotdog up into small pieces would solve the problem too. And yes if the hotdog were re-designed it WOULD taste differently, it would not be a hotdog anymore, the way a food is shaped does change the taste...
Its articles like these that make me lose faith in humanity. Redisigning the hotdog so that kids don't choke. I mean really. Any body from the 50's to the 90's, how many cases of death by hotdog have you heard, i doubt very little. now if some stupid brats today want to swallow the damned thing whole without chewing sure go ahead, ull choke. are you going to tell me that we will have to redesign sticky candy cause it can stick to our throats, pasta becuase its long and it can ttangle itself in our air ways, or maybe water, we have to redesign water because kids can drown while drinking it.
I meant to say I doubt, alot, probably very little cases
I think that the thought behind this idea is good but it may not catch on. I would by a slinky dog if i ever saw one though. I wonder how hard it is to cook a slinky dog anyway?
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wowlfie03/01/10 at 1:15 pm
Why not just make it flat like a hamburger and call it the hot dog 2D? Would still taste the same!
They've already got it. It's called balony.
However, there's the triangular shape, which will still give kids that hot dog sensation. And in the meantime, moms can just split it down the middle.
Just put it in a tube so you can squeeze out the meat paste. No chewing/choking needed. Or just leave it as is and put instructions on the pkg for the mother to pre-chew the food for the little ones.
I like tandigfoot's idea. A hotdog with a hole in the middle would work just fine for me. However, can't we all stop carping about this!? This article is about people seeing an issue, and coming up with a way to solve it. Can't we respect that? If some mother out there would feel more comfortable feeding her children a slinky or lifesaver or 2D hotdog instead of the traditional kind, that is perfectly fine and she has every right to feel that way.
Many years ago I used to feed my kids fried balogna and would roll it up calling it a "poor mans hot dog" they loved it.
50 years later they still refer to them as being yummy