|the cheese coney in its natural habitat|
I sort of forget about all this until I recently came across the following infographic (from The Food Republic):
|click to enlarge|
The coney is about one-third of the way down, ensconced between the Montreal, the Italian, and the Kansas City. (Is that right? Should their names be preceded by definite articles?) Only upon seeing the coney surrounded by geographically named hot dog variants did it occur to me to ask, after 30 years of eating cheese coneys, What on Earth does a cheese coney have to do with the place of Coney Island? This quickly led to a second question I'd never thought to investigate before, either: Why is there a place in Cincinnati called "Coney Island" which is not on an island, and does it have anything to do with delicious food?
Things I Learned about Cheese Coneys:
Like all foods, no one agrees on who invented the cheese coney or where. Wikipedia claims (I know, but I'm writing this blog entry in 30 minutes, and you're getting what you're paying for):
In 1913 the Coney Island Chamber of Commerce in New York had banned the use of the term "hot dog" on restaurant signs on Coney Island, an action prompted by concerns about visitors taking the term literally and assuming there was dog meat in the sausage. Because of this action by the Chamber of Commerce, immigrants passing through the area didn't know the sausage in a bun by the American moniker "hot dog." Instead, the handheld food would have been known to immigrants as a "coney island."But it also says the Coney Island hot dog may have been first served in Fort Wayne, Indiana, or Jackson, Michigan. Not sure why Coney Island itself is not a contender!
|the two Coney Islands|
courtesy Google Street View
Things I Learned about Coney Island, the Place in Cincinnati, Not New York:
I don't know when I learned Coney Island was not originally a place in Cincinnati-- for me that's still the primary association. We used to go every summer when I was in Boy Scouts, for the Dan Beard Council Family Jamboree. I don't think I've ever ridden on one of the park's amusement park rides, but I have spent the night many times, and handed out samples of freshly cooked Dutch oven cobbler! (Our specialties in Troop 641 were peach, apple spice, and, best of all, chocolate cherry.) I still remember watching The Incredible Mr. Limpet, and when its cartoon fish protagonist declared he was going to swim to Coney Island, thinking he had an awful long and circuitous route to follow given he was starting in the Atlantic Ocean!*
|Coney Island in 1965|
I have no clever ending to tie all this information together, but man, I could totally scarf down three Skyline cheese coneys (onions, no mustard) right now.
* I hadn't thought about this film for decades until composing this blog entry. Reading the Wikipedia entry, it sounds absolutely awful.