Sometimes you can have a perfectly good, but not spectacular, dining experience that is elevated (or the opposite) by the environment in which you “dine”. Such is the case with Irving’s Red Hots…. The stand is located on a grassy knoll in the center of Ketchum during the Summer and the bottom of the Warm Springs lift in the Sun Valley Resort in the Winter…..Closed for a time in the Spring and Fall, its reopening is always happily anticipated….A perfectly simple and straightforward hot dog, bun (and chili if desired) this hot dog (or polish sausage) is served with whatever combination of “the works” that one wants. Ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, a pickle spear and, of course, warm sauerkraut on the Kraut dog…it is always served with a pepperoncini and chips. A chili bread bowl is available in the winter… Most everyone has a prepaid card on file at Irvings…..



Not every food experience has a happy ending. Sometimes something so simple and good can be ruined by corporate policies… I remember the “olden days” when one could go to Costco and get a their well-known hot dog… For some it is still the dog they have always loved…..But ever since they took out the big stainless pot in the steam tray, that was filled with “all you can load up” warm sauerkraut…..it has never been the same…..It just doesn’t work with small chilled or room temperature (dry) sauerkraut in little plastic containers…..the thrill is gone……..


My mother was the middle child of five…but for many years she was a youngest child. Her two, much older, sisters had formed a kitchen “team” with their mother and they didn’t want her in the way. So…. she never learned how to cook. She spent a lot of time with her father having “intellectual” discussions and sometimes going to work with him. He died, tragically, when she was 12. Her mother soon remarried, as one did in those days, the younger children fit in with the new husband’s once motherless children but my mother was, once again, the odd “man” out.
The only things she ever cooked when we were growing up was a very good sour apple pie for Thanksgiving (pumpkin too..but the recipe was on the can) and very occasionally blintzes…which were also quite good.