Elementary: Grades 3–4
Allan and Ruth sat on a curb, trying to figure out how to learn about hot dogs. "Hey, Allan!" somebody called. It was Allan's friend Carlos from school. "What's up?" he asked.
"Hey. We've got a chance to get free hot dogs, but we've got to figure out why hot dogs are such a big deal here. And I have no idea," Allan said with a sigh.
"Hot dogs? Man, my family knows all about that. Come on, let's ask my dad," Carlos said.
Carlos led Allan and Ruth down the street to his parents' food stand. "My whole family's worked with hot dogs since they came from Mexico," Carlos explained.
"Do you sell them?" Ruth asked.
"Nope, we sell food from Mexico," Carlos explained. "Papa, why are hot dogs important?" Carlos asked his father, who was cooking meat for tacos on a hot grill.
"It's how we make a living. A lot of people came from Mexico to work for meat companies. Hard work, but it's my job," Carlos's dad explained.
"What do you do exactly?" Allan asked.
"I use my cleaver every day until my wrists hurt," Carlos's dad said.
"What's a cleaver?" Ruth asked.
"This," Carlos's dad showed them a heavy steel and wood tool with a large, rectangular blade. "I cut up meat with it," he explained. "But Carlos's mom works making hot dogs."
"Really?" exclaimed Allan and Ruth at the same time.
"Sure, at Oscar Mayer. The meat comes to her in a long tube, and she twists the tube into hot dogs. So for us hot dogs are important because they're our living, along with this stand." Carlos's dad pulled an ear of corn from a steaming bin of hot water and covered it butter, mayonnaise, lime, and chile. "Enough about hot dogs. Try an elote.
"Ummm, do you have ketchup?" Allan asked.