Carl White’s Life in the Carolinas

Carl White’s syndicated column features stories about his journey as a TV producer and host. Carl says “I am writing about the people I meet as I travel and the interesting places visited. They do not all end up on TV, but a lot do and everyone becomes a friends. It’s a wonderful journey”

Below you will find a sampling of Carl’s columns. To read them in a paper nearest you, please subscribe to:

Greenwood, SC: Index Journal
Cheraw, SC: The Link
Lenoir, NC: The News Topic
Wilkes County, NC: The Record
Alleghany, NC: Alleghany News
Spruce Pines, NC: Mitchell News

Miles and Miles of Hotdogs from an Igloo

How do you eat a mile-long hot dog? One foot at a time or at least that’s how Linda Green approaches the process. Linda Green stopped in at the Igloo shop in Millers Creek NC to pick up her order. Linda likes her hotdog all the way which includes a split grilled hotdog on a toasted bun with mustard, Chili, onions, and slaw. Linda is a loyal customer who has been getting her hot dog, and ice cream fix at the Igloo for the past 40 years.

When I ask her how many she had ordered over the years, it seemed to work out to average 2-3 for most weeks. With a mile having 5,280 feet it has taken 40 years, but Linda is close to either side of a mile of delicious hot dog bliss. 

Matt Maston was also in line, he has been placing his Igloo order for more than 30 years, he’s another fan of the all the way dog, and he is well on the way to his membership in the hot dog mile club. Matt recalled attending the school across the street from the Igloo and making regular trips.

Nowadays the menu offers up a variety of other options however the hot dog rules supreme at the Igloo. The business opened in 1976 and was owned and operated by Chancie and Ruth Ashley who were chicken farmers. The chicken business was changing, and the couple wanted to look at other income sources. The building was a mail-order novelty concept. When the Igloo opened for business the people in the surrounding area enjoyed visiting for ice cream. After two years the hotdogs were added to the menu, and over time the chili and slaw were perfected and become a favorite for loyal customers.

Kay Call is the daughter of Chancie and Ruth Ashley and is now the owner, she recalled the opening days when for the first two years ice-cream was the only offering.  Hotdogs were the first non-ice-cream food added; the boiled hotdogs were a favorite however when the grill was added customers loved the extra flavor profile of grilling the dog to finish it off. The chili was and still is made from scratch with a slight sweetness and a nice texture.  The slaw is made fresh and not complicated.

Cindy Dillard has been employed at the Igloo for 28 years and was working the grill during my visit. Cindy moved around the kitchen and filled order after order with the greatest of ease.

Debbie Whitley has been employed for a few years and said she enjoys being part of the 7-8-person team that keeps the food flowing.

Cindy said the chili and slaw are so well-liked that a lot of the regulars order their dogs sloppy, which is double the amount of an already generous portion.  “It’s sloppy alright, and it’s good.”

I do not doubt that there are many unofficial members of the hot dog mile club. It’s easy to lose track over the years, but one thing is for sure. The modest hot dog has a way of bringing people together and producing a lot of smiles.

Kay has done an excellent job of giving the hot dog its place of honor and respect. She has also preserved a piece of our Americana landscape. Most of the Igloo buildings have been taken down. However, the one in the Millers Creek community is standing and is home to a revolving door leading to miles and miles of tasty hot dogs.

You will need a napkin!