The Frankfurters' Hot Dog Contest

National Hot Dog Month

Reading Comprehension for July 2

The Frankfurter family enjoys a big farm family reunion every summer in July. Under a canopy of leafy green oak and maple trees, they arrange picnic tables. They spread old quilts on the ground for small children and adventurous adults. To the north stands the white farmhouse. To the west lies the large vegetable garden. To the east is the cornfield where the green stalks are topped by golden tassels that nod in the summer breeze; farther off in the distance lies a purple ridge of mountains. To the south one can see the family's apple orchard with round trees full of little green apples. It is the ideal spot for an old-fashioned family picnic.

Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews have all arrived and greeted each other with hugs and the usual chatter. Cottony clouds drift in a periwinkle sky. Darrel Frankfurter, having set up a giant grill at the canopy's edge, begins cooking hot dogs for all those gathered under the trees. His wife, Darla, carries out trays of hot dog toppings with the help of their four children - Douglas, Danielle, Devon, and Sarabeth. In joyful abandon gallops Fritzie, the family dog. With so much food to snatch and so many children to chase, he is in his element.

"Say, Darrel," calls Lewis Frankfurter, "how are those tube steaks coming?" He strolls up to have a look.

Darrel turns several sizzling hot dogs over to reveal the black stripes on their bellies. "Do you want me to put you to work, cousin? Strap on an apron and grab a pair of tongs; the food's almost ready!"

Lewis hollers, "Come and get it!" Everyone stampedes to get into line with plates in hand.

From the grill, the line snakes around the condiment table. Bowls, jars, and bottles of every imaginable topping are laid out for use.

Darla picks up the microphone attached to her karaoke machine to make an announcement. "Hello, all you hot dog lovers!" she begins. "It's time for our hot dog contest!" All chatter stops, until the only sound is that of a birdsong. "Last year's winner was Toby Weiner, who invented the Barbecue Dog. He slathered barbecue sauce over his hot dog and added crushed potato chips on top. Mmmmm, good!" Toby's mother was a Frankfurter until she married a Weiner. "Have fun experimenting with your hot dogs!" Darla continues. "When you think you've found a tasty combination, write it down on a three-by-five card and drop it in this box. The judges will try the suggested combinations, and a winner will be announced later today. Good luck!"

The Frankfurter kids, who have never won the contest, are determined to invent new and exciting ways to eat hot dogs. They line up at the table with their relatives and start grabbing ingredients.

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