updated July 14, 2016
“Atlas: Short Stories” by Connor Coyle, 2015, Gothic Funk Books
Written in a Gothic Funk Style with a cover photo of the sign at Atlas Coney Island, these Flint-centric short stories are laced with interesting information and real history about the Flint Coney. What’s great about this book is a mix of accuracy about the history and makeup of the Flint Coney represented in the Gothic Funk style. Koegel’s becomes the “Richard Goerlich Bavarian Encased Meat Company, later known simply as ‘Goerlich’s'”, autoworkers are refered to as “Automobilians”, and Flint itself is “Akawe”, the author’s finctionalized city refered to in others of his works. But the accuracy within the fictionalized narrative is spot-on, including “Finely ground beef heart and beef kidney, mixed with beef suet, browned minced onions, and sanguined spices … Something magical. Nobody knows what but the coney chefs, and if they told then they would not be gods.”“The Wurst of Lucky Peach: A Treasury of Encased Meat”, 2016, Lucky Peach/Clarkson Potter
In her contribution to this collection, titled simply “Coney Island Dogs”, Metro Times Dining Editor Serena Maria Daniels gives the unfortunate impression that only the Flint Coney sauce contains beef heart, not including Detroit or Jackson in this. She also mistakenly states some Flint Coney restaurants use ground hot dogs in their sauces. Lucky Peach is the only food writing periodical we have an active subscription to, and Ms. Daniels writing for the Metro Times is always spot-on. At this point it’s difficult to fault her for passing on information that runs rampant on the internet today. However, multiple attempts to contact the author and the editor about the errors (with references) have gone unanswered. The rest of the book is worth more than the current price though, and should be purchased by any of the wurst afficianados.
|“Two to Go: A Short History of Flint’s Coney Island Restaurants”, 2007, Genesee County Historical Society
So far the only real definitive work on the subject, this pamphlet was published as simple stapled pages similar to a magazine and made available in the retail store at the Sloan Museum. In late October 2012, Genesee County Historical Society President David White told us the Society only had a few copies left. The book is full of anecdotes from the heyday of the Flint Coney, such as Albert Koegel having onion chopping challenges with coney shop employees, and how the 1947 flood in downtown Flint affected the coney shops. There are maps with ownership histories, and on the back page are two good sauce recipes, one with ground hot dogs, the other with beef heart and cumin.
|“Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good”, by Kathleen Flinn, 2014, Viking Adult
A strong and fun collection of food stories that shaped the life of this popular food writer and author, she also perpetuates the popular myth of “My uncle … wheedled this sauce recipe from a Flint’s Original employee in the 1950s …”, subsequently including a variation of the popular but inaccurate (i.e., not the “original”) Flint sauce recipe that includes ground hot dogs.
|“Coney Detroit”, by Katherine Yung & Joe Grimm, 2012, Painted Turtle
While focusing most of the book on the wetter Detroit-style coneys, the authors devote a chapter each to the Flint- and Jackson-style coneys. There is a very brief history included, along with where Flint’s coney culture is today, and look at the Dedivanaj family, owners of the rather popular Mega Coney Island at Owen Rd. and US-23 in Fenton. No recipes are included.
|“Man Bites Dog: Hot Dog Culture in America (Studies in Food and Gastronomy)” by Bruce Kraig and Patty Carroll, 2012, AltaMira Press
The Flint Coney is given a passing mention on a number of pages in this book, but is generally lumped in with the Jackson and/or Detroit varieties. No recipes are included.
|“Remembering Flint, Michigan: Stories from the Vehicle City”, by Gary Flinn, 2010, American Chronicles (History Press)
The author spends a few pages covering the chronology of some of the early restaurants on the history of the Flint Coney. He’s also included a variation of the recipe that includes ground hot dogs. and a plug for Gracie’s Famous Original Coney Island Sauce.
|“Pure Michigan: Eating Fresh and Local in the Great Lakes State” by Midwest Living Magazine, 2010, Meredith Books
Angelo’s is given a couple passing mentions in this seeming collection of information culled from the pages of Midwest Living magazine. The implication is that Angelo’s is the home/origin of the Flint-style coney, which is incorrect. While recipes such as Chef Alan Merhar’s Grilled Lamb Chops (Evans Street Station, Tecumseh) are amazing and worth a try, the information in the book is dated and sometimes inaccurate. (i.e., “Eve” in Ann Arbor closed a few years before the book was published, replaced with “Frita Batidos”.)
|“Hot Dog: A Global History (Edible)” by Bruce Kraig, 2009, Reaktion Books
This is a good, quick treatise on the history of the hot dog itself from a global perspective. Unfortunately, when it comes to the Flint style Coney the book ends up being just a little off-base. While getting the history of the Flint version fairly correct, the sauce recipe on page 117 is, in fact, the one recipe people should be avoiding. This recipe is probably one of those that was posted to the internet before the person who posted it even tried it, and people simply assume it’s right. It’s about as far from the original as it gets, with absolutely horrible flavor and texture.