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Man eating a hot dog a day for 31 days

Man eating a hot dog a day for 31 days
Playboy Playmate of the Year Jayde Nicole (L) and Playmate Joe Garcia (C) serve veggie hot dogs as part of an event put on by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to call out against National Hot Dog Month, on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 15, 2009. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch) | License Photo

NATICK, Mass., July 28 (UPI) -- A Massachusetts man said he is touring the region's hot dog eateries on his quest to eat a frankfurter a day for 31 days.

Rob Merlino, 47, of Natick, said he is celebrating July's National Hot Dog Month by having one hot dog for lunch each day during the month, The Boston Globe reported Thursday.

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Merlino, who operated his own hot dog truck for six years, said he has eaten hot dogs grilled, steamed, fried, and boiled from area businesses including restaurants, carts, trucks and box car diners.

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"Everybody's making a big deal out of it, 'Oh my gosh, that's a lot of hot dogs,''' Merlino said.

"But the guy who won the Nathan's contest ate twice as much as I'll eat in a month, in about 15 minutes,'' he said, referring to Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest winner Joey Chestnut, who downed 62 dogs in 10 minutes.

Merlino said his quest stemmed from his Web site, thehotdogtruck.com, which highlights locations to find hot dogs in New England.

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"People say New England's not hot dog country, but there's a real rich tradition of hot dogs in New England and the Boston area,'' he said.

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