I can see some humor in that last word balloon, since they’re really just complimenting the cart-owner’s steamer. It’s an awfully long, needless setup if that’s the intended punchline. I’m just glad the punchline wasn’t some sort of euphemism I was trying to avoid seeing in the third panel!
@ Pete (6) - In this case “back then” is not quite as old as one might otherwise think. The signature in the last panel shows that this strip could not have been drawn earlier than the late 50’s, but my impression (from the flat, motionless figures) is that it is probably later than that (late 60’s or early 70’s). In any case, the lack of humor clearly shows that Mutt and Jeff should have been shelved long before its final demise in 1982.
The “a loaf of bread and a pound of meat” thing is apparently a traditional hot dog sales cry, akin to “extra! extra! read all about it!” for newspapers. Daniel Pinkwater mentions it in one of his descriptions of 1970s-ish Hoboken.
Tradition, shmadrition. If you advertise “a loaf of bread and a pound of meat” and deliver a standard hot dog, you’re guilty of misleading advertising. Granted “a loaf of bread” can cover an indefinite range of sizes and weights, but a pound is a pound is a pound (avoirdupois). While one pound hot dogs exist now (O, the obesity!), standard ones are six or eight to the pound.