Is a hot dog a sandwich?

This morning, I ran across an interesting post on the Duggar Family News page. A woman wrote this:


She got a lot of responses to her query. One person wrote that by simply not believing in evolution, the poster was not a believer in science. Another wrote that science isn’t like a buffet. You can’t just pick and choose what you believe in and what you don’t. But the response that actually got me to thinking was this one:

Wow… how profound.

Is bread really essential to a sandwich? And does the presence of bread with a filling automatically make something a sandwich? As Bill and I ate delicious grits from South Carolina, we discussed this conundrum. The above posters got some interesting responses to her comment, too.

So… according to the original poster, without bread, you don’t have a sandwich. But a hot dog, which is a sausage between a bun, which can be separated, is NOT a sandwich…

I decided to see what the experts had to say about this. I found that Merriam-Webster does, in fact, consider a hot dog a sandwich. Merriam-Webster defines a sandwich thusly:

1) two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between 
2) one slice of bread covered with food

So, according to a major dictionary, a hot dog, which is a type of sausage surrounded by a roll, is a sandwich. Makes sense to me. But then I went looking on the Internet and found that this topic is surprisingly controversial. Many people seem to think that a hot dog isn’t a sandwich because, despite its meeting the definition of a sandwich, it just isn’t. I found an article about this very topic which claims that out of 34 actors, writers, athletes, journalists, radio personalities, and musicians don’t think the hot dog qualifies as a sandwich. Only nine people surveyed answered that hot dogs definitely are sandwiches.

So why isn’t a hot dog a sandwich? Some people say that in order to be a sandwich, the bread has to be open on all sides. And because most hot dogs are served encased in a roll, it doesn’t qualify as a sandwich because on one side, there is a closed seam. However, I have eaten hot dogs in which the bun is pulled apart. Does that mean that since the seam was breached, my hot dog has become a sandwich? What about a burger? Is a burger a sandwich since the sides of the bread are open?

Other people said it wasn’t a sandwich because it’s not called a sandwich on a menu. Actually, this thought was pretty interesting to me, since in the course of researching this topic, I learned that hot dogs have quite an intriguing history and, in fact, were originally called sandwiches. However, according to the article I linked, written by Kathryn Paravano,

“In 1971, the state of New York passed a law which imposed a state and city sales tax to restaurant bills that totaled more than a dime and less than a dollar. The price range earned the tax moniker “hot dog tax” because it boosted the tax on lunches, namely the most popular lunch item — the hot dog.”

So calling a hot dog a sandwich would have made it more economical. In the same article, Paravano points out that states purposely refused to define hot dogs as sandwiches because hot dogs were a moneymaker for the government in the form of higher taxes. Some people who protested the so-called “hot dog tax” rightly stated that the tax unfairly targeted the poor, who were more likely to eat hot dogs for lunch instead of something more high brow.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council states that hot dogs are NOT sandwiches. And this is their inane reasoning why:

“Our verdict is…a hot dog is an exclamation of joy, a food, a verb describing one ‘showing off’ and even an emoji. It is truly a category unto its own.”

Well… I think that’s overstating things a bit. Clearly, they say it’s not a sandwich because of money. Personally, I rarely eat hot dogs anymore. They bring back a lot of bad childhood memories. Aside from that, they’re kind of gross, even if they do taste good. But anyway, as far as this topic goes, I agree with Merriam-Webster. I think a hot dog IS a sandwich. It literally qualifies as a sandwich. As for whether or not you can make a sandwich without bread… well, I don’t know. You can make sandwich cookies, right? And ice cream sandwiches… and sandwich crackers. Technically, those items are cousins of bread. What makes bread bread, anyway? And can a person be “sandwiched” between two other people? I may have to think about this topic some more.

As for the post that prompted today’s topic, I think that fundie Christians who only believe in some aspects of proven scientific theories because of their beliefs in God aren’t particularly scientific. I think that Christians can be science believers… I guess, anyway. It probably depends on the church. I grew up mainstream Presbyterian and mainstream Presbyterians are big believers in education. But, as we all know, not all Christians are created equally. Plenty of Christians aren’t members of churches that are big on schooling. They only believe in God.

I think the woman who posted in the Duggar group is probably regretting her decision now. I need to find another rabbit hole to fall down.


2 thoughts on “Is a hot dog a sandwich?

  1. This is the kind of deep philosophical discussion that is needed now more than ever. All the other arguments just get people more angry, sometimes to the point of violence. This is a nice break from that daily conflict. As long as nobody asks Trump what he thinks we’ll all be okay.

Comments are closed.