Is A Hot Dog A Sandwich? The Verdict is In

Since the beginning of time, man has wondered "is this food a sandwich?" Though other controversial cases remain, we've been duly informed that hot dogs are sandwiches, so it's time to let this one go. The devastating hot dog news, via The Daily Dot, basically changes everything. But Merriam-Webster has decided, and you know you're not going to win if you go up against that kind of authority.

This casual "hot dog is a sandwich" pronouncement was controversial anyways, of course. When you ask someone to "bring you back a sandwich," you'd be surprised if they got you a hot dog, right? No one says they're looking forward to "their sandwich" at the ballpark or Coney Island, either.

The category of "sandwich" has various legal implications, too. There have been legal fights over "sandwiches" for the purpose of deciding what gets taxed how, and whether a burrito vendor is the competitor of another selling sandwiches to clarify a lease contract. As NPR summed it up:

An ice cream sandwich isn't really a sandwich, according to the feds. But we call it that. A taco is not a sandwich in New York. But a burrito somehow is. But New York hasn't explained why — at least not yet.

And that's the difficulty in writing definitions. Our concepts seem kind of clear, right up until they don't, and intuitions aren't always shared. Most people accept that two pieces of bread containing a filling is a sandwich. That is, unless the "filling" is insubstantial, like calling butter on a roll a "sandwich" — what the hell, New York? Then again, many bagel places do use so much cream cheese that your bagel seems like a sandwich, or at least weighs as much as one. I don't know.

Even more controversy comes from the second, less obvious part of the "sandwich" definition offered by Merriam-Webster in its related article: "one slice of bread covered with food." This part of the definition seems to capture hot dogs (though does the meat tube really cover the bread?) It also means that, for instance, a cracker spread with toppings as an appetizer is a "sandwich." And I think by this definition a piece of pizza also counts as a "sandwich," as it is clearly a slice of crust-bread covered with food.

Ok so we definitely lost this round guys. Enjoy your Memorial Day sandwiches, everybody.

Images: HannahChen/Pixabay, Giphy(2)