Delis & Dressings
May 3, 2017 10:41 PM   Subscribe

The Sandwich Alignment Chart
It's like a D&D alignment chart, but with food, using "structure" and "ingredients" as axes, ranging from "Hardcore Traditionalist" (a BLT is a sandwich) to "Radical Anarchist" (a pop-tart is a sandwich)
posted by oneswellfoop (229 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Radical Sandwich Anarchy" would make a fantastic band name.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:46 PM on May 3, 2017 [7 favorites]


Quick, someone go tell John Hodgman about this.
posted by cirrostratus at 10:48 PM on May 3, 2017 [10 favorites]




Dear god, that is a thing of beauty.

But I think for me personally, I think you're fine anywhere along the left-most column or upper-most row. You can deviate on structure or you can deviate on ingredients but you can't deviate on both at the same time and remain a sandwich.

I didn't know what about myself until I saw that chart, but it clarified my thinking.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:57 PM on May 3, 2017 [33 favorites]


I reject the ice cream taco and the chicken wrap on the grounds that the bread must not be a flatbread.
posted by a car full of lions at 11:01 PM on May 3, 2017


Not to be confused with the Burger Alignment Chart.
posted by teraflop at 11:04 PM on May 3, 2017 [13 favorites]


a pop-tart is only a sandwich if eaten cold.
posted by mullacc at 11:23 PM on May 3, 2017 [9 favorites]


What is considered a traditional filling in this chart is very US-centric. Also, what about open-face sandwiches?
posted by Dysk at 11:28 PM on May 3, 2017 [7 favorites]




Previously

I find Lore Sjöberg's transitivity argument particularly compelling.
posted by darksasami at 11:46 PM on May 3, 2017 [5 favorites]


I came out chaotic neutral on this and it felt extremely accurate as a personality test.
posted by terretu at 11:49 PM on May 3, 2017


Also, what about open-face sandwiches?

Oh God of cruel joys - now, the sandwich wars are sure to start again.

In preparation I shall acquaint myself again with the Large Sandwich Axioms, which seek to extend the empire of sandwich even further into the infinite realms.

Of course, you will all know of the Weakly and Strongly Inaccessible Sandwiches, not to mention the Unfoldable Sandwiches, Ethereal and Subtle Sandwiches - and sandwiches properties which do not even recognise the Axiom of Crust - Reinhardt Sandwiches, for example.

But for me, I think that the ultimate understanding of sandwiches inevitably involves a rejection of our deepest assumptions as to formal sandwich theory. In other words, the largest sandwich axiom - the ultimate truth - is the frightening "Bread = No Bread" property.

I apologise to sandwich finitists who may be reading this.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 11:59 PM on May 3, 2017 [48 favorites]


I'll spin my D20 for burgers... over 12 and it's In N Out Double Double, under 10 it's Big Mac...
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:05 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


This caused literally hours of debate in my office this week. Merriam-Webster's definition was thrown in as something of a counter-argument, and we eventually decided that pizza is an open face sandwich.

I may have said that when you drop a piece of bread on the ground, you make the earth an open-faced sandwich.
posted by sleeping bear at 12:05 AM on May 4, 2017 [22 favorites]


Before someone asks, this matters because of the sandwich game.
posted by sleeping bear at 12:06 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Not to be confused with the Burger Alignment Chart.

I was really hoping this would be a chart of the proper order for burger toppings. Because someone needs to create a nice infographic explaining the difference between vegetable condiments and meat condiments and which of those go on top of the bun and which on the bottom of the bun so I can take it to the cafeteria at my university and nail it to some foreheads.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:10 AM on May 4, 2017 [8 favorites]




This caused literally hours of debate in my office this week. Merriam-Webster's definition was thrown in as something of a counter-argument, and we eventually decided that pizza is an open face sandwich.

Yes, a pizza is an open-faced sandwich. Or an open-faced sandwich is a pizza. This is fine philosophical point worthy of debate, what your root food is here.

Either way, though, an open-faced sandwich is not a sandwich. Not even the radical sandwich anarchists would count it.
posted by kafziel at 12:16 AM on May 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


Wait, which one is lawful evil?
posted by klangklangston at 12:17 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Well, this was certainly a wake-up call. I'm used to finding myself on the liberal or even anarchistic side of social issues. Yet here I am, not exactly ultra-conservative, but adjacent to ultra-conservatism on sandwich definitions.

The way previously liberal folks turn into social conservatives is that issues they never thought much about suddenly become very pressing. That's how in the eighties people who'd staunchly supported feminism and the African-American civil rights struggle were uncomfortable or even hostile to gay rights. They hadn't spent time thinking about gay people and all the homophobic societal detritus had piled up in their minds, requiring much mental effort to clear out.

So today I find myself a sandwich conservative. Tomorrow's issue might be whether French fries need to be made out of potatoes but it probably will be something I won't foresee, my knee will jerk and I'll be well on my way to being someone who watches angry people on Fox Food yelling about the War on Crabcakes.
posted by Kattullus at 12:34 AM on May 4, 2017 [62 favorites]


I'll spin my D20 for burgers... over 12 and it's In N Out Double Double, under 10 it's Big Mac...

< 15, In N Out
14 - 7, 5 Guys
6 - 2, McDonalds
1 Subway
posted by mikelieman at 12:58 AM on May 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


1 Subway

Fuck Subway. They aren't sandwiches not because hoagies (subs/heroes/whatever) aren't sandwiches, but because Subway is a foul and horrible place. I know this is an unpopular opinion, but my hatred of Subway burns with the fire of a thousand suns.
posted by Literaryhero at 1:04 AM on May 4, 2017 [20 favorites]


This may be the only time in my life where I have been a Hardline Traditionalist. I am flabbergasted and feel my world has been challenged.
posted by yueliang at 1:14 AM on May 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


Fuck Subway. They aren't sandwiches not because hoagies (subs/heroes/whatever) aren't sandwiches, but because Subway is a foul and horrible place. I know this is an unpopular opinion, but my hatred of Subway burns with the fire of a thousand suns.

I couldn't articulate why you have to go there when you roll a 1 any better. Thank you.
posted by mikelieman at 1:32 AM on May 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


( FWIW, even I'm not *that* cruel, and would let you re-roll. But man, you roll a 1 twice in a row, you're making that trip.. )
posted by mikelieman at 1:34 AM on May 4, 2017 [10 favorites]


I'm willing to consider that a McDonalds Big Mac might be a sandwich since it certainly does not taste like a burger.
posted by drnick at 2:04 AM on May 4, 2017


Look, on the one hand I'm a radical anarchist so sure - pop-tarts, dim sum, whatever!

But BLT as an example of a traditional sandwich? That's just wrong. Bacon isn't even a coldcut.

ducks
posted by johnabbe at 2:10 AM on May 4, 2017


Right now I am eating a better sandwich than any of you. Three scrambled eggs, 3 strips of thick bacon between two crisp waffles that have been smeared with sour cream. The sour cream is a must but the best part is it was made and brought to me by an eleven year old boy without my asking. Yum!
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:44 AM on May 4, 2017 [13 favorites]


Yum!
posted by Mr. Yuck

Are we still doing eponysterical because seriously now
posted by ominous_paws at 2:49 AM on May 4, 2017 [47 favorites]


> what about open-face sandwiches

A pop-tart is an open-faced sandwich for frosting. A steak is an open-faced sandwich for steak sauce. Hash browns are an open-faced sandwich for salt and pepper.
posted by Phssthpok at 2:49 AM on May 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


What about a toast sandwich?
posted by ckape at 2:51 AM on May 4, 2017


I my younger days I would have come down a lot harder in the sandwich traditionalist camp. Now that I have kindergarten age kids, I see the world of possibility through their eyes. Tacos filled with rice, soy sauce, and cucumber slices? Why should I step on their dreams of what a sandwich can be?
posted by Naib at 3:02 AM on May 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


damn I can't even read the words open faced sandwich without an immediate intense craving for smoked salmon on toasted light rye with cream cheese, capers, finely chopped onion and fresh ground pepper.

and I have no salmon. you bastards.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:05 AM on May 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


I've been living in Belgium for a year and a half now, and I think some of the things I've experienced here don't fit neatly in this matrix. So... they have this thing here called the mitraillette, which is a bagette with vegetables (often optional), some fried meat-based product (could be anything), sauce and fries on top. By this categorization, it would be a True Neutral sandwich, but that feels so wrong... A mitraillette is not a sandwich in the same way a mere hot dog is.
posted by fmoralesc at 3:19 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Ah, and once I ordered a durum with fries on the side and they gave me a durum with fries in the inside.
posted by fmoralesc at 3:22 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Radical Sandwich Anarcho-socialism, thank you; pop-tarts for everyone.
posted by not the fingers, not the fingers at 3:46 AM on May 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


Pizza = a baked open-faced bao sandwich.

Wrap that around your head.
posted by jeremias at 3:46 AM on May 4, 2017


> Also, what about open-face sandwiches?

An open-faced sandwich is a sandwich in the same way that Marmite is beer.
posted by ardgedee at 3:48 AM on May 4, 2017 [20 favorites]


> Fuck Subway.

Seriously now? Subway isn't even the nadir of the sub sandwich subgenre of fast food (Jimmy John's is far worse and I won't assume that's hitting bottom either), never mind of fast food sandwiches generally.

For example, White Castle's primary offering is a paper-thin slice of meat-scented paste inside a dinner roll. I imagine it's possible to do worse than that but I don't want to think about it because it's far too early in the morning to be drinking.
posted by ardgedee at 3:53 AM on May 4, 2017 [7 favorites]


I love this mostly because I hate the just so story of the Earl of Sandwich "inventing" the sandwich. No way you are going to convince me that people at least as far back as the motherfrickin' Egyptians weren't stuffing things inside a bun or between two hunks of bread. They just weren't so vain as to assume anything they first though of in middle age must be novel.

mullacc: "a pop-tart is only a sandwich if eaten cold."

I disagree the sandwiches have an inherent need to be cold. Few would deny a grilled cheese is a sandwich yet that is served hot.

mikelieman: "( FWIW, even I'm not *that* cruel, and would let you re-roll. But man, you roll a 1 twice in a row, you're making that trip.. )"

We had a player in my regular game roll a 1 _six_ times in a row (with different dice even). How much Subway is that?
posted by Mitheral at 3:53 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Also are ice cream tacos actually a thing?
posted by Mitheral at 3:54 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Well, I say. People who conjecture that a toastie is the same as a sandwich are probably those people who "make" their cup of "tea" in the microwave device. One finds their stance on such aspects disappointingly coarse; duels have been - rightly - contested over less.
posted by Wordshore at 4:02 AM on May 4, 2017 [7 favorites]


Years ago I read that asking students to define a sandwich was a neat way to teach them about Platonic forms. I finally got to try it out, and it resulted in one of the most chaotic days all semester. Nice, quiet kids were on their feet pointing fingers and screeching at each other. Someone tried to use geometry to support their position. Pie became a sandwich. I lost nearly a whole period to the argument. Feelings were hurt.

I showed them this alignment chart on Monday and they agreed there could be no more satisfying conclusion to the argument. Harmony has been restored to our classroom universe.
posted by lilac girl at 4:11 AM on May 4, 2017 [56 favorites]


I hate the just-so story of the Earl of Sandwich "inventing" the sandwich

Interestingly, there were no Earls until the Duke of Earl, who was too engrossed in a game of poker to produce an heir, asked for a small child to be brought to him between two slices of bread. And thus he is credited with the invention of the "Earl", and justly celebrated in song.

The song in question was actually invented by the King of Duke of Earl, who asked for Gene Chandler to be brought to him between two halves of the 4/4 time signature (and in the key of F) ... but that's another story.

Well ... I say "story", actually it's a piece of bullshit that was brought to me between two pieces of tedious nonsense. Still, I am the Marquess of Story. Or am I a drunk? Well ... one of the two.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 4:12 AM on May 4, 2017 [36 favorites]


For example, White Castle's primary offering is a paper-thin slice of meat-scented paste inside a dinner roll.

That paper-thin slice of meat is steamed over a bed of onions, and feature holes in the patties to permit greater penetration of the steamed onion goodness.

Paste, maybe, but it's a transcendent paste.

it's far too early in the morning to be drinking.

Globalization and working outside your residence timezone FTW!
posted by mikelieman at 4:19 AM on May 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


The eponymous Earl's creation was not even the first documented sandwich. I submit that sandwiches and pizza are both forms of hillel.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:21 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


We had a player in my regular game roll a 1 _six_ times in a row (with different dice even). How much Subway is that?

If the DM's nice, it's Bachelor Primate Chow.

If the DM's not nice, it's Nutraloaf

If the DM is me, it's Nixon Submission Meatloaf Sammiches
posted by mikelieman at 4:23 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Radical Sandwich Anarchy was in season 4 of Community, right?
posted by valkane at 4:24 AM on May 4, 2017 [7 favorites]


Friends, friends! Please stop fighting! Considering the fact that "empanada" literally means something embedded in bread -- an embreading, if you will -- I think we can all agree that everything on this chart is actually an empanada, and there is nothing left to quarrel about.
posted by Westringia F. at 4:28 AM on May 4, 2017 [19 favorites]


It seems to me that flatness is essential to sandwichness. Also, that a sandwich should be covered in the same way on the top and bottom--that is, that it should have a vertical axis of symmetry; a sandwich turned upside-down should function more or less the same way as a sandwich not turned upside-down. Open-faced sandwiches fail this basic test of sandwichness. Burritos and chicken wraps exhibit radial symmetry, which is NOT a characteristic of sandwiches. The only reason to object to a pop-tart as a kind of sandwich is that the edges are sealed; cut the crusts off a pop-tart and you've got a sandwich. I have spoken.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 4:32 AM on May 4, 2017 [21 favorites]


That paper-thin slice of meat is steamed over a bed of onions, and feature holes in the patties to permit greater penetration of the steamed onion goodness.

QFT. This really does make all the difference. I'm going to a Derby party this weekend, and I'm pretty sure a Crave Case would be a hit... might have to make it happen.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:34 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Also are ice cream tacos actually a thing?

Yes.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:37 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I am more willing to consider a burrito to be a sandwich than a hot dog. A burrito at least demonstrates combination of ingredients, and some sort of layering. A hot dog has fewer sandwich traits than this.
posted by solarion at 4:48 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I have to go to the VA today which means lunch will be Grouper Reuben!
posted by Mr. Yuck at 4:56 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


A hot dog that does not display combination of ingredients is just a boring hot dog - this is no reason to deny sandwichness.
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:57 AM on May 4, 2017


As a staunch sandwich originalist, I may not agree with your decision to call a chocotaco a sandwich but I will defend to the death your right to do so.
posted by turbowombat at 4:57 AM on May 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


Sing Or Swim: "Burritos and chicken wraps exhibit radial symmetry, which is NOT a characteristic of sandwiches."

Radial symmetry includes vertical symmetry. If anything wraps/burritos are super sandwiches.

solarion: "A hot dog has fewer sandwich traits than this."

What kind of sad hot dogs are you eating that don't have at least 4 distinct ingredients inside the bun? Even the saddest group picnic hotdog has the potential for cheese, relish, ketchup, mustard and most likely at least some of tomato, lettuce, or onions.
posted by Mitheral at 5:00 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


What the hell... tomato?! You put KETCHUP on hot dogs. YOU DO NOT PUT TOMATO ON HOT DOGS.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

This thread is gonna get ugly.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:04 AM on May 4, 2017 [13 favorites]


Subway is a foul and horrible place.

I once heard Subway's aroma described as "the smell of running bread dough through a dishwasher". I haven't been able to forget it.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 5:06 AM on May 4, 2017 [41 favorites]


The smell or the phrase?
posted by wenestvedt at 5:21 AM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


I realized this probably requires at least college level linear algebra to correctly model, and said model would probably involve things like "eigenvectors". I was dismayed because I don't remember any of that stuff from school.

Then I realized that I don't have to do anything because it's just a silly internet thing. So I shut my laptop.

Then I saw the edge of a green post-it note showing through the two halves of the laptop.

I wept.
posted by condour75 at 5:43 AM on May 4, 2017 [15 favorites]


Size, shape, and connectedness play a roll, too. Take your standard PBJ. If I slice it in half, it's still a sandwich. Heck, quartered and most would still agree it is a sandwich. But what if I quarter the quarters, and then do that again, so each piece is roughly 1/64th of my original PBJ? At that point, I speculate that most people would no longer call it a sandwich.
posted by fings at 5:45 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


But is a hamburger a horizontal taco?
posted by drezdn at 5:50 AM on May 4, 2017


Is a salad just a dry stew?
posted by drezdn at 5:50 AM on May 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


I was shocked to find that american fast food outlets called burgers, "sandwiches"

I suppose they are right. But still, it never sat easy with me.
posted by Homemade Interossiter at 5:56 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


is schnitzel a sandwich?
posted by Homemade Interossiter at 5:58 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty radical as most people go, but no way is a poptart a sandwich. THE defining factor of a sandwich is a top carb and a bottom carb. a poptart is connected all the way around, it's a pocket.
posted by FirstMateKate at 5:59 AM on May 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


I may have said that when you drop a piece of bread on the ground, you make the earth an open-faced sandwich.

This is untrue for you, but not all the people of the world. It is wrong for you because the Earth must be a topping. It must be on top of the bread. For you it is below the plane of the bread, and so false. For people below the plane of the bread it is true.

Happy eating.
posted by Splunge at 6:03 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


No, sing or swim, nobody over the age of five should be putting ketchup on a hot dog.
posted by jonmc at 6:07 AM on May 4, 2017 [7 favorites]


I was shocked to find that american fast food outlets called burgers, "sandwiches"

I was shocked to find that chicken in a bun is called a "chicken burger" in many parts of the world.

Fuck. That. Noise.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:07 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


When determining if something is a sandwich, just look at the number of pieces of bread, and remember this rule:

2 is 1, and 1 is none.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:13 AM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


A!! parties can at least agree that the KFC Double Down is not a true sandwich, but rather a sinister trap laid by elder gods to snare unwary mortals.
posted by delfin at 6:16 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Now that I have kindergarten age kids, I see the world of possibility through their eyes. Tacos filled with rice, soy sauce, and cucumber slices? Why should I step on their dreams of what a sandwich can be?

TO TEACH THEM RIGHT FROM WRONG
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:19 AM on May 4, 2017 [23 favorites]


And if we take the plate on which the beans are resting to be made of bread, what then?
posted by Segundus at 6:21 AM on May 4, 2017 [11 favorites]


I'd call any of the top or the left side a sandwich; you either need structure or contents. A wrap with traditional sandwich ingredients is totally a sandwich, a burrito isn't.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:21 AM on May 4, 2017


I make burritos without rice (because who the fuck wants a mouthful of rice in a burrito, jesus christ people). Is that burrito a sandwich now? How about if I skip the beans, and have ... let's say steak, cheese, and guacamole, maybe pico de gallo. It's a pretty skimpy burrito, but it's still solidly a burrito. But also contains things that might be reasonably found on a sandwich. Is it a sandwich yet?

Where's the line?

(What I'm saying is: I think I'm okay calling almost anything hand-held and self-contained a sandwich. Maybe not a pop tart: too skinny.)
posted by uncleozzy at 6:26 AM on May 4, 2017


I've complained elsewhere that the fundamental problem with this chart is that all of them are prescriptivist positions, which assume that there is some high-level, a priori definition of a sandwich, and then you decide whether a particular thing is or is not a sandwich depending on whether it meets that definition. The definitions vary, but all of them come from that prescriptivist notion.

There is no room on the chart for the sandwich descriptivist. A hot dog is not a sandwich, not because it fails to meet some objective definition of a sandwich, but because most people do not call it a sandwich. Same goes for pizza. A sub is a sandwich, because most people would call it a sandwich. And yes, that means there are gray areas, and yes, it means that what is a "sandwich" can change over time — maybe in 50 years a hot dog will be a sandwich (although I wouldn't bet on it). And that's OK.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:26 AM on May 4, 2017 [27 favorites]


Is Beef Wellington a sandwich?
posted by indubitable at 6:28 AM on May 4, 2017


stuff between two things that don't make your hands messy...
posted by judson at 6:29 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm going to disagree with Bulgaroktonos and say the structure is the real sticking point: two pieces of bread with jam is obviously a sandwich, unlike a Pop Tart, which is, you know, a tart.

So... they have this thing here called the mitraillette, which is a bagette with vegetables (often optional), some fried meat-based product (could be anything), sauce and fries on top.

Oh, man, I really miss the popular Tahitian sandwich concoction which is steak au poivre on a baguette with French fries inside.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:30 AM on May 4, 2017


stuff between two things that don't make your hands messy...

A book? It has "stuff" (pages) between two "things" (covers) and doesn't make your hands messy. (Usually. Geez, get your mind out of the gutter.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:32 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Spaghetti Bolognase...

is a sandwich...
posted by Sebmojo at 6:33 AM on May 4, 2017


Despite having heard the name my entire life, it never even occurred to me they were trying to pass a Pop Tart off as a tart. This is an outrage. Tarts are open. Pop Tarts are hand pies.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:34 AM on May 4, 2017 [10 favorites]


Also are ice cream tacos actually a thing?

Wait, wait, wait. We need to stop for a Choco Taco educational break. Everybody head over to their nearest gas station or bodega, hit the frozen food section, and come back with their ridiculous frozen taco-shaped treat.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:43 AM on May 4, 2017 [10 favorites]


I'm pretty radical as most people go, but no way is a poptart a sandwich. THE defining factor of a sandwich is a top carb and a bottom carb. a poptart is connected all the way around, it's a pocket.

I would have agreed with you but then I remembered that I grew up eating grilled cheese toas-tites which are without a doubt sandwiches (and excellent sandwiches to boot) and are sealed up. Sorry. I disagree and apparently am a total sandwich anarchist.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:44 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


There is a bit of Cajun wisdom: the better the sandwich, the more napkins you need. I've often expanded this to include tacos, arepas, empanadas, and other hand-held meals.

I suppose that means I've fully embraced radical sandwich anarchy.

I have no problem with this.
posted by MrGuilt at 6:46 AM on May 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


>No, sing or swim, nobody over the age of five should be putting ketchup on a hot dog.

Oh snap it is ON. Look, nobody over the age of five should be eating hot dogs at all, but if you're gonna eat one, don't try to make it into something it's not by putting something weird on it. "Ooh look, I made a trans-Pacific-fusion cuisine hot dog with lemongrass and peanut sauce!" That's not a hot dog, it's an abomination. It's unclean in the sight of God. Hot dogs come with ketchup, mustard, and relish... and onions if you want to be weird about it. Anything other than that, and you should just forget it, go to Whole Foods, and get a Wrap.

(Not to break character, but I'm just kidding, please don't take this seriously.)
posted by Sing Or Swim at 6:46 AM on May 4, 2017 [9 favorites]


To qualify as a well-constructed sandwich, it must:

1. Fit in my goddamn mouth
2. Not fall apart due to weak bread or otherwise shoddy construction
3. Not slide apart due to excess dressing (I'm looking at YOU, Singapore Carl's Jr!)
4. Not have a bread of such dense/hard consistency that trying to bite into it causes the bread to compress and expel the interior contents (I'm looking at YOU, dutch crunch!)
5. Not in any way heretofore unspecified cause me to flip my goddamn lid by making consumption difficult.
6. A sandwich is Food First, Art Second.

Thank you.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:46 AM on May 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


Hot dogs come with ketchup, mustard, and relish... and onions if you want to be weird about it

Sauerkraut would like a word with you.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:48 AM on May 4, 2017 [15 favorites]


I submit that the whole pseudo-science of sandwich onotology is predicated on the concept of "betweenness" (i.e., with regard to outer product(s) and filling(s)). But as every right-thinking ontology-ologist knows, reality has more than 3 spatial dimensions (and even may be closed in such higher dimensions), and as such the very notion of betweenness is ill-defined, leading us to the certain conclusion that there is no such thing as a sandwich - hence sandwich nihilism is the only "correct" theory.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:49 AM on May 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


Also, what about open-face sandwiches?

There's a reason civilized people name their "sandwiches" after fundamental components like bread and butter, instead of some ancient british dude who hadn't mastered basic eating skills.
posted by effbot at 6:49 AM on May 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


>Not have a bread of such dense/hard consistency that trying to bite into it causes the bread to compress and expel the interior contents (I'm looking at YOU, dutch crunch!)

The key thing when using Dutch Crunch is to grease up the inside of the sandwich with avocado, so that the slightest pressure will cause the entire payload to make a desperate bid for freedom...
posted by Sing Or Swim at 6:50 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


pizza is an open face sandwich.

Don't be ridiculous. The toppings (or at least some of them) are baked onto the bread, thus it is not a sandwich. An open-faced sandwich requires the pålæg to be cooked separately to the bread (if at all).
posted by Dysk at 6:51 AM on May 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


It's ridiculous; sandwiches aren't black and white. Sandwiches are a spectrum. A hot dog is more of a sandwich than a slice of pizza, which is more of a sandwich than a bowl of soup.
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:51 AM on May 4, 2017 [10 favorites]


How many croutons must a soup contain before it is a sandwich?
posted by Kattullus at 6:54 AM on May 4, 2017 [13 favorites]


I was shocked to find that chicken in a bun is called a "chicken burger" in many parts of the world.

They don't call them that at Chick-Fil-A, so I'll almost forgive them for not being open on Sunday.
posted by madcaptenor at 6:54 AM on May 4, 2017


I realized this probably requires at least college level linear algebra to correctly model, and said model would probably involve things like "eigenvectors". I was dismayed because I don't remember any of that stuff from school.

Then I realized that I don't have to do anything because it's just a silly internet thing. So I shut my laptop.

Then I saw the edge of a green post-it note showing through the two halves of the laptop.

I wept.


Usually what psychologists do for personality shit and all sorts of other things is to take a high-dimensional measure, pop out top couple eigenvectors by the greatest eigenvalue, and say those are the biggest factors. That's how you get valence and arousal measures in the fields of psychology where they study that stuff.

But in fact things are dynamical programs. Positive eigenvalues lead you towards the possibility (certainly not the certainty, but the possibility) of positive Lyapunov exponents, and positive Lyapunov exponent means that there's entropy in the dynamical system. Vectorization schemes like GloVE and neural shit is not incredibly better, I think.


I submit that the whole pseudo-science of sandwich onotology is predicated on the concept of "betweenness" (i.e., with regard to outer product(s) and filling(s)). But as every right-thinking ontology-ologist knows, reality has more than 3 spatial dimensions (and even may be closed in such higher dimensions), and as such the very notion of betweenness is ill-defined, leading us to the certain conclusion that there is no such thing as a sandwich - hence sandwich nihilism is the only "correct" theory.


Nihilism is the trivial attractor, but there should also be a solid strange attractor in dynamical phase space if you're willing to go along with the above
posted by hleehowon at 6:55 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Speaking of soup, we need a soup alignment chart to address the great unanswered question "is cereal a soup?"
posted by TedW at 6:56 AM on May 4, 2017 [7 favorites]


How many croutons must a soup contain before it is a sandwich?

A pile of wet bread and tasty things is stuffing. If you put too many croutons into soup it turns into stuffing, not sandwich.

I hear some people call it "dressing", including my wife - we're still fighting the Civil War in my house. Dressing goes on salad. We also don't agree on what is salad.
posted by madcaptenor at 6:57 AM on May 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


> How many croutons must a soup contain before it is a sandwich?

It does not become a sandwich. It becomes breakfast cereal.
posted by ardgedee at 6:58 AM on May 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


We also don't agree on what is salad.

Vaguely related: my father-in-law makes chicken soup without chicken. Chicken broth with vegetables and maybe matzo balls or noodles is fine, but it's not chicken soup, damn it.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:58 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


If you drop the soup to crouton ratio low enough it becomes "croutons eaten out of your hand as you scurry away from the salad bar hoping no one saw you." It's one of my signature dishes.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:59 AM on May 4, 2017 [20 favorites]


I'm not sure about the ice cream between waffles, but ice cream between cookies is definitely a sandwich. Hand-holdability is important.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:00 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that certain cereals like Chex and crispix are sandwiches when milk is added.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 7:00 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


If you drop the soup to crouton ratio low enough it becomes "croutons eaten out of your hand as you scurry away from the salad bar hoping no one saw you." It's one of my signature dishes.

One of my signature dishes is "honey, we can't make salad with dinner tonight because I ate all the croutons straight out of the box."
posted by madcaptenor at 7:01 AM on May 4, 2017 [13 favorites]


So a hot dog is not a sandwich, but it is generally agreed that a sub with thinly sliced meat is... If you thinly slice the hot dog wiener and put it back in the bun, does it then become a sandwich?
If you're going to develop a formula, does ingredient aspect ratio define one of the limits of sandwichness?
posted by cardboard at 7:09 AM on May 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


I prefer a hot dog topped with mustard, green relish, sport peppers, pickles, tomatoes, onions, and celery salt, on a poppy seed bun, as the good Lord intended.

I will accept a hot dog with mustard and sauerkraut.

I will even, after having spent many years in North Carolina, grudgingly accept a hot dog with chili, mustard, onions, and slaw.

But... ketchup? Ketchup is RIGHT OUT.
posted by Daily Alice at 7:14 AM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


Took longer than I expected for the Chicago-hot-dog fundamentalists to make their presence felt.
posted by radicalawyer at 7:16 AM on May 4, 2017 [11 favorites]




i think a single poptart is not a sandwhich, but two sandwhiches with some kind of topping in the middle, has sandwhich potential.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:23 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


What about extra icing between two pop tarts?
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:25 AM on May 4, 2017


> i think a single poptart is not a sandwhich, but two sandwhiches with some kind of topping in the middle, has sandwhich potential.

Yo.
posted by ardgedee at 7:30 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Take your standard PBJ. If I slice it in half, it's still a sandwich. Heck, quartered and most would still agree it is a sandwich. But what if I quarter the quarters, and then do that again, so each piece is roughly 1/64th of my original PBJ? At that point, I speculate that most people would no longer call it a sandwich.

Yes, this is of course known as the sarnies paradox.

White Castle's primary offering is a paper-thin slice of meat-scented paste inside a dinner roll. I imagine it's possible to do worse than that but I don't want to think about it

Don't want to make you the butty of the joke, but you're missing the point. You don't go to White Castles when you want a sandwich or a hamburger or indeed a 'hamburger sandwich and french fried ptatahs' -- you go to White Castles when you want a white castle. I say this as one who hasn't eaten processed meat of any kind in like ten years.

No matter how you slice it, this doesn't happen with Subway because the place has no cultural resonance whatsoever apart from their teevy ads.
 
posted by Herodios at 7:31 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


As someone who occasionally eats at Subway, I can say that Subway's primary draw is "we need to be where we're going in 15 minutes, we won't have another opportunity to eat for hours, and the only quick food within 20 miles is a Subway."
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:42 AM on May 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


two pieces of bread with jam is obviously a sandwich, unlike a Pop Tart, which is, you know, a tart.

A pop tart is so much not a tart. Open top! Not covered with pastry! Even wikipedia gets that right.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:44 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


One time I was in an airport and I had an inexplicable craving for cold deli ham (ideally straight from the fridge, but beggars can't be choosers) and Subway met my needs quite well.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:44 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


No, dogs come with chili, cheese, bacon sauerkraut and mustard, preferably from the Merritt Canteen in Bridgeport.
posted by jonmc at 7:56 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


A sandwich should be such where one could conceivably eat the outer layers on their own. Like an Oreo cookie.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:04 AM on May 4, 2017


Hang on, the 'structure rebel' definition says "any food enveloped in any way by any containing food." By that standard, turducken is a sandwich.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:05 AM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


Bacon sauerkraut? Missing comma or wonderful new condiment I must find and devour?
posted by Daily Alice at 8:06 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


By that standard, turducken is a sandwich.

Heck, if you like giblets, just a regular whole turkey is a sandwich. Or any other animal for that matter...

SANDWICH GREEN IS PEOPLE
posted by FatherDagon at 8:12 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


I love you all so much right now.
posted by corb at 8:19 AM on May 4, 2017 [13 favorites]


On one hand, I don't get why foods that have their own very nice names should be sandwiches. On the other hand, there are tramezzini. Now I really want to make and eat many different sandwiches.

Since I am not at all in any way from Chicago, I like my hotdogs with ketchup, mustard, pickled cucumber and raw and roasted onions. I want one of those too, but I have a dinner invitation.
posted by mumimor at 8:23 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


The examples listed in the chart are not very reflective of the food terrain out there now. There is so much more than burritos and pop tarts that challenge the idea of what a sandwich is. What about Chinese buns, banh mi, yakisoba-pan, dorayaki, crepes that you eat with your hands, empanadas, anything in pita bread, spring rolls, sushi burritos, lettuce wraps, etc.?
posted by FJT at 8:25 AM on May 4, 2017


I include the BLT, chip butty, ice cream, sub, and pop tart; and exclude the wrap (which is a kind of burrito), burrito, hot dog, and ice cream taco. So I guess flatness is important to me?

Anyway, the alignment chart is clearly broken, because I can't place myself on it.
posted by yeolcoatl at 8:30 AM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


An O is not a U, which is not an =, which is not a _.

That is to say, a wrap is not a taco, which is not a sandwich, which is not a pizza.

"Wrap" includes burritos, wraps, and other bundled ingredients.

"Taco" includes tacos, hot dogs, and other cradled ingredients.

"Sandwich" includes sandwiches, burgers, quesadilla, and other sandwiched ingredients.

"Pizza," alternately "flatbread," includes pizzas, open-face sandwiches, crackers with cheese on them, toast, and so forth.

Isn't that hard. Ingredients themselves don't matter; give me a form of bread, cheese, meat, and sauce, and I can make a pizza, burrito, taco, or sandwich, and the difference is the form factor.
posted by explosion at 8:36 AM on May 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: a guacamole and maple syrup open sandwich.
posted by Wordshore at 8:37 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


pizza is an open face sandwich.

Dysk: Don't be ridiculous. The toppings (or at least some of them) are baked onto the bread, thus it is not a sandwich. An open-faced sandwich requires the pålæg to be cooked separately to the bread (if at all).

Even worse: the carby outside layerss of the sandwich -- bread, ideally -- are fully cooked when the sandwich is assembled. But pizza is built atop raw dough, which isn't edible until after its cooked, which is well after the assembly stage.

So even if one accepts open-faced sandwiches (which I am willing to do), one of pizza's key ingredients is not edible until baked after assembly and so is disqualified.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:42 AM on May 4, 2017 [7 favorites]


And we haven't even discussed pita yet.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 8:43 AM on May 4, 2017


Or bivalves. Is a basket of mussels a basket of sandwiches?

Extra data: In Icelandic the word "samloka" means both "sandwich" and "bivalve".
posted by Kattullus at 8:47 AM on May 4, 2017 [7 favorites]


Sing Or Swim: Anything other than that, and you should just forget it, go to Whole Foods, and get a Wrap.

Dude, if you are denying the sublimity of the Foot-Long Chili Cheese Dogs that I eat at the Minnesota State Fair, well...I am going to take you up to Machinery Hill, hoist you up in front of a hayrack, and hang you there by your belt loops in the hot August sun until you recant.

Then you can buy me a walleye sandwich and a Summit to demonstrate your repentance. And maybe some of those Tom Thumb Donuts. And a vanilla shake from the Dairy Barn.

(Not to break character, but I'm just kidding, please don't take this seriously.)

Well, I'm serious about you buying me Fair food.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:48 AM on May 4, 2017


The way previously liberal folks turn into social conservatives is that issues they never thought much about suddenly become very pressing.

I agree with this. I don't really care about sandwich definitions or soup vs. cereal but by god when the NYT started talking about putting peas in guacamole, I was ready to break some heads.
posted by emjaybee at 8:52 AM on May 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


Can't say if bacon sauerkraut actually exists, but if it does it's at the Merritt Canteen. They're the ultimate wizards of garbage food. See also deep fried macaroni and cheese bites.
posted by whuppy at 8:53 AM on May 4, 2017


The toppings (or at least some of them) are baked onto the bread, thus it is not a sandwich

And the wind whispered "Panini".
posted by The Bellman at 8:53 AM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


The chart places me uncomfortably close to Scalia territory.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:54 AM on May 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


Bavarian krautsalat has bacon in it, and would also make a pretty great hot dog topping.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:55 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


>the alignment chart is clearly broken, because I can't place myself on it.

Yeah, I find the wrap and burrito objectionable (as sandwiches, I mean) and the waffles perfectly acceptable, so I should be happy in the upper right and mad in the lower left. But then they've got an ice cream taco over on the middle right?! How the hell is a taco with ice cream in it 'structural neutral'? This is worse than the Simpsons best-episodes list.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:57 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


A proper sandwich is layered so that if one were to take core samples at various locations across the face, they would come out roughly the same. This is why, unlike an escalator's graceful failover to stairs, a hard-shell taco that catastrophically cracks in two along the bend does not suddenly become a sandwich.
posted by penguinicity at 9:03 AM on May 4, 2017 [7 favorites]


I've complained elsewhere that the fundamental problem with this chart is that all of them are prescriptivist positions, which assume that there is some high-level, a priori definition of a sandwich, and then you decide whether a particular thing is or is not a sandwich depending on whether it meets that definition. The definitions vary, but all of them come from that prescriptivist notion.

There is no room on the chart for the sandwich descriptivist.


There is no room on the chart for the sandwich descriptivist because the descriptivist made the chart. Any coherent division of the world into objects that do or do not have the sandwich nature involves an element of prescription, unless you're ordering random objects at the deli counter. Really, the linguistic descriptivist/prescriptivist binary isn't super useful here - we're more into semantics and intension/extension.
posted by zamboni at 9:14 AM on May 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


> Years ago I read that asking students to define a sandwich was a neat way to teach them about Platonic forms.

As a bonus, it would also work to introduce Wittgenstein's family resemblance theory, and/or prototype theory in cognitive linguistics.
posted by a mirror and an encyclopedia at 9:24 AM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


"an escalator's graceful failover to stairs" would be a good MeFi username.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:25 AM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


> And the wind whispered "Panini".

nonono

The panini is grilled, yes, but you don't make a panini by grilling raw dough. You bake the bread, then you slice it, add toppings and cook it. With pizza, the dough is raw when it goes into the oven.
posted by a mirror and an encyclopedia at 9:26 AM on May 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


With pizza, the dough is raw when it goes into the oven

Boboli? French bread pizza? Matzo pizza? English muffin pizza? Pizza bagel? Surely they aren't all open-faced sandwiches.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:29 AM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


Boboli? French bread pizza? Matzo pizza? English muffin pizza? Pizza bagel?

All these things are not pizza, in the same way a dwarf planet is not a planet.
posted by zamboni at 9:34 AM on May 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


But when pizza's on a bagel, you can have pizza anytime. It's right there in the lyric.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:37 AM on May 4, 2017 [18 favorites]


Ok but what about popovers filled with pate? This is important, I want to use the right taxonomy when bragging about my lunch.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:38 AM on May 4, 2017


Bacon isn't even a coldcut.
But it IS cured meat ...
posted by MILNEWSca at 9:42 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I usually pre-bake my pizza dough if I am putting either soggy things on it (fresh mozz, ricotta, tomato slices) or things I don't want to over cook (greens, bacon, chicken).
posted by Rock Steady at 9:45 AM on May 4, 2017


You're not helping, mister.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:03 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Here's some sandwich porn for you.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 10:04 AM on May 4, 2017


The Reuben, the Cuban, and the Gyro are the trinity of True Sandwiches. All others are but their pale reflections.
posted by likethemagician at 10:16 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


-Latinate pedant moment-

... The panini is grilled, yes, but you don't make a panini by grilling raw dough ...
"Panini" is plural, "panino" is singular - saying "a panini" is like saying "those mooses" or "those geeses".

-/Latinate pedant moment-
posted by MILNEWSca at 10:35 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Everybody knows the singular of "panini" is "paninus." And the plural of "paninus" is "paninuses." And therefore "panini" isn't a thing.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:48 AM on May 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


Technically your mouth is a sandwich when you put food in it.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:53 AM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


I thought it was understood that the term "open-faced sandwich" was invented as a slightly ironic, privileged (in that, let's ask which socioeconomic class would actually have used the term "open-faced"?) riff on the idea of sandwich? That logic in itself shows that an open-faced sandwich, despite its terminology, is not a sandwich per se. Its own rhetoric undermines its taxonomy. The only Americans who use the term "open-faced sandwich" are people who read New Yorker, or something. "Tartine". "Sandwich".

Historically, open sandwiches preceded the idea of sandwich, and they were as diverse in cultures from the Nordic to the Chinese. They were called flatbreads or whatever, you might even soak them in broth. But they were not thought of as sandwiches; note the double quotations:

The open-faced "sandwich" also has a unique history (described above), originating between the 6th and 16th centuries, whereas the modern sandwich traces its roots to the Earl of Sandwich.[4]
posted by polymodus at 10:59 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


A Chicago style deep dish is definitely not a sandwich, but a NY-style pizza that you fold to eat can be thought of as a sandwich.

I think as soon as you verbed the word "sandwich" (as in, I sandwiched myself between two people in the crowded elevator), then whatever can be sandwiched therefore is possible to be a sandwich.
posted by FJT at 11:06 AM on May 4, 2017


I think this means I can have a jelly donut for lunch and tell my wife I had a sandwich.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:07 AM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


Obviously Metafilter's Own™ John Scalzi is a Radical Sandwich Anarchist, given his long-running Burrito feud with Wil Wheaton.
posted by ChrisR at 11:18 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


There is no room on the chart for the sandwich descriptivist. A hot dog is not a sandwich, not because it fails to meet some objective definition of a sandwich, but because most people do not call it a sandwich. Same goes for pizza. A sub is a sandwich, because most people would call it a sandwich. And yes, that means there are gray areas, and yes, it means that what is a "sandwich" can change over time — maybe in 50 years a hot dog will be a sandwich (although I wouldn't bet on it). And that's OK.

What if I put my hotdog in sandwich bread instead of a bun? [buns to hot dogs packaging ratio problems - I will not by five packages of 8 buns and four 10 packs of hot dogs at a time].
posted by srboisvert at 11:19 AM on May 4, 2017


pizza is an open face sandwich.

Which would make a calzone a proper sandwich presumably. But that doesn't make sense either: it's clearly just a big Italian pastie.

No, a pizza is a tarte. The fundamental difference is that the crust is not formed of a precooked bread (risen or unrisen like a tortilla), but of a bread that's cooked during preparation.
posted by bonehead at 11:24 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Great people of Metafilter, let it be known. I vote #1 sandwich ontologist, the quidnunc kid!
posted by ursus_comiter at 11:26 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Is a basket of mussels a basket of sandwiches?

an essential qualia of sandwichness must be the experience of universal edibility: the consumption of the whole rather than only the fillings is the imperative. A scallop cannot be a sandwich, at least to those who cannot consume the shells, anymore than say, a walnut or a cow. The concept of three layers, the outer containing the inner is, indeed necessary, but not sufficient to encapsulate the totality of a true sandwich.

But I could accept the argument that mussels could be considered sandwich-adjacent.
posted by bonehead at 11:37 AM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


A near ontological miss, if you will.
posted by bonehead at 11:39 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


But I could accept the argument that mussels could be considered sandwich-adjacent.

That's pretty spineless.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:00 PM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Technically your mouth is a sandwich when you put food in it.

No it's not, because the top and bottom of my mouth are not food. The sandwiching has to be done by food. Otherwise a slab of meat in one of those styrofoam takeout containers would be a sandwich.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:03 PM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


the top and bottom of my mouth are not food

Well, that really depends upon your palate.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:06 PM on May 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


I'm not gonna dig up my old comments on this matter, but "a pop tart is a sandwich" doesn't go far enough for me. A sandwich is not a discrete object, a sandwich is a method of eating. You sandwich a food by layering it in the act of consuming it. Anything can be a sandwich. Anything.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:16 PM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


There is only one true sandwich.
posted by Token Meme at 12:23 PM on May 4, 2017


I think you linked to the wrong thing there Token Meme. Surely you meant us to go here.
posted by Mitheral at 12:34 PM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Came for the screaming about Pop Tarts, stayed for the screaming about ketchup on hot dogs (fellow Chicago peeps, I see you).
posted by merriment at 12:36 PM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


> A sandwich is not a discrete object, a sandwich is a method of eating.

But doesn't this then imply that if someone else has prepared the sandwich, and I sit down to eat it, I am no longer eating a sandwich, having not done any sandwiching myself? That is, that nobody could possibly make me a sandwich, no matter how nicely I ask?
  $ sudo make me\ a\ sandwich
  make: *** No rule to make target `me a sandwich'.  Stop.
Huh, checks out. prize bull octorok is correct, y'all.
posted by Westringia F. at 12:41 PM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


The description of Structure Rebel -- "(Can contain any food enveloped in any way by a containing food)" -- seems off to me. I wouldn't say that a standard ham sandwich consists of ham "enveloped" by slices of bread. Never mind where that leaves open-face sandwiches which, by definition, aren't enveloped at all. In fact, I would contend that the description "food enveloped by other food" isn't really about sandwiches. It's about dumplings. So, perhaps the real question is whether or not sandwiches are dumplings. Pop tart? Sweet, flat dumpling. Calzone? Italian mega-dumpling. Burrito? Wrapped dumpling. Ham sandwich? Open-faced dumpling.
posted by mhum at 12:43 PM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


There is no room on the chart for the sandwich descriptivist. A hot dog is not a sandwich, not because it fails to meet some objective definition of a sandwich, but because most people do not call it a sandwich. Same goes for pizza. A sub is a sandwich, because most people would call it a sandwich. And yes, that means there are gray areas, and yes, it means that what is a "sandwich" can change over time — maybe in 50 years a hot dog will be a sandwich (although I wouldn't bet on it). And that's OK.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:26 AM on May 4


Ahem.
WESTCHESTER FAIR READY FOR OPENING


WHITE PLAINS, NY, SEPT. 25 -- This was nominally the opening day of the annual fair of the Westchester County Agricultural and Horticultural Society, which begins in earnest to-morrow. To-day has been devoted to receiving exhibits, of every variety, for the edification of the multitude which it is expected will begin to wend its way hither to-morrow.

A large number of "fakirs" applied for space in which to amuse the public. Among them was the bullet-headed "African dodger," the ring and cane man, the frankfurter sandwich man, the popcorn man, and the wheel of fortune man....
New York Times, September 26, 1893.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:51 PM on May 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


But doesn't this then imply that if someone else has prepared the sandwich, and I sit down to eat it, I am no longer eating a sandwich, having not done any sandwiching myself? That is, that nobody could possibly make me a sandwich, no matter how nicely I ask?

Well, "sandwich" is an extant noun, obviously, that refers to a unit of food prepared in a manner to be eaten sandwich-style.

"Make me a sandwich," you say. I put a slice of cheese between two pieces of untoasted whole wheat bread and serve you a sandwich.

You proceed to disassemble the sandwich, eating the cheese and each piece of bread on its own, separately.

I made you a sandwich. You did not eat a sandwich.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:51 PM on May 4, 2017


... the frankfurter sandwich man...

He might just be a German guy (you know, from Frankfurt?) selling ordinary turkey sandwiches or whatever.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:54 PM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I have to be able to eat it with my hands. So an open face turkey sandwich at a pub that's a piece of bread buried under a mountain of sliced hot turkey and gravy is not a sandwich. I guess for me it's really "regular" (i.e. US-centric) slices of bread with savory lunch stuff inside.

burger = not a sandwich
lettuce wrapped around a burger = definitely not a sandwich (my wife calls this a "Sad Girl Burger")
sub = idk, maybe. But you'd never call it that.
posted by freecellwizard at 12:58 PM on May 4, 2017


Let's explore some high-level sandwiching. you have a plate of peas and mashed potatoes. If you scoop up a forkful of peas and mashed potatoes, is that a sandwich? No, merely consuming multiple foods at not once is not sufficient to sandwich them. Sandwiching requires intent! But if you take some mashed potatoes and make a little pocket to stuff some peas in, and eat it thus, you have indeed made a sandwich. A Caesar salad? Not, as plated, a sandwich. However! If you take a crouton, and delicately balance a piece of Romaine lettuce on top of it, you just made yourself an open-faced lettuce sandwich, bub
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:02 PM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


But if you take some mashed potatoes and make a little pocket to stuff some peas in, and eat it thus, you have indeed made a sandwich

No - the act of having sandwiched something, even food, does not always make the thing sandwiched between two other things "a sandwich", and if it does, you surely can not then claim that having not sandwiched something makes it a sandwich, as in the open faced so-called-sandwich.

I'm all for sandwich liberalism, but that is sandwich madness.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:09 PM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


10 or so years ago, a group of friends from Chowhound and I went on a road trip to this restaurant in Kingston On, run by a teenager who was something of a prodigy in the kitchen. The dishes were all local, and it was early May so vegetables were in short supply, but there was a deconstructed caesar salad on the menu. We thought 'okay, we should have some vegetables and not just, like, 97 kinds of pork fat and 14 helpings of rabbit rillette' so we ordered the salad. It was a plate of crostini, a bowl of caesar dressing, some shaved parmesan cheese and 4 tiny forced sprouts from a romain lettuce plant.

When we spread the dressing on the crostini and topped it with a shaving of cheese and a lettuce leaf, were we eating a sandwich or a salad? Or both? Or neither? Would it make a difference if we doubled up on crostini?
posted by jacquilynne at 1:10 PM on May 4, 2017


freecellwizard: "sub = idk, maybe. But you'd never call it that."

Wait, what? Am I reading that you'd never call a sub a sandwich? Despite the fact that, in fact, it seems like lots of people call them "sub sandwiches" or "submarine sandwiches"? Do you not eat subs with your hands? If not, is it with a knife & fork?
posted by mhum at 1:10 PM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


stuff between two things that don't make your hands messy...
posted by judson at 9:29 AM on May 4 [1 favorite +] [!]


sure
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:22 PM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, when I saw the # of comments I knew this would be a classic MetaFilter clusterfuck.

On the other hand, I do have a library science degree, so taxonomical warfare is appealing to me on a deep level.
posted by sazerac at 1:36 PM on May 4, 2017 [10 favorites]


for breakfast I had a grilled cheese sandwich, but then topped it with a sunny side up egg and ate it with knife and fork. discuss.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:40 PM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


No - the act of having sandwiched something, even food, does not always make the thing sandwiched between two other things "a sandwich", and if it does, you surely can not then claim that having not sandwiched something makes it a sandwich, as in the open faced so-called-sandwich.

I can and do!

When we spread the dressing on the crostini and topped it with a shaving of cheese and a lettuce leaf, were we eating a sandwich or a salad? Or both? Or neither? Would it make a difference if we doubled up on crostini?

I don't have a comprehensive salad theory so I can't speak to that, but you were definitely eating a sandwich.

for breakfast I had a grilled cheese sandwich, but then topped it with a sunny side up egg and ate it with knife and fork. discuss.

Your quasi-croque madame was definitely a sandwich, utensils don't factor into this at all.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:43 PM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


the frankfurter sandwich man (1893)

Let's consult one of the definitive works on the history of the hot dog, the monograph Origin of the term "hot dog" by Cohen, Shulman and Popik. It's not definitive, but earlier accounts that discuss wiener wurst involve two slices of bread, while later accounts (focusing on Yale) have the classic bun.

1886, Nashville (TN) Tennessean
"Hot stuff," "hot pup," "hot dog," sings out the fiend who carries in one hand a tin cooking arrangement, and on the other arm a basket. He is the wiener wurst fiend. … The tin vessel which he carries is divided into two compartments. The upper is filled with water, in which are about a thousand, more or less, skin sausages. In the lower apartment is the alcohol stove that keeps the sausages hot. In the basket he keeps his rye bread and horse-radish. The sausage, sandwiched by two slices of bread -- which have been smeared with the horse-radish, make up the wiener wurst, which costs you a nickel.
1887, San Jose (CA) Mercury News:
Then he shuts the can, pries open the lid of his big oval basket and whips out two slices of bread and a square bottle. With his knife he spreads out some horseradish on one of the slices, deposits thereon the wurst and then slaps on top of it the other slices of bread and hands it over, a kind of sandwich, with the ends of the wurst sticking out like amputated fingers and the horseradish oozing out all around under the pressure. It is eaten just like a sandwich, with much spluttering, because it is very hot, but it is a delicious morsel to the man who is filled up with beer or something stronger.
(...)
But one thing ruffles his temper, and that is to speak disparagingly of his wurst. When a purchaser, holding out a nickel, remarks, "Gimme some dog," a shade of sadness passes over his face.
1892, Paterson (NJ) Daily Press
Somehow or other a frankfurter and a roll seem to go right to the spot where the void is felt the most. The small boy has got on such familiar terms with this sort of lunch that he now refers to it as "hot dog." "Hey, Mister, give me a hot dog quick," was the startling order that a rosy-cheeked gamin hurled at the man as a Press reporter stood close by last night. The "hot dog" was quickly inserted in a gash in a roll, a dash of mustard also splashed on to the "dog" with a piece of flat whittled stick, and the order was fulfilled.
1895, Yale Record
'Tis dogs' delight to bark and bite,
Thus does the adage run.
But I delight to bite the dog
When placed inside a bun.
1899, Kansas City (MO) Star
YALE'S "DOG WAGONS."
A College Institution Now - The "Yale Ken-
nel Club" and Its proprietor.

From the New York Sun.
New Haven -- Dog wagons are indigenous to New Haven and are the result of the appetites of Yale men who appreciate the fact that the hot wienerwusts snugly imbedded in rolls and covered in mustard are ready to bark at any time.
1897, Kansas City (MO) Star,
A "hot dog" is a sliced bun and wienerwurst. The origin of the term goes back to the current facetiousness of university towns.
posted by zamboni at 1:43 PM on May 4, 2017 [12 favorites]


It occurs to me that this is my second historical investigation into hot dog history on MeFi - see here for my previous deep dive into the antipodean incarnation of the corn dog.
posted by zamboni at 1:49 PM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


I think I've found the hill I want to die on:

42 Ways Bay Cities Sandwiches Are Literally Heaven On Earth
posted by Room 641-A at 2:21 PM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Data point: per the packaging, Hot Pockets are in fact "Hot Pockets® brand sandwiches".* I believe the method of construction for them involves fusing a top and bottom layer of breadish crust to completely seal in the contents (which frequently resembles a stew more than any sort of discrete components). Is the method of construction what makes it a sandwich, or the form of the final result?

I feel like a quesadilla made with two tortillas is very reasonably a species of sandwich, and it seems absurd to not extend that courtesy to a single-folded-tortilla quesadilla. Which implies to me that the outer food of a sandwich being discontiguous can't be a requirement for sandwichness. (And indeed, if I fold a slice of bread in half around slices of meat and cheese, I don't think any sensible person would argue that I need to apply a knife to the edge of the resulting meal in order for it to become a sandwich.)

*Because nouning a trademark is the path to genericization.**
**I wonder if Hot Pockets always come in packs of 2 or more so there's no way to buy a Hot Pocket.

posted by NMcCoy at 2:55 PM on May 4, 2017


I dislike hearing people refer to subs or rolls or the like as sandwiches. Not because I am a structural purist, but because I don't like people who are stupid. Furthermore, burgers being referred to as sandwiches is agonisingly wrong.

If it does not have some kind of square or rectangular carbohydrate layer at both the top and bottom of the structure, then it is not a sandwich. Thus: ice cream between (right-angled) waffles is most definitely a sandwich, but if the waffles are round, it is simply a dessert. Cottage cheese between two cardboard slices of Vita-Weat is a sandwich. Bacon and egg between muffin halves is a bacon and egg muffin, but if you can somehow construe a square or rectangular muffin, then it becomes a sandwich. It is basic geometry folks.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:49 PM on May 4, 2017


42 Ways Bay Cities Sandwiches Are Literally Heaven On Earth

Those look delicious as heck, but they are either subs or rolls. They are not sandwiches.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:52 PM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


explosion: ""Taco" includes tacos, hot dogs, and other cradled ingredients.

"Sandwich" includes sandwiches, burgers, quesadilla, and other sandwiched ingredients.
"

As a representative of Mexico, I must denounce this as Heresy. A hot dog is not, by any sensible and civilized definition, a "Taco". In the same vein, anyone in its country of origin can tell you a quesadilla is closer to a taco than to a sandwich.

Also, now that we're discussing society-splitting food definitions, don't forget the eternal debate over whether a quesadilla actually has cheese.
posted by andycyca at 4:03 PM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


This chart does not include the possibility of multiple layers separated by additional slices of bread (cf the aforementioned Big Mac, club sandwiches), as bread is not, in and of itself, a sandwich topping.

MEDIOCRE.
posted by hanov3r at 4:08 PM on May 4, 2017


Those look delicious as heck, but they are either subs or rolls.

We'll tear your rolls apart!
posted by we halve sub sides to shole you at 4:16 PM on May 4, 2017


What the hell... tomato?! You put KETCHUP on hot dogs. YOU DO NOT PUT TOMATO ON HOT DOGS.

You are now officially kicked out of Chicago .
posted by louche mustachio at 5:04 PM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


Speaking of subs, sandwiches, and shapes, I'm reminded of this bit from the the NYT obituary for Frank DeLuca, founder of Subway (emph. added):
Subway, which sells made-to-order sandwiches, including foot-long “submarines” — so called for their oblong buns — and salads, beverages and desserts [...]
Gee, thanks, The New York Times, Paper of Recordtm, for that helpful clarification. I'm guessing they edited that down from "so called for their oblong buns, a shape they share with the undersea vessel by the same name" in the interests of space.
posted by mhum at 5:12 PM on May 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


I disagree the sandwiches have an inherent need to be cold. Few would deny a grilled cheese is a sandwich yet that is served hot.

Of course a sandwich can be served hot. The cold requirement for pop-tarts is a one-off ruling.
posted by mullacc at 5:26 PM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


PIZZA.IS.A.PIE.



that is all
posted by supermedusa at 5:55 PM on May 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


What if I put my hotdog in sandwich bread instead of a bun? [buns to hot dogs packaging ratio problems - I will not by five packages of 8 buns and four 10 packs of hot dogs at a time].

Switch to jumbo-sized hot dogs. They usually are sold in packages of eight.
posted by Ranucci at 6:08 PM on May 4, 2017


Hmm.... George Costanza's Hand sandwich.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:10 PM on May 4, 2017


And what are the limits of a club sandwich? I ordered one for supper tonight and got chicken, tomato, avocado, lettuce, bacon, mayo, and cheese on a ciabatta roll. Another time, in Latin America, I was presented with a standard three bread-slice sandwich, only with roast beef and ketchup where the poultry and mayo should have been. All the drunk in the world didn't make that taste good.
posted by cardboard at 6:21 PM on May 4, 2017


If it does not have some kind of square or rectangular carbohydrate layer at both the top and bottom of the structure, then it is not a sandwich. Thus: ice cream between (right-angled) waffles is most definitely a sandwich, but if the waffles are round, it is simply a dessert. Cottage cheese between two cardboard slices of Vita-Weat is a sandwich. Bacon and egg between muffin halves is a bacon and egg muffin, but if you can somehow construe a square or rectangular muffin, then it becomes a sandwich. It is basic geometry folks.

Hot takes, coming through! A reuben is not a sandwich! A sandwich cut into triangles is no longer a sandwich!
posted by kafziel at 7:12 PM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


A sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich...

That should settle it.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:22 PM on May 4, 2017


Gee, thanks, The New York Times, Paper of Record™, for that helpful clarification. I'm guessing they edited that down from "so called for their oblong buns, a shape they share with the undersea vessel by the same name" in the interests of space.

We are commodities brokers, William
posted by indubitable at 7:53 PM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


PIZZA.IS.A.PIE.

all pies are sandwiches too
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:35 PM on May 4, 2017


In high school I ate a peanut butter and banana sandwich every day for lunch and had a method I called the "Interlocking Banana Method" (IBM for short) whose purpose was to maximize the ratio of bread surface area covered by banana to that covered by peanut butter alone. All this to say I am very much in the demographic of People This Appeals To
posted by that silly white dress at 9:26 PM on May 4, 2017


In high school I ate a peanut butter and banana sandwich every day for lunch and had a method I called the "Interlocking Banana Method" (IBM for short) whose purpose was to maximize the ratio of bread surface area covered by banana to that covered by peanut butter alone. All this to say I am very much in the demographic of People This Appeals To

Well, you gotta share it. Is it a hex grid?
posted by kafziel at 9:28 PM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]




Is sushi a sandwich?

Is poutine a sandwich?

Is a danish a sandwich?

THIS IS MY FAVORITE KIND OF CONVERSATION
posted by KathrynT at 11:26 PM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Subway is a foul and horrible place.

And yet they have (had?) more locations than McDonalds. And less youtube videos about how the food will kill you VS McD's.

I once heard Subway's aroma described as "the smell of running bread dough through a dishwasher". I haven't been able to forget it.

I'm guessing that is the scent of the yoga mat chemical in the material they call bread.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:56 AM on May 5, 2017


stuff between two things that don't make your hands messy...

What if you have a "submarine sandwich" that is so sloppy and oily that to prevent getting the hand(s) messy you eat the sandwich from a plastic bag? (That is the Suburpia marketing idea and they are now 50 years old)
posted by rough ashlar at 3:09 AM on May 5, 2017


Turbid dahlia: Thus: ice cream between (right-angled) waffles is most definitely a sandwich, but if the waffles are round, it is simply a dessert.

You've lost your mind; I'll send someone to collect you.
posted by wenestvedt at 3:20 AM on May 5, 2017 [3 favorites]


Is sushi a sandwich?

My work cafeteria has sushi burritos. It's all approaching a singularity.
posted by cardboard at 4:15 AM on May 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


What if I put my hotdog in sandwich bread instead of a bun?

Assuming you have thoroughly cooked said hotdog, you have made a Burnt Weeny Sandwich!
posted by TedW at 5:24 AM on May 5, 2017


The World's Smallest Hoagie Sandwich

I want large bread.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:09 AM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


Are we still doing eponysterical because seriously now You want my origin story with sandwiches?

When boy was not quite two he thought my mopping the floor was just the very best entertainment the vast world had to offer and one day the phone rang and he took advantage of my momentary distraction to pick up the spray bottle and first blast dog and then himself in the face. I told my father in law I had to go and scooped crying boy up and told him he was going to have to put his eyes in the water. He was a late talker but he heard me and stopped crying and pointed at his eyes and then the rapidly filling tub and I shook my head up and down and he did it. Again, again. I had to force dog under. It was just Murphy's Oil. Had to hurt but it was fine.

So I thought it was time to pull out scary poison control. We weren't quite up to no bleach and ammonia when my email provider totally fucked me and I decided not to be a lurker here and needed a handle.

He wasn't much of a talker and that was beginning to be seen as a problem by some. I asked him. Yuk wasn't available but Yuck was and he took great satisfaction in naming me. I let him. There's something going on there. The dogs bark if you say "Yuck."

A few years later mom and I decided it was time to go back to the land and mom brought down a big pig that was taking out the fence and I made sandwiches and packed boy's lunches and when he sighted a new boar he'd tell me we had free pork out there. Free pork! We were broke so this was a boon and he knew it because I never made the same pork sandwich twice.

Oh daddy, this is so good. Warms the heart.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 12:20 PM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


Is sushi a sandwich?

Yes!

Is poutine a sandwich?

No! It might qualify as a salad though.

Is a danish a sandwich?

Sometimes!
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:15 PM on May 5, 2017


What's the difference between a muffin and a cupcake? Is it just frosting? If I frost both sides of a cupcake, is that a sandwich?
posted by we halve sub sides to shole you at 3:22 PM on May 5, 2017


all muffins are cupcakes, but I believe you can make a muffin that has no cake-like properties and therefore would not be a cupcake.

If I frost both sides of a cupcake, is that a sandwich?

sandwiches invented to disprove Sandwich Theory are, like, a whole vast genre of sandwiches unto themselves
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:44 PM on May 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


man, I just got tripped up bad by that muffin question. I really should stick to sandwiches in these threads.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:49 PM on May 5, 2017


If I frost both sides of a cupcake, is that a sandwich?

I don't know, but if you take the bottom half of the cupcake and put it on top you have a Liz Lemon cupcake sandwich.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:51 PM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


The other day I was seated a table over from a guy who was mansplaining to his date that there's no such thing as a half sandwich, because if you cut a sandwich in half it is still a sandwich.

Although he was somewhat open to the idea that an open-faced sandwich could be considered a half sandwich.
posted by ckape at 10:29 PM on May 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


Well, if you only make open-faced sanwiches with half the fillings.
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:17 AM on May 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


Did he also know the singular form of "scissors"?
posted by ardgedee at 6:08 AM on May 7, 2017 [2 favorites]


but half filling is still filling.
posted by ckape at 9:34 AM on May 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


"What's the difference between a muffin and a cupcake? Is it just frosting? If I frost both sides of a cupcake, is that a sandwich?"

The difference is if you pull the head off a cupcake, invert it, and press it back together, you have a delicious dessert snack that is superior to the original cupcake configuration, as it distributes the icing ("frosting") more equally across bites, and is a cleaner methodology of consumption. If you pull the head off a muffin, invert it, and press it back together, you still have the exact same thing as far as flavour and organoleptic rheology is concerned.

On non-preview:

"I don't know, but if you take the bottom half of the cupcake and put it on top you have a Liz Lemon cupcake sandwich yt"

The idea that you can take the foundation of a cupcake and simply shift its position so that it is magically now the top is so utterly bizarre that I can do nothing but blink violently. You remove the top and turn it upside down. Nothing happens with the bottom of the cupcake, it stays exactly where it is. And the insinuation that it is a sandwich? Oh my god.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:08 PM on May 7, 2017


If you move the bottom to the top, you eliminate the possibility that the frosting will fall off when you invert it.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:38 PM on May 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


Oh, sure, for some kind of futuristic scientifically-enhanced perfectly frictionless nano-frosting. If the frosting doesn't adhere naturally then it isn't even a cupcake, it's a cake-toadstool with some sugary afterthought sluiced onto it, probably because the tops got burned. Cupcake frosting is at a consistency and applied at a juncture that ensures adhesion. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills here!
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:25 PM on May 7, 2017


Mmm....Frosting.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:45 PM on May 7, 2017


Randall Munroe weighs in.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:46 AM on May 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


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