A HOT DOG IS A LENGTHY MEAT TUBE ON BREAD
August 20, 2017 11:50 AM   Subscribe

Nintendo Switch owners weigh in on an iconic debate: Are hot dogs sandwiches? [Polygon] “Nintendo posed an important question to Switch owners several weeks ago: Is a hot dog a sandwich? It’s one of society’s most contentious debates, one with no clear-cut answer. But the results of the company’s poll are in — and Nintendo doesn’t seem so happy about them. In a June Ask Me Anything session on Reddit with Super Mario Odyssey producer Yoshiaki Koizumi, fans first prompted the polarizing debate. When asked if Koizumi thought that a hot dog “counts as a sandwich,” his response was a flat “no.””
posted by Fizz (140 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Suppose you asked me for a sandwich, and I brought back a hot dog. Would you really be OK with that? I think not.
posted by thelonius at 11:55 AM on August 20, 2017 [6 favorites]


A hot dog is not a sandwich.

It is a taco.
posted by jenkinsEar at 11:56 AM on August 20, 2017 [37 favorites]


ah, so Reddit finally succeeded in beating a joke so far into the ground it came out on the other side of the planet
posted by mannequito at 11:58 AM on August 20, 2017 [28 favorites]


If you turn it sideways while eating it, then it's a sandwich (and your salad is in your lap).
posted by notyou at 11:59 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Sonic the Hedgehog does not eat sandwiches, he eats chili-dogs. And he certainly wouldn't call a hot-dog a sandwich. Now if Mario wants to engage in this kind of linguistic euphemism. He's free to. But not Sonic.
posted by Fizz at 11:59 AM on August 20, 2017


Suppose you asked me for a sandwich, and I brought back a hot dog. Would you really be OK with that? I think not.

I don't think that's a very good criteria for judging the issue. If I asked you for a sandwich and you came back with a $1000 in cash, I would be more than ok with that, but it doesn't make it a sandwich.

If we go on technical criteria, if a sausage sandwich is a sandwich I don't know that I could tell you what's different about a hot dog that would disqualify it
posted by juv3nal at 12:09 PM on August 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


Here in the civilized world, a sandwich involves at least one slice cut from a loaf. Only in places backward and uncultured enough to class a hamburger as a kind of sandwich would this question even arise.
posted by flabdablet at 12:12 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


ah, so Reddit finally succeeded in beating a joke so far into the ground it came out on the other side of the planet

So it probably got all wet?

As for the hot dog sandwich debate, does it depend on whether the bun is top or side sliced? No matter what, I am firmly on team sandwich. Although if you are nit, that is cool too. There are worse things to disagree on.
posted by TedW at 12:13 PM on August 20, 2017


Burger places seem to call their burgers 'sandwiches'. But then again, a burger does have two discrete pieces of bread. I think a hot dog can therefore most accurately be classed as a filled baguette.
posted by pipeski at 12:21 PM on August 20, 2017


Burger places seem to call their burgers 'sandwiches'. But then again, a burger does have two discrete pieces of bread.

I wonder if this recent trend is related to marketing. From a fast-food perspective, sandwich certainly sounds healthier than burger.
posted by Fizz at 12:28 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm a vegetarian so I don't have a dog in this fight, so to speak.
However I am interested in the philosophical aspect, which also raises other questions.
Is a burrito a sandwich?
Is a corn dog a sandwich?
Is shepherds' pie a sandwich?
Is a cronut a sandwich?
etc.
posted by charlesminus at 12:32 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


So I asked myself the following geeky question:

"If class Sub or class Hoagie can extend class Sandwich, why wouldn't class Hotdog do the same?"

And then decided to ask the internet and found this gem:

The Topology of Sandwiches

tl;dr Based on topology of the bread, it seems Hotdog could only be said to extend class Sub, and class Sub itself would not extend Sandwich.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 12:36 PM on August 20, 2017 [7 favorites]


A hot dog is a social construct.
posted by cazoo at 12:38 PM on August 20, 2017 [6 favorites]


If an ice cream sandwich can be so, then the door is open pretty wide. Almost as wide as an open-faced roast beef sandwich smothered in gravy.
posted by yesster at 12:43 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Hot dogs aren't sandwiches. They're mass transit for buns. (SLTC)
posted by crysflame at 12:48 PM on August 20, 2017


yesster

That brings to mind this chart that adds a new dimension to the debate: in addition to sandwich structure there are also sandwich ingredients to consider.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand: "Is a hot dog a sandwich?" should really be the only citizenship test, one administered to both immigrants and native-born people at age 18. If you answer yes, sorry but you'll have to find somewhere else to live.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:51 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]




“An ice-cream taco is a sandwich.” [via: Sandwich Alignment Chart]

I hate this statement so much.
posted by Fizz at 1:00 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]




I do love the idea of the Nintendo Switch community discussing important philosophical questions like this. I wonder what the Switch community will solve next?

Is Mario from Super Mario Bros. a human? Discuss.
posted by Fizz at 1:24 PM on August 20, 2017


I applied for a job at a hot dog factory once. Did the tour. A hot dog is shaped, colored animal detritus. Just because it's a way to deliver some protein and sodium, that doesn't make it food. So, to the extent that a sandwich needs to be made of food, no, a hot dog is not a sandwich.
posted by 1369ic at 1:28 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'd argue that the hot dog vs sandwich debate is kind of an interesting debate, because both "sandwich" and "hot dog" have taken on expansive meanings.

We've already had folks point out earlier how a sandwich can conceivably be anything sandwiched between two of something.

But, when we talk about "hot dog" are we including just the sausage itself or the sausage with bun? Because I've heard both the sausage itself referred to as "hot dog" and the sausage+bun referred to as "hot dog".
posted by FJT at 1:39 PM on August 20, 2017


Suppose you asked me for a sandwich, and I brought back a hot dog. Would you really be OK with that? I think not.

If it was a Linguica or Louisiana Hot Link dog from Happy Dog, with all the fixings, and maybe a side of chili cheese fries? Then yeah, I would be pretty damn OK. In fact, I might check and see if they're open today. 'Cause sometimes you need to take a step back from an argument and see the larger issue. Like "What am I going to have for lunch today?"
posted by happyroach at 1:42 PM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


We all agree that poboys are sandwiches, and there is no relevant distinction between a hot dog and a sausage poboy.
posted by waffleriot at 1:55 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Here in the states, much against conventional wisdom, unconventional wisdom... well against everything - including better judgement and your arteries... 'bread cut from a loaf' is not required. And - there is a definitive answer regarding hot dogs hidden in this lining as well. Our countries military leaders have weighed in on what constitutes a sandwich and The Colonel reminds you that the KFC Double Down is a sandwich, and by the transitive properties of meat based adjacencies, the double down dog is also a sandwich.
posted by Nanukthedog at 1:56 PM on August 20, 2017


A hot dog is shaped, colored animal detritus.

That's a little harsh. The good ones have some head and cheek meat too.
posted by thelonius at 1:57 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


As a crazy-seeming guy in the Chicago subway told me (and everyone else) once:

Hot dog? That's just two pieces of bread. Can't call that a motorcycle.

Which is sort of funny as just a context-free set of sentences but yeah the state of mental health care provision in the US blows goats
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:05 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


so what was the absurdly large bowl of cut up vegan hot dogs dressed with ketchup, mustard, and relish that I ate, a couple weeks ago, out of a combination of exhaustion and "it was there" type feelings? does that count as a burrito bowl
posted by Gymnopedist at 2:12 PM on August 20, 2017


Bread + Filling = Sandwich. C'mon.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:28 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


If a hotdog is not a sandwich, then pepperoni, salame, bologna, etc can't be sandwiches.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:30 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Pepperoni? On a sandwich? That's a calzone.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:32 PM on August 20, 2017


Gymnopedist, my personal preference for those types (I do the same with cold cuts, their associated condiments, and detritus ) is salad. Also hotdog may be a sandwich if there is bread involved or some kind of a sausage. Though as you can see I am no kind of purist.
posted by evilDoug at 2:32 PM on August 20, 2017


This might be the only domain in which I can be convinced by "slippery slope" arguments. Because most hot-dog-as-sandwich arguments would also bestow sandwich-dom on jelly donuts, pizza folded in half, or both. Therefore hot dogs belong to their own distinct taxonomy, beholden to no larger group, as befits their noble and grand nature.
posted by range at 2:37 PM on August 20, 2017


Sandwiches are bread on top of non-bread on top of bread, even if the two bread sections are connected. A submarine sandwich is a sandwich, for example, even if the bread has a hinge. Therefore a hotdog is a sandwich -- but only if you hold it sideways.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:39 PM on August 20, 2017


If they declare hot dogs sandwiches, corn dogs will be next. Don't say I didn't warn you.
posted by vorpal bunny at 2:44 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Between this and the next NA (and possibly Europe?) Splatfest being Flight vs. Invisibility, someone at Nintendo of America clearly listens to a lot of Judge John Hodgman.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:55 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Growing up my mom never made hot dogs. My best friend however had a drawer in his kitchen that his mom stocked with CANDY! When she made hot dogs for us, she'd slice them and put the franks lenghways on white bread with ketchup. (*my house NEVER had white bread) Weird but she's also made us doughnuts (frozen heat in oven) in the mornings after sleepovers. My mom would give us malt o meal if anything. My friend also had soda in the fringe. He lived in a magic kingdom....hot dogs aside.
posted by shockingbluamp at 3:04 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


A hot dog is shaped, colored animal detritus.

Whats wrong with that? We killed an animal, we should use and consume as much of it as we can.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:05 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Ceci n'est pas une hotdog.
posted by parki at 3:08 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


The hot dog is a trivial solution to the sandwich equation.

The villanelle is the highest-dimensional solution currently known.
posted by Zonker at 3:13 PM on August 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


What defines a sandwich is, specifically, structure—and ingredients to a very small extent.

A sandwich is any food that can be eaten on its own and maintain a shape and structure that is _sandwiched between_ something. That something can be bread, it can be two pieces of breaded chicken, it can be whatever you like. It must be of the same family, however, so you can't, say, sandwich a piece of meat between a slice of bread and a different piece of meat and call it a sandwich.

This means the following are sandwiches: a peanut butter sandwich, an ice cream sandwich, the Double Down, a burger, and the Toast Sandwich.

Open Faced Sandwiches are not sandwiches, as the filling is not sandwiched between the bread. Pizza is not a sandwich for the same reason.

Additionally, a sandwich must be open on at _least_ one side. (e.g. a dumpling is not a sandwich, neither is a calzone.) This is important because many sandwiches on rolls, such as a hoagie/sub/hero need to have a hinge on one side to be made properly. Also, it allows for pita sandwiches, such as falafel. This means that the following are also sandwiches: Falafel (served inside a pita pocket), a cheesesteak, a hot dog on a bun, a quesadilla, and even a taco.

However, a burrito is not a sandwich. It is a wrap. Also soup served in a bread bowl is not a sandwich, as the soup cannot maintain its shape and structure outside of the vessel containing it.

I hope this clears things up.
posted by SansPoint at 3:20 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Bread + Filling = Sandwich. C'mon.

We're in agreement, except that it must be two separated pieces of bread.

If a hotdog is not a sandwich, then pepperoni, salame, bologna, etc can't be sandwiches.

It's not the meat, it's the structure. A hotdog isn't a sandwich because of the bun. If you put salami in a hotdog bun that also wouldn't be a sandwich.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:23 PM on August 20, 2017


These threads are the 2017 version of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
posted by srboisvert at 3:31 PM on August 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


range: Because most hot-dog-as-sandwich arguments would also bestow sandwich-dom on jelly donuts, pizza folded in half, or both.

Incorrect. As I establish in my full sandwich taxonomy post, a sandwich must be open on at least one end. A Jelly Donut may have an opening that was used to insert the jelly, but that is not so much as being "open on one side" as merely having a hole in it. The easiest corollary here is a Pop-Tart. A Pop-Tart is sealed on all four sides, which means it is not a sandwich. If a corner breaks off, the Pop-Tart does not become a sandwich, it maintains its Pop-Tart-ness, and its non-sandwich identity.

As for folding pizza in half, what defines a sandwich is also in the original structure of the food as created and served. If you fold your pizza in half, which all reasonable people do with proper pizza, you simply have folded pizza. It is not served folded, and anyone who would serve you pre-folded pizza is a madman. Either way, the pizza slice is of a full pizza pie, which is still not a sandwich.

However, you can use slices of pizza to create a sandwich by placing a separate food item between each slice. Perhaps a sliced Garlic Knot. (You'll want to put the top slice cheese-side down for ease of eating.
posted by SansPoint at 3:36 PM on August 20, 2017


Bread is neither a necessary nor sufficient component for hotdogs. On the other hand, you need bread (or at least a bread substitute) to make a sandwich, and you can make a sandwich out of nothing but bread. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.
posted by surlyben at 3:44 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Bread is certainly a necessary component for a hotdog. A hotdog is a frankfurter/weiner/whatever you call it + a bun. If you didn't have a bun you'd just have a sausage.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:49 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: is certainly a necessary component for a hotdog
posted by Fizz at 3:53 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


"If you didn't have a bun you'd just have a sausage."

That's what my girlfriend said.
posted by shockingbluamp at 3:54 PM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


This is one of the dumbest reddit shibboleths, I gotta say. Yes, it's a subset of sandwiches, just like subs and hamburgers. It's not even one of the weird edge cases. Sandwiches are primarily savory fillings in a separately cooked raised bread envelope. The abstract ideal in American usage is cold cuts in sliced loaf bread, and it's a continuum from there. Change the nature of the bread, and you slide through flatbreads into the land of wraps and tacos. Change the baking method and you slide into the realm of sausage rolls and filled pies/pastries. Change the structure of the sandwich and you slide through open-faced melts into the pizza zone. Move away from the savory and you slide through jelly and fluff sandwiches into things like shortcake. And so on.
posted by tavella at 4:07 PM on August 20, 2017


and it's a continuum from there.

Nope, it's an absolute divide. If the bread isn't separated, it's not a sandwich and never can be.
posted by Sangermaine at 4:09 PM on August 20, 2017


I swear we've gone over this on Metafilter before. Bread + other ingredients are combined (usually) in the four following ways:

= : Two pieces of bread. Examples include sandwich, quesadilla.
U : One piece of bread, split or rolled, with ingredients within. Examples include hot dogs, tacos.
O : One piece of bread, encasing the ingredients. Examples include burrito, wrap, calzone.
_ : One piece of bread, holding the ingredients. Examples include pizza, open-face "sandwich".

Hot dogs are not sandwiches, because they have form factor U, not form factor =.
posted by explosion at 4:12 PM on August 20, 2017 [8 favorites]


I can't believe I'm actually participating in this discussion, but given I regularly made half-sandwiches when I wanted a snack by folding one piece of bread, and subs are regularly made without cutting all the way through the roll: no.
posted by tavella at 4:14 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


You did not regularly make half-sandwiches because there's no such thing. Or rather, a half-sandwich would be an actual sandwich cut in half. You made some kind of roll, not a sandwich.

Improperly made subs are just that, and don't change the definition of sandwich.
posted by Sangermaine at 4:18 PM on August 20, 2017


explosion, Sangermaine: Form U is totally a sandwich.

The hinge is essential for any sort of sandwich that is made on a long roll (Italian, baguette, hot dog bun, what-have-you) as it provides structural integrity. You can cram a lot more filling into a long roll when you leave a hinge.

Now, I doubt anyone in this thread would say a Philly Cheesesteak is not a sandwich, yet in my entire life, I have never found a place that makes Philly Cheesesteaks—at least within the 20 mile radius of Philadelphia, the Acceptable Cheesesteak Radius—that does not serve their cheesesteaks on rolls cut with a hinge.
posted by SansPoint at 4:18 PM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


Clearly the creators of the Philly Cheesesteak showed their lack of confidence in its status as a sandwich by not including "sandwich" in its name. If they can't label it a sandwich, neither can we.
posted by Sangermaine at 4:23 PM on August 20, 2017


Sangermaine: Open-faced Sandwiches are called sandwiches, but are not actually sandwiches. A sandwich need not have sandwich in the name to be a sandwich.
posted by SansPoint at 4:23 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


If they can't label it a sandwich, neither can we.
A Reuben doesn't have sandwich in the name, yet I would submit that the Reuben is the Ur-Sandwich, by which all other sandwiches attempt to measure up to.
posted by CrystalDave at 4:25 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I was being facetious. You make a good point with the Philly Cheesesteak. It's the one example so far that I recognize that everyone clearly agrees is always a sandwich; at least, I've never heard anyone call it anything else.
posted by Sangermaine at 4:26 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


So if I buy a package of hotdogs, and I pull a hotdog out of the package of hotdogs, and I put the hotdog that I pulled out of the package of hotdogs on a bun, I have thereby created a hotdog. But we've already determined that you have to put a hotdog on a bun to get a hotdog, so I put it on a bun to get a hotdog...which I put on a bun to get a hotdog...at what point can I add mustard?
posted by darksasami at 4:43 PM on August 20, 2017 [6 favorites]


darksasami: This is a nomenclature issue that affects many sausages served on buns. Be it a hot dog, a bratwurst, or a kielbasa, if you're serving a sausage on a bun or roll, the name does not change.

However, any sausage served on a bun or roll is a sandwich.
posted by SansPoint at 4:45 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I've thought about this for a long time and my impression is a hot dog is lying on top of the bun and is not being sufficiently "sandwiched" by the bread. If you turn a hot dog sideways the meat and toppings are in danger of falling out. This means a hot dog is more closely related to the pizza and the open-faced sandwich, therefore not a sandwich.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:07 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Is a hot dog pizza?
posted by Literaryhero at 5:20 PM on August 20, 2017


The structure argument can be examined with a thought experiment. If I butterfly a hot dog, griddle it, and put it between two slices of bread - is that a sandwich? Is a pig in a blanket a sandwich? If I take a baguette, cut a hole down its length, and jam a hot dog in it - is that a sandwich? If I put ketchup on any of these, do I forfeit any right to call it anything because I am the world's greatest monster?
posted by backseatpilot at 6:05 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


backseatpilot: If I butterfly a hot dog, griddle it, and put it between two slices of bread - is that a sandwich? Yes.

Is a pig in a blanket a sandwich? No.

If I take a baguette, cut a hole down its length, and jam a hot dog in it - is that a sandwich? No.

If I put ketchup on any of these, do I forfeit any right to call it anything because I am the world's greatest monster? Yes.
posted by SansPoint at 6:11 PM on August 20, 2017


I submit that for something to have sandwichhood, it must have a particular orientation with which you eat it, and at least one rotation that causes problems. This completely allows bread slices (you don't eat those vertically) and disallows burritos and wraps.
The middle ground is the hot dog and the submarine sandwich, which is then filling-dependent. A sub is a sandwich if the fillings are as such that it will drip out unacceptably if you turn it upside down to eat it. This rejects plain sausages in buns as sandwiches, but accepts hot dogs with a large amount of toppings.
posted by solarion at 6:14 PM on August 20, 2017


MetaFilter: I can't believe I'm actually participating in this discussion
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:44 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm going to start asking people this question and judging them accordingly.

Also: I like to eat lazy "half-sandwiches" made by folding one piece of bread over the filling. Whassat? A peanut-dog?
posted by Stonkle at 7:31 PM on August 20, 2017


So if I sliced up the hotdog and severed the bit of connective tissue joining the halves of the bun....it would inarguably be a sandwich, right?
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:32 PM on August 20, 2017


I'm keeping out of this argument, but this thread reminded me that I will be back in Northwestern South Carolina tomorrow and I should see if Skin Thrasher's will be open special hours so I can get one of the world's best hot dogs as a side with my eclipse...

(Unfortunately it appears the answer is no. Dammit.)
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:11 PM on August 20, 2017


Is Mario from Super Mario Bros. a human? Discuss.

Judging from the Mario Odyssey trailers, Mario is a mustachioed parasitic hat that possessed a plumber many years ago and has remained bonded to its host.
posted by straight at 8:53 PM on August 20, 2017


This doesn't answer whether a bowl of cereal is soup.
posted by w0mbat at 8:58 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Clearly a hotdogs is a form of burrito.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:04 PM on August 20, 2017


If you didn't have a bun you'd just have a sausage.

Nah, that's not true. As, I've mentioned earlier I've heard both sausage and sausage+bun referred to as a "hot dog". I'll point to two examples. On the Wikipedia article for hot dog, there's a pic with the caption "grilled hot dogs" showing three hot dogs, with NO bun. Second, Hot Dog on a Stick, founded in 1948, sells corn dogs which they call "hot dog on a stick", NOT "sausage on a stick".
posted by FJT at 9:40 PM on August 20, 2017


I've thought about this for a long time and my impression is a hot dog is lying on top of the bun and is not being sufficiently "sandwiched" by the bread.

So, this begs the question: Sometimes when eating a hot dog, the bun splits apart and to keep the hot dog from falling through the middle, it's turned 90 degrees and then the buns are pressed together. At that point, does a hot dog accidentally turn into a sandwich?
posted by FJT at 9:45 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


A sandwich is any food that can be eaten on its own and maintain a shape and structure that is _sandwiched between_ something.

This would mean all manners of cookies are sandwiches too: Oreos, Fig Newtons, wafers, etc.
posted by FJT at 9:53 PM on August 20, 2017


This is really easy folks: it's on Wikipedia's list of sandwiches page, there for is a sandwich. Because of course that page exists.
posted by pwnguin at 9:53 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I believe Judge John Hodgman's ruling on this issue was that a hot dog is not a sandwich, because you would never cut one in half and save the other half for later or give it to a friend.
posted by rifflesby at 10:15 PM on August 20, 2017


>A sandwich is any food that can be eaten on its own and maintain a shape and structure that is _sandwiched between_ something.

This would mean all manners of cookies are sandwiches too: Oreos, Fig Newtons, wafers, etc.


I would argue that a Fig Newton is not "sandwiched between" but rather "encased within", like a burrito or corndog, and the distinction is important.
posted by rifflesby at 10:17 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Also soup is just a wet salad
posted by rifflesby at 10:19 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I haven't bothered to ctrl-f this so apologies in advance if it's already mentioned but if you order a hot dog at Five Guys they quarter the dog and serve it in a hamburger bun. Still tastes good, so, yeah I guess a hot dog is a sandwich.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:12 PM on August 20, 2017


Is there a timeline for when this became an Internet meme? The first person I've heard speak passionately about the subject was my girlfriend at the time and this was in like November or something. When I built my Safety Team I had introduced her as "the person with strong opinions on sandwiches" and this specific debate ended up being a meme within our chat (lots of heated debates omg). It got to the point that even my non-Safety Team friends knew about it and sent me links to stuff around it.

A few months later XKCD made this comic about the meme, then there was the Alignment chart, then this post. When and how did it take off?
posted by divabat at 11:19 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Also soup is just a wet salad

Raw, cold vegetables vs. cooked, hot vegetables. No match.

And, I mean, they have their own separate bowls and utensils.

I really feel like you're not taking this seriously enough.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:59 PM on August 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


Eleanor Rosch's prototype theory claims that categories like sandwich are learned from prototypical examples, not from definitions. Membership of an instance in a category is not a binary yes/no, but rather lies on a better/worse gradient according to how closely the instance resembles the prototypes.
Rosch showed that speakers could make consistent judgements about the degree of membership of an item in a category [...] For example, there was significant agreement on the following ranking of categories and their members, where the head of the list represents the best example, the last, the worst:

Fruit: apple, plum, pineapple, strawberry, fig, olive. (An apple is a better example of fruit than an olive.)

Vehicle: car, boar, scooter, tricyle, horse, skis. (A car makes a better vehicle than a scooter.)

[S. G. Pulman, Word Meaning and Belief.]
So in the case of sandwich there are instances (like ham on rye) that are central to the category (close to the prototypes), instances (like hamburger) that are non-central but still in the category, and a fuzzy region where people differ as to whether the instance is inside or outside the category. It seems that for many people the prototypical sandwich has these properties:
  1. Two slices
  2. of bread
  3. with a savory filling
  4. served at room temperature.
Lose one of these (a filled roll lacks property 1; a ham croissant 2; peanut butter & jelly 3; hamburger 4) and you still have a sandwich, but not the most sandwich-y sandwich. Lose two (a hot dog lacks 1 and 4) and you're on the uncertain edge of the category where speakers differ; lose three (a jelly doughnut lacks 1, 2 and 3) and most speakers agree that it's out.
posted by cyanistes at 12:52 AM on August 21, 2017 [6 favorites]


Also: I like to eat lazy "half-sandwiches" made by folding one piece of bread over the filling. Whassat? A peanut-dog?
posted by Stonkle at 7:31 PM on August 20 [+] [!]


That is a Charlie Brown.
posted by darksasami at 1:01 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Previously
posted by Phssthpok at 1:23 AM on August 21, 2017


I believe Judge John Hodgman's ruling on this issue was that a hot dog is not a sandwich, because you would never cut one in half and save the other half for later or give it to a friend.

You know what? I am finding this pretty hard to argue with.
posted by Literaryhero at 1:25 AM on August 21, 2017


Rather than John Hodgman, I think we should find out what John Montagu has to say on the subject.
posted by TedW at 3:21 AM on August 21, 2017


Lose one of these (a filled roll lacks property 1; a ham croissant 2; peanut butter & jelly 3; hamburger 4) and you still have a sandwich, but not the most sandwich-y sandwich. Lose two (a hot dog lacks 1 and 4) and you're on the uncertain edge of the category where speakers differ; lose three (a jelly doughnut lacks 1, 2 and 3) and most speakers agree that it's out.

In other words, a food's divergence from the prototypical ham sandwich is measured by its Hamming sandwich distance.
posted by NMcCoy at 3:54 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


I believe Judge John Hodgman's ruling on this issue was that a hot dog is not a sandwich, because you would never cut one in half and save the other half for later or give it to a friend.


Anyone who has ever saved half a grilled cheese for later is possibly a robot but is surely not from this earth. A grilled cheese is the cellular basic perfect structure of a sandwich.

On the other hand, my grilled cheeses are a deeply personal thing and I often get surprised looks when I make them, so I am not certain my friends would partake of the wonders therein, i.e.: smoked Gouda, blue cheese, bacon and raspberry jelly. I might be an alien myself, come to mention it...
posted by 1f2frfbf at 5:13 AM on August 21, 2017


It seems that for many people the prototypical sandwich has these properties:

Two slices
of bread
with a savory filling
served at room temperature.

Lose one of these (a filled roll lacks property 1; a ham croissant 2; peanut butter & jelly 3; hamburger 4) and you still have a sandwich, but not the most sandwich-y sandwich.


Again, these particular criteria apply only amongst barbarians.

Here in civilization, the protypical sandwich has these properties:

(a) at least two slices
(b) of bread cut from a loaf
(c) with something else in between and/or on top
(d) and edges open to the air

and only (a) can be varied without instant disqualification.

So a jam sandwich is a sandwich, and a Vegemite sandwich is a sandwich, and a salt-and-pepper-and-dripping sandwich is a sandwich, and a crustless cucumber sandwich is a sandwich, and a steak sandwich is a sandwich, and a toasted cheese, ham and pineapple sandwich is a sandwich.

An open sandwich is a sandwich but, per your divergence-from-prototype principle, gets the side-eye for involving only one slice of bread. It's the kind of sandwich that would probably be refused entrance at a night club for failure to comply with the dress code. Likewise the aforementioned Charlie Brown. And the less said about smashed avocado on toast the better.

A club sandwich, with more than two slices of bread and hot fillings, is a sandwich.

If you put typical hamburger fillings between two slices of bread, the resulting rissole sandwich is a sandwich. If the bread is toasted, it's a toast and rissole sandwich. If the whole thing gets toasted in a sandwich press, it's a rissole toasted sandwich.

Two sausages and tomato sauce between two bits of bread is a sausage sandwich.

A single sausage laid diagonally across a single slice of bread, with tomato sauce and maybe a bit of onion on top, and the bread then wrapped around to afford a one-handed grip (such as you might find at a charity sausage sizzle outside Bunnings) is a sausage in bread, not a sandwich.

Toasting a sandwich in an appliance that seals the edges together results in a jaffle, not a sandwich, per property (d).

A hamburger is not a sandwich. A muffin is not a sandwich. A foccacia is not a sandwich. A croissant is not a sandwich. A silverside and salad roll is not a sandwich. A crumpet is not a sandwich. A pizza is not a sandwich. A wrap is not a sandwich. A taco is not a sandwich. And a hot dog is absolutely, definitely, indisputably, unambiguously and completely not even slightly a sandwich.

I trust this clears things up.
posted by flabdablet at 5:40 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Further clarification: what's in between the slices of bread is not, strictly speaking, required to be edible.

Thus a smiley meat sandwich is a sandwich, just not food.
posted by flabdablet at 5:52 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is one of those topics that doesn't have an answer that'll satisfy everyone.

Consequently, a sandwich is whatever YOU want it to be!
posted by mikelieman at 5:53 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Descriptivist backslider.
posted by flabdablet at 5:58 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I trust this clears things up.

Not really. The Shooter's Sandwich is made from a single hollowed out loaf, so technically not two slices of bread. But it's still a sandwich, the name "sandwich" is part of it's name.
posted by FJT at 9:12 AM on August 21, 2017


By that standard, a knuckle sandwich is also technically a sandwich.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:16 AM on August 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


Well, I'm not using that as the only standard. I was using Shooter's Sandwich to poke a hole in flabdablet's sandwich reasoning.

And his definition of a "civilized" sandwich seems to leave out a lot of the non-Western world, which eats sandwich-like foods made from flatbread, steamed bread, rice, etc.
posted by FJT at 9:41 AM on August 21, 2017


Cory Doctorow made a sandwich alignment chart

Viva radical sandwich anarchy!
posted by ananci at 9:45 AM on August 21, 2017


a lot of the non-Western world, which eats sandwich-like foods made from flatbread, steamed bread, rice, etc.

Here in civilisation we call those things by their actual names, instead of being all "naaaaah... that's a sandwich."
posted by flabdablet at 9:47 AM on August 21, 2017


Here in civilisation we call those things by their actual names, instead of being all "naaaaah... that's a sandwich."

Umm, the sandwich is eaten across the world. There's going to be some deviation in the use there, just because words change and food changes as it travels. And there's also the translation of the word "sandwich" from English to other languages, which further shifts meaning. And a lot of times a thing may have more than one name as well.
posted by FJT at 10:20 AM on August 21, 2017


All "what is a sandwich" discussions descend into arbitrary nonsense unless you accept the fact that any intentionally layered food is a sandwich. Hot dogs, tacos, and pizza are all sandwiches. Anything can become a sandwich. I understand the impulse to impose order and predictability on a chaotic and uncertain world by playing Sandwich Arbiter, but we must eventually put aside childish things and accept reality as it is, not how we wish it to be.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:13 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


FJT:"The Shooter's Sandwich is made from a single hollowed out loaf, so technically not two slices of bread."

Which matters more Preparation or Presentation? In preparation a Shooter Sandwich is unsandwichlike. But in presentation complies with the aforementioned sandwich rules.
posted by zinon at 12:45 PM on August 21, 2017


unless you accept the fact that any intentionally layered food is a sandwich

Never! I will never call falafel in pita a sandwich, and you can't make me!

we must eventually put aside childish things and accept reality as it is, not how we wish it to be

You're not the boss of me.
posted by flabdablet at 12:46 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


zinon: As the Structure Neutral/Ingredient Rebel in here, I'll grandfather in the Shooter Sandwich as a sandwich, mostly as a matter of presentation. Nobody eats a whole Shooter Sandwich as prepared, but they do eat them in parts which meet a sandwich type somewhere between Type = and Type U.

In fact, with a little additional thought, I'd even say it's a sandwich in preparation since there's only a small lip from the top of the bread around where the "lid" is cut out.
posted by SansPoint at 1:17 PM on August 21, 2017


prizebulloctorok: Pizza is not a sandwich. It's layered, but the top layer of the pizza is not of the same family as the bottom layer.

Now, a bottom layer and top layer in a sandwich don't need to be an exact match, but they do need to be in the same family. If, for example, you make a sandwich with white bread on the bottom and wheat bread on top, that's still a sandwich. If you make a sandwich with rye bread on the bottom and a lettuce leaf on the top, it's not a sandwich. Even if you prefix it with open-faced.
posted by SansPoint at 1:20 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


All prepared multi-ingredient dishes are soups, pies, sandwiches, breads, confections, or salads. A hot dog is a sandwich because it is not any of the others.
posted by FakeFreyja at 1:43 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


if an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich is a sandwich, then a pizza is a sandwich. a pizza is a pie, and all pies are sandwiches.

I'll grandfather in

see, now, as soon as we start grandfathering things we're admitting we're just making stuff up.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:45 PM on August 21, 2017


I kind of think of hot dogs and hamburgers and the like as sandwiches in the same way that think of racecars, supercars, or giant dump trucks as cars. All technically cars by some definition but kind of specialized to extent that if I'm talking about buying a new car, you're safe assuming that it's not going to be from one of those categories, otherwise I would have said something like, "I'm thinking about buying a new supercar."

It's technically part of that category but it's not a useful categorization so no one really uses it.

On preview, I think this aligns pretty well with Prototype theory above. If I'm talking a thing that has properties 1-4, there's no need to specify further. As soon as we start losing those properties, we've got to be more specific about the sub-category.

I also think we've got a problem with the level of our pedantry here. We've got lots of discussion the boils down to, "No, a hot dog is/is not a sandwich because a sandwich is X, Y, and Z."

What we're missing is why X, Y, and Z are better definitions of a sandwich than someone else's A, B, and C.

I had hoped that a bit of research into the history would clear it up. If hot dogs were already a firmly established thing before sandwiches get invented, I think that would clear things up a little. While it seems that the term sandwich traces back the Earl of Sandwich story, people have been putting food between buns and/or slices of bread for about as long as there has been bread.

So really the Earl of Sandwich didn't invent anything, he just coined a term for it.

The sticking point seems to be the bread. What's the case for making a distinction between sliced bread from a loaf and a sliced bun? Isn't a bun just a small loaf of bread?

I'll draw a line at unleavened bread. Too many examples have a specific term (tacos, fajitas, pitas, etc.) already and often the filling is specific. They're still a sandwich cousin though, sandwich adjacent, if you prefer.
posted by VTX at 3:20 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Vehicle: car, boar, scooter, tricyle, horse, skis. (A car makes a better vehicle than a scooter.)

I hope there's a typo early on in that list, or people are using swine in a rather different fashion than I'm used to.
posted by Four Ds at 3:32 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


if an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich is a sandwich, then a pizza is a sandwich. a pizza is a pie, and all pies are sandwiches.

Wait, if that's an "obviously not a sandwich" example, are we claiming that apple pie with crust on top is a sandwich? Or only if it has a solid crust, not latticed?

... I think to be a sandwich it has to be assembled out of pre-cooked, or at least ready-to-eat materials. If you have cook the parts together, it's not a sandwich. (Grilled cheese is a sandwich because you can assemble a raw cheese sandwich. Pizza is not; it's not ready to eat before it's cooked.) (However, if you take leftover pizza, toast a couple of slices in your toaster oven, and place them face-to-face, you have a pizza sandwich.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:17 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Never! I will never call falafel in pita a sandwich, and you can't make me!

CIT-I-ZEN. RE-PORT TO SAND-WICH CAMP FOR RE-ED-U-CA-TION!!!
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:32 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think to be a sandwich it has to be assembled out of pre-cooked, or at least ready-to-eat materials.

This is in fact pretty much the spirit of the sandwich: precooked or pre-prepared savory ingredients assembled in a pre-made raised bread, meant for hand consumption. If people are going to whine about hot dogs, they should be complaining about the fact you have to heat them at the time you are making the sandwich, not about the geometry of the bun. It's still a sandwich, same as grilled cheese, etc, but that's the only thing that moves it away from the core sandwich zone at all.

(dear god why I am I still here...)
posted by tavella at 7:11 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


All prepared multi-ingredient dishes are soups, pies, sandwiches, breads, confections, or salads.

And all birds are pigeons, and all insects are flies, ants or bees.
posted by flabdablet at 10:59 PM on August 21, 2017


If you have cook the parts together, it's not a sandwich.

A panini is a sandwich. If a grilled cheese sandwich is still a sandwich after you grill it, then clearly post-assembly cooking does not invalidate its sandwich-nature. All pizzas and all pies are sandwiches. Also most cakes.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:18 PM on August 21, 2017


Because I don't bother eating my hotdogs with condiments I frequently cut the bun all the way through and toast/ grill it. Therefore I'm unequivocally eating a frankfurter sandwich. I will grant you it may no longer be a hot dog by someone's definition, but I'm declaring victory in my own mind and celebrating with a stromboli sandwich, followed by a cannoli sandwich.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:30 PM on August 21, 2017


I think Gordon Ramsey might have a pertinent response
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:33 PM on August 21, 2017


A panini is a sandwich. If a grilled cheese sandwich is still a sandwich after you grill it, then clearly post-assembly cooking does not invalidate its sandwich-nature. All pizzas and all pies are sandwiches. Also most cakes.

I don't know about this. The way I see it, grilled cheese and paninis still have bread (and arguably are fundamentally sandwiches) before you cook them, but something that is partly raw dough before the cooking process takes place falls in a different category.
posted by juv3nal at 5:18 AM on August 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


w/r/t hot dogs and the pre-cooked nature of sandwich components.

1. Most hot dogs can be eaten cold, as they're pre-cooked. Grilling/boiling/microwaving just heats them up.
2. Even sausages that require cooking are still cooked before being placed on the bun, so they'd still fall under the pre-cooked component aspect of sandwich components.
posted by SansPoint at 8:43 AM on August 22, 2017


If Hot Pockets are sandwiches (and they explicitly identify and market themselves as being sandwiches) then any pasty is a sandwich and a pie is just an open-faced pasty and therefore a sandwich. Cooking the dough as part of the preparation process may be necessary to classify something as a pie (I do not specialize in pie theory and will not attempt to engage in debate on what is or isn't a pie), but for a sandwich, it is irrelevant.

Years ago, before the advent of such things as the KFC Double Down and the In-N-Out Protein Style Burger, it might have been possible to argue for more rigid definitions of sandwichness, but we don't live in that world anymore.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:18 AM on August 22, 2017


Hot Pockets are not sandwiches, though. No more than an open-faced sandwich is.
posted by SansPoint at 11:09 AM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


"Hot Pockets Sandwiches" is literally what it says in their logo and branding

and if an open-faced sandwich isn't a sandwich then what in the name of god is it

the more you tighten your grip, the more sandwiches slip through your fingers
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:58 PM on August 22, 2017


prize bull octorok: A Hot Pocket is sealed on all four ends. It is a pastry. An open-faced sandwich is basically food served on a trencher. It's not a sandwich unless the filling is sandwiched between two sides of a thing, but not completely sealed. (So those crustless peanut butter and jelly "sandwiches" ain't sandwiches either.)
posted by SansPoint at 1:07 PM on August 22, 2017


if I take an Uncrustable and run a knife along its circumference, does it then become a sandwich?
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:52 PM on August 22, 2017


What if you charred a Hebrew National, sliced it in half, and ate it between two slices of bread with some mustard, would that be a sandwich?
posted by TedW at 2:14 PM on August 22, 2017


A Panini is a sandwich because you make it by first making a sandwich and then cooking it some more. It's a sandwich first and then you upgrade it.

Same deal with a grilled cheese sandwich. Make a cheese sandwich and then upgrade it.

Both start life as a sandwich.

The grilled cheese concept works great with lots of sandwiches. Put some cheese, some sliced turkey and sliced ham between two slices of buttered bread and grill via your preferred method. Or, like, whatever else you'd like in a sandwich hot with melted cheese and fried bread.
posted by VTX at 3:10 PM on August 22, 2017


the more you tighten your grip, the more sandwiches slip through your fingers

That wouldn't happen if you had a slice of bread both sides of those sandwiches. Just sayin'.
posted by juv3nal at 3:22 PM on August 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


But then stuff still squirts out the sides and if I seal up the sides, I've made a pastry.

Hot Pockets can claim to be a sandwich all it wants, marketing is, on occasion, less than perfectly honest.
posted by VTX at 4:44 PM on August 22, 2017


look, most of us are not going to be all I OBJECT SIR if we hear somebody talking about ice cream sandwiches or sandwich cookies. "sandwiched between" is also very common phrasing when we're talking about things that aren't even related to food at all. sandwiching is layering. that's all it is. any layered food can be validly described as a sandwich. what good is served by trying to invent rules that allow us to claim that perfectly sandwich-like foods like Hot Pockets aren't sandwiches
posted by prize bull octorok at 5:04 PM on August 22, 2017


and if an open-faced sandwich isn't a sandwich then what in the name of god is it

Smörgås.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:36 PM on August 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


prize bull octorok: If a Hot Pocket is a sandwich, so is a McDonald's Apple Pie, a Beef Wellington and a ravioli. We need to draw the line somewhere, and I think a fully-sealed food item is a pretty clear place of demarcation.
posted by SansPoint at 7:15 PM on August 22, 2017


A ravioli is a little boiled sandwich

It's ok. It's ok for it to be that. We don't need the drawn lines
posted by prize bull octorok at 7:25 PM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


most of us are not going to be all I OBJECT SIR if we hear somebody talking about ice cream sandwiches or sandwich cookies.

I OBJECT SIR
posted by flabdablet at 10:39 PM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


A ravioli is a little boiled sandwich

It's ok. It's ok for it to be that.


And where does that kind of attitude lead? Standards collapsing in ruins, that's where. Next you'll be saying we should all be just fine with the opening of boiled eggs at the big end.
posted by flabdablet at 2:58 AM on August 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


flabdablet: I don't know if I'd go that far... especially since the big end of the egg is where the air pocket is, so that's an easier place to open it. (Or are you talking about soft-boiled eggs, which is a different plate of beans altogether.)

But words have meanings, dang it. If I ask for a sandwich, and someone gives me ravioli, I'd be really confused.
posted by SansPoint at 8:31 AM on August 23, 2017


if you asked for a fruit salad and got a bowl of chopped up eggplant, you'd be likewise confused, but an eggplant is still a fruit, even if we don't describe it that way in a culinary context.

also a boiled egg is a sandwich too.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:38 AM on August 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


prize bull octorok also a boiled egg is a sandwich too.

Now you're putting me on.
posted by SansPoint at 11:40 AM on August 23, 2017


if a toast sandwich is a sandwich then there's no requirement that the different layers be different things. an egg, as laid, is a layered foot unit (yolk and white). layers! that's all it is! sandwiching is layering, nothing more.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:09 PM on August 23, 2017


You've been eating paint chip sandwiches again, haven't you
posted by Sys Rq at 1:12 PM on August 23, 2017


this is like the five hundredth "are hot dogs sandwiches?" "are burritos sandwiches?" FPP; the world needs a grand unified sandwich theory goddammit
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:27 PM on August 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


This one is so grand it takes skewers to unify it.
posted by flabdablet at 1:45 PM on August 23, 2017


flabdablet: I'd eat the hell out of that, whatever you want to call it.
posted by SansPoint at 9:16 AM on August 24, 2017


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