Hot dog debate: to sandwich or not to sandwich


To sandwich or not to sandwich: the debate continues to rage on as the hot dog floats in ambiguity.  People insist on placing hot dogs in a category of ambivalence, claiming it is not a sandwich. By the correct definition of what a sandwich is, a hot dog is in fact a sandwich.

The controversy arises as a sandwich is not clearly defined. It is sometimes defined as “two or more pieces of bread with meat, cheese, or other fillings between,” with contrasting definitions found on Merriam Webster, classifying a sandwich as “two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between.”

So where does a hot dog fall? Using the first definition, the answer appears to be clear, but this definition blatantly ignores entire categories of sandwiches. The sub, or submarine sandwich, is not completely cut through, resulting in only one piece of bread. The sub is clearly a sandwich, as it is in the name, but using the flawed definition of requiring two separate slices of bread, it would not be.

What aspect of a hot dog makes it undeserving of the title of a sandwich? The hinge roll is a staple of a multitude of sandwiches. From meatball subs to cheesesteaks, partially connected rolls are used in sandwiches across the sandwich world and their titles of sandwiches are not questioned. If a hot dog is not considered a sandwich because of the type of bread that is used, all other sandwiches using a connected roll must not be considered one. Students agree. “I think they fall under the sandwich category, however I understand why some think differently,” senior Emma Baldwin said.

With the unique shape of the filling, it is argued that the hot dog is not a sandwich. Regardless of the shape of the protein, the hot dog is still a piece of meat ‘sandwiched’ between bread. Meatballs, pulled pork, even PB&J do not fall under the restraints of being regular sliced meat or a conventional shape of filling.

One of the most frustrating arguments from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC), the claimed experts on this topic. “Limiting the hot dog’s significance by saying it’s ‘just a sandwich’ is like calling the Dalai Lama ‘just a guy,” said the NHDSC on their website.

This is truly idiotic. Saying that a hot dog fits under the description of a sandwich by no means takes away from its significance. It is a categorization. And despite the accomplishments of the Dalai Lama, he is indeed a ‘guy.’ The classification of the hot dog does not change what it is, it has always been a type of sandwich. “It’s obvious to me that a hot dog can be nothing else besides a sandwich,” senior Sidney Levine said.

This idea carries through to another argument: you would never ask for a sandwich from a hot dog vendor. Yes, one would not ask for a sandwich from them because it is necessary to specify what type of sandwich. Nobody shouts “get your sandwiches here” because they are not specifying what they are selling, they are selling one item, a subcategory of sandwich, the hotdog.

Regardless of what the NHDSC says, no characteristic of a hot dog would limit its ability to be a sandwich. The argument “they just aren’t” is meaningless. Standing with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on this issue, I frankly declare, a hot dog IS a sandwich.

Matthew Lind

Senior Back Page Editor