Every once in a while, a great debate rages across America and divides the nation. Gay marriage, gender equality, weed legalization, capital punishment — these are the widely contested topics that define our generation.
However, rising above the fray is another controversy that has sent this country into an ideological wrestling match. It is bewildering the intellect of Americans everywhere, including Carly Fiorina and the Buffalo Bills. Highly disputed and profoundly divisive, this is an argument the likes of which this great nation has never seen.
Is a hot dog a sandwich?
This sizzling debate arose in response to the recently celebrated National Sandwich Day. Americans were puzzled, unsure whether hot dog consumption would properly commemorate the hallowed holiday.
After days of contention, the authorities declared that hot dogs are most certainly not sandwiches. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (yes, that’s a thing), hot dogs are “truly a category unto [their] own” and have officially transcended sandwiches.
But frankly, I just think they’re wrong.
I’ve discussed the subject with my peers, I’ve lost sleep, I’ve consulted the hot dog history books, and I can now say with absolute certainty that hot dogs are sandwiches. Here’s why.
In accordance with this 4-point test, in order for a food to qualify as a sandwich it must consist of two exterior pieces that are separate or mostly separate. A sandwich can have any filling your heart desires, but the outside parts are pivotal. These exterior pieces must also be carb based.
With this logic, a taco is not a sandwich, neither is a wrap or a corn dog. But a hamburger? Sandwich. An Oreo? Sandwich. A sub? It’s a sandwich. A hot dog? IT’S A SANDWICH, DAMNIT.
Also crucial to sandwich status is portability. Our modern concept of sandwich was birthed in 1762 when John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, was too busy gambling to stop for a meal. He asked for roast beef between two pieces of bread, and continued gambling.
A hot dog easily meets these criteria; you can eat a hot dog while doing almost anything, and you really only need one hand to do it. (Cue the weiner jokes).
And if you’re thinking (like I was) that a sandwich is contingent on the shape or formation of its contents, then I have two words for you: Meatball sub.
So, while the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (I still can’t believe it’s a thing) have asserted that hot dogs may have been considered sandwiches in their early history, they have evolved to become an entirely new entities. The Council even went even farther, saying, “Limiting the hot dog’s significance by saying its ‘just a sandwich,’ is like calling the Dalai Lama ‘just a guy.'”
Despite that lazy logic, I do believe hot dogs have evolved and shaped the course of human history. But they most definitely have not completely deviated from their primitive ancestor… The sandwich.
“Sandwich” is an umbrella term, with multiple sub-categories stemming from it. You have a sandwich, and from that you can have hamburgers, PB&Js, Oreos, ice cream sandwiches, Reubens, subs, French Dips, Clubs — the list goes on and on. Hot dogs are in fact a sub-category of a sandwich. If the sandwich is the genus, the hot dog is a species.
This debate may seem fleeting, fading out of the limelight as quickly as it came. But the crazy part is that it actually matters — categorizing hot dogs as sandwiches impacts tax codes and health regulations on a larger scale. Sort of like the Nix v. Hedden Supreme Court case of 1893 that debated whether tomatoes are fruits or vegetables.
You can buy my argument or not (you should though because I’m totally right), but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But next time you’re at a baseball game or a cookout, just take a second to think frankly about your frankfurter.