Is a sandwich a hotdog?

By Josh Aguirre | Multimedia Journalist

What is a sandwich? A sandwich is something quick and easy parents used to make us as kids, whether it be a hearty ham and cheese, a gooey grilled cheese or a classic peanut butter and jelly. There is an ongoing debate as to whether a hot dog is a sandwich, or if it is its own class of food. The one question no one ever seems to address is the opposite side of the hot dog and sandwich debate. Is not a sandwich just a variation of a hot dog?

Celebrities including Matt Damon, Jimmy Kimmel, Rachel Ray, as well as several others have all said different things concerning this debate, but all of them came to the same conclusion. Collectively, they agree that a hot dog is, in fact, not a sandwich. What they don’t discuss is the possibility that maybe a sandwich is a hot dog. Who’s to say that a sandwich isn’t just a different kind of hot dog? That would explain why a hot dog can’t be classified as a sandwich. How can a something, described by the National Hot dog and Sausage Council as the Dalai Lama among regular people, be placed into such a generic food category like sandwich.

Yes, there are several types of sandwiches, and yes, a hot dog meets some of the expectations of what a sandwich is, but could this be because we as a society are trying to force something so mysterious and extravagant into a small sandwich-shaped box. I believe we have this flipped. What if the reason we see hot dogs as sandwiches is because a sandwich meets the requirements of what it means to be a hot dog. What if we’ve had it backwards this whole time? Imagine the doors that would open if the sandwich finally stopped trying to own the hot dog, and stepped into its role as a subclass of hot dog. Having a sandwich classified as a hot dog, why, we would see sandwiches in places we’ve only ever accepted what we thought was a hot dog before.

I can see it now: “Get your sandwiches! Piping hot sandwiches here,” they would say as grilled cheese are sold at baseball games. You would turn on your TV and there, right in front of you, contestants would be scarfing down turkey club sandwiches in an effort to eat the most in their allotted time. What a world we would live in where our foods aren’t labeled after an evil green woman who crashed her broom on a beach, but after an exceptionally attractive canine.

Yes, I understand that there’s this girl named Merriam-Webster somewhere, and somehow she’s been given the power to define all of our words. Well, maybe she’s wrong in saying in her dictionary that a sandwich is “two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between.” Maybe she’s wrong when she says that a sandwich is also “one slice of bread covered with food.” I guess that kind of describes what a hot dog is, but Merriam is one person. Opinions vary person to person and realistically, Merriam could have gotten it wrong, and that’s OK. We all make mistakes.

In reality, who really cares? Food is food. We’ve been blessed with two foods that can be crunchy or fluffy, sweet or salty, chunky or smooth, or even hot or cold. Whether or not sandwiches or hot dogs are sub-classes of each other doesn’t matter. As Juliet says in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” You could call cotton candy a pretzel, and it doesn’t change how it tastes.That’s what really matters. It’s all the same. Let’s not take for granted the wonder and magic that is food. Once we start getting caught up in arguments on food classification, we lose the true meaning of food. Let us appreciate food for what it is, not what it is called, or the category it is filed under. Let your taste buds dance freely without the shackles of societal labels and arbitrary debates.