01 March 2006

Is that a hot dog in your sandwich? Or are you just happy to see me?

Is a hot dog a sandwich? Before you answer, let me present Webster's definition of a sandwich: 1 a : two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between b : one slice of bread covered with food. According to this definition, a hot dog certainly seems to qualify. What about two slices of French toast? What about a pita pocket stuffed with meat? What about a slice of buttered bread. Are these sandwiches? My heart says no... But Webster says maybe. As it turns out, I am not the only one that has struggled to pin down the precise qualifications for what makes a sandwich.

According to the Wikipedia, The term "sandwich" has been expanded—especially in the United States—to include items made with other "breads" such as tortilla, rolls and focaccia. Thus hamburgers and "subs", for example, are called "sandwiches" in the United States, although not in the midwest, south or western states or most other English-speaking countries (since they are not made with slices of bread from a loaf). This quite liberal definition seems to include not only hot dogs in the sandwich domain, but also wraps, tacos, and burritos! While that notion does not sit easy with me, I am trying to remain open-minded.

The sandwich project has accepted the huge challenge of collecting recipes for sandwiches, and currently has over 2,000. These include recipes for jam and cheese sandwiches which the creators admit, "sounds horrible, but tastes delicious." The project is off to a good start, but such an inclusive definition of sandwich makes the human genome project look like a walk in the park compared to this massive undertaking.

Anyways, I guess basically anything can be a sandwich as long as it has some sort of carb-based container for a filling. So, is a corndog a sandwich? Sure, why not. What about a jelly-filled donut? Ah man, I don't know, but one of those sure sounds good about now...


j said...

I think the crux of the matter rests on how you define "filling" and "food". I stand by my opinion that egg would qualify as filling/food but not the egg/milk/cinnamon batter that french toast is dipped in. At that point the egg has become more a part of the bread than a separate filling.

As for jelly and cheese sandwiches...Argentines are very fond of cheese and a gelatinous substance the refer to simply as dulce, either dulce de batata (sweet potato) or dulce de membrillo (quince). They don't eat this on bread, but often on a cracker. I never thought of that as a sandwich though.

Chip Chief said...

But if French toast is buttered and syruped, then there is a coated bread and a filling. And that my friend, qualifies as a sandwich.

j said...

I can't believe you would refer to butter and syrup as a filling. Thats crazy talk.

Bunny Dee said...

Lord Sandwitch would be so proud... ;)
Oh may he rest in peace... and pieces of bread.

My verdict on the matter would be "anything is a sandwitch if there's bread - and something else - involved... even pizza".
I'm well known among friends for my insistance on putting any leftovers either in or on slices of bread and considering it a meal.

(By the way, on yet another random-subject note, I just said "why would I want to work with my mother?" out loud in the middle of a discussion, and looked at the word verification here just after I said that... it's "yjobwmm", which translated as "why-job-with-my-mother" in my head... It feels *so* spooky :P)

nick said...

Something is only sandwich when the emphasis is placed on the item inside, like the food or filling. So, basically it’s all in the presentation of the food.

A turkey sandwich is such because the most important part is the turkey. The Pizza wouldn’t work, because emphasis is on the whole food item. Buttered bagel doesn’t work either because there is a larger emphasis on the Bagel.

I think the answer for the French toast thing is fairly simple. Buttered French Toast generally isn't a sandwich (emphasis on the toast), but if you were to put a lot of butter- like a ridiculous amount, then it could humorously be referred to as a butter sandwich. How’s that sound?