In life, sometimes we encounter questions whose answers shake us to our very core and make us question everything we thought we knew on an existential level. What is the meaning of life? Do we really have free will? Are burgers and hot dogs sandwiches? OK, maybe whether or not burgers and hot dogs can be considered sandwiches is not one of life’s biggest questions, but it is one of the biggest food debates of our generation.
There are some things that we know without a doubt are sandwiches. Peanut butter and jelly between two slices of Wonder Bread is a sandwich. Grilled cheese is a sandwich. BLTs, reubens, turkey clubs, banh mis, pastrami on rye…these are the things we think of when we think of sandwiches. Not a grilled cheeseburger or a Chicago-style hot dog.
The answer to whether or not burgers and hot dogs are sandwiches comes down to legitimately deep question: What, exactly, is a sandwich? Merriam-Webster defines it as “two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between.” Simple enough. Essentially, anything can be a sandwich so long as it’s between two slices of bread or inside a roll or bun. So by a technical definition, yes, hot dogs and hamburgers are very much sandwiches.
But it’s not so simple. There are quite a few foods that aren’t what they seem. When we think of fruit, we think of apples and bananas, not tomatoes (which are botanically fruit). You wouldn’t put tomatoes in a fruit salad. Similarly, at restaurants, burgers and hot dogs typically exist in their own section of the menu, separate from the “Sandwiches.” For culinary purposes, burgers and hot dogs are completely different food items from sandwiches.
But in terms of classifications, well, these cookout staples are indeed sandwiches, whether you think of them that way or not. But if you want to make something that you know will be received as a sandwich, and a darn delicious one, try these sandwiches worthy of the dinner table.
By Dan Myers
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