It was a perfectly nice day in class when I first turned to a friend and questioned if hot dogs were sandwiches. Immediately, the girl on the other side of her cried “No!” while my friend sat and contemplated the question. After a long moment of thought, she finally turned to me and let out an unenthusiastic “I guess?” These two reactions have been typical; people tend to vehemently deny hot dogs being sandwiches or eventually accept the statement after a moment of thought. It is rare to find someone that immediately accept the truth as what it is; hot dogs are, indeed, sandwiches.
The main argument I have encountered is that, because both halves of a hot dog bun are connected, it does not fit a person’s personal definition of a sandwich being two pieces of bread surrounding some sort of filling. To this, I find two holes. First, my family has run into many situations where as soon as we place the hot dog inside the bun, the bread splits apart, thus creating two pieces of bread of approximately the same size with a filling in the middle. Otherwise known as a sandwich. The intent in this situation is irrelevant when you realize that sandwiches are often created by folding a piece of bread in half. Every morning I do just this, taking two pieces of bread and bending them like a taco, adding cheese into each separate slice of bread. Is this any less of a sandwich than if I simply placed the cheese on top of one slice and underneath the other, instead? While my friends often gripe at the content of my daily sandwiches as though they will be forced to eat it, they never question them being sandwiches. The definition decided by most people does not necessarily apply in every situation, so does not make a strong enough counter-argument against on its own.
Now at a loss of a set guideline for what is or isn’t a sandwich, people default to pointing out that hot dogs do not resemble a typical sandwich. This reasoning erases the many other food items generally referred to as sandwiches that have atypical shapes. For example, people know Subway as a “sandwich shop” without criticizing it for its longer-than-average shape of bread, which resembles a scaled-up hot dog bun. In addition, hamburgers are now becoming increasingly accepted as sandwiches in restaurant advertising and the like, despite these being round. Bread comes in all shapes and sizes, so it is unfair to discriminate based on either of these aspects. The interesting thing about the hot dog, though, is not that only the bread is oddly shaped, but the filling as well. A hot dog itself is long and thin, like a pickle after being sliced into quarters. A pickle is a perfectly acceptable sandwich topping, despite its shape, so why can’t hot dogs be? It is injustices such as these biased examples that lead people to believe that hot dogs are not, in fact, sandwiches, despite the clear reality that they are.
Finally, many claim that hot dogs differ from sandwiches due to them being eaten vertically, as opposed to tilted so that the bread is on top and bottom. Of course, the manner of eating is just a matter of preference. It is perfectly possible to eat a hot dog tilted so that the bread is found on the top and bottom, instead of either side. It is also possible to eat a sandwich tilted so the bread is on the left and right of the filling. Clearly, the way one eats a hot dog in comparison to a sandwich differs from person to person, so comparing the two is irrelevant.
But once the hot dog is accepted into sandwich-hood, is it not a slippery slope from there? What’s to stop my brother from walking into Bread Company and ordering a sandwich, only to be handed a bread bowl full of soup, or a wrap? Those concerned need not worry; the hot dog does not completely redefine the rules of the sandwich, just refines the definition. Bread bowls are completely with bread. Anything that envelops the filling completely are, for the most part, universally not considered sandwiches. Likewise, bread, not tortillas, must be used. A domino effect will easily be prevented, so everyone can sleep well knowing that the sanctity of sandwiches will be preserved.
Peanut butter, jelly, ham, turkey, cheese—all of these can be found inside bread for someone’s lunch, to be devoured like a lion eating its prey. Everyone has their own preferences for this snack. When you think about it in this way, it really shouldn’t matter if you add hot dogs into the mix of options.
Meredith Koch is a high school student from St. Louis, Missouri. She still awaits her first poetry publication, but enjoys Webster University’s production of her origina screenplay “Page by Page.”