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Food Debate: Is a Hotdog a Sandwich?

by Olivia Xu

One question I’ve always had on my mind is, “Is a hotdog a sandwich?” This is an extremely popular debate and many people have given their opinion on the subject. After doing some research, I realized the answer was much more complicated than I originally thought. There were many conflicting opinions and vague statements. Today, I will share my discoveries and opinion with everyone.

The first answer I came upon was the legal definition. According to the Department of Tax and Finance, “Sandwiches include cold and hot sandwiches of every kind that are prepared and ready to be eaten, whether made on bread, on bagels, on rolls, in pitas, in wraps, or otherwise, and regardless of the filling or number of layers.” So by the Department of Tax and Finance’s definition, a hotdog is a sandwich. But, this should be taken with a grain of salt. The job of the Department is to add taxes on as many things as possible. So they want to make the definition as broad as possible. So let’s look at some other definitions of “sandwich”. 

According to Mark Wheeler, an employee for the US Department of Agriculture, “A sandwich is a meat or poultry filling between two slices of bread, a bun or a biscuit.” So things like tacos, wraps, and most importantly, hotdogs, wouldn’t be considered “sandwiches” by the USDA’s standards.

 

Now we have two conflicting answers. I then happened upon a statement made by the National Hotdog and Sausage Council. They stated, “While we thank the USDA for their careful regulation and inspection of our products, regulatory brevity is not their strength. We hope our position offers America some clarity and peace of mind. No matter how someone defines a hot dog, this much we can all agree on— it is THE great American food, beloved by all.” This was an extremely vague answer and didn’t help give anyone closure. 

Lastly, I shall give my own opinion. I believe that while a hotdog can be considered a “sandwich”, it should never be referred to as a sandwich. I believe that “sandwich” is an umbrella term that many foods can fit under, so calling a hotdog a sandwich can be confusing. It is like how a square is a quadrilateral, but is still referred to as a square. 

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1 comment

Jamie Stevens July 11, 2021 - 6:01 pm

I agree that hot dogs can technically be considered sandwiches, but never in my life have I seen a hot dog listed in the “sandwich” section of a menu.

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