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A frankfurter by any other name
October 17, 2009 12:36 AM   Subscribe

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Common sense tells me yes, but people generally seem to say no when I ask them. I'm curious about the official classification of hot dogs, sausages, etc. Are they sandwiches or something else entirely? Is there a regulatory body that covers this type of thing?
posted by tehloki to Food & Drink (55 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
A sandwich is:
a. Two or more slices of bread with a filling such as meat or cheese placed between them.
b. A partly split long or round roll containing a filling.
c. One slice of bread covered with a filling.

So my vote is yes, a hot dog is a sandwich. So's a burger.
Dogs and burgs are sammiches
posted by Acacia at 12:42 AM on October 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I say no. A sandwich, in my opinion, is made from bread sliced from a loaf of bread.
posted by sharkfu at 12:54 AM on October 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


A sandwich, in my opinion, is made from bread sliced from a loaf of bread.

I would respectfully disagree, there. I.e. Subway, Quizno's, any number of grinder shops in New England....
posted by pjern at 12:57 AM on October 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


bread sliced from a loaf of bread?

Which excludes every roast beef/pastrami/ham/turkey/whatever in a french roll/kaiser roll/ bagel/english muffin... sorry, but the sliced bread omits 50% plus of all sandwiches... you can make a turkey sandwich in a hot dog bun.

The frank or weiner is just a sausage, in a bun, it's a hot dog, aka sandwich.
posted by wendell at 1:00 AM on October 17, 2009


that last sentence was badly punctuated...
The frank or weiner is just a sausage; in a bun it's a hot dog, aka sandwich.
posted by wendell at 1:02 AM on October 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of course a hot dog in a bun is a sammich! A hot dog on a wooden stick, dipped in cornmeal batter and deep fried, is not; this delicious concoction is a corn dog. And while roasted hot dogs, split with a knife, x2, on toasted loaf bread, with various condiments, or not, is sometimes confusing called a "hot dog sandwich," that in no way makes a hot dog on split bun less a sandwich, merely for being, as a single dog, less sandwich.
posted by paulsc at 1:02 AM on October 17, 2009


A hot dog is not a sandwich. Sandwiches are works of balance between bread, vegetable matter, dressing, and protein filling. Hot dogs and all similar sausage-inna-bun foodstuffs are differentiated from the sandwich by the fact that their bun or coating is merely a method of conveying the meaty filling to one's mouth without messing the hands. Certainly, the bread or coating can be delicious, but it is not an essential part of the food. Is it a hot dog without the dog? No. But is it a sandwich without the roast beef? Yes.

I have had arguments with my friends about this, too. I remain in the minority of opinion, but I hold firm!
posted by Mizu at 1:03 AM on October 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Okay just to clarify here I am talking about hot dog + bun with condiments etc, not just the wee meat log itself.
posted by tehloki at 1:04 AM on October 17, 2009


Of course it's a sandwich. If it's not a sandwich, what else could it be? A very large canapé? An American croque?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:07 AM on October 17, 2009


if a hoagie is a sandwich, then so is a hotdog.

of course, wittgenstein would say it depends on the context of when said hotdog was consumed.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:11 AM on October 17, 2009


What I'm most interested in is that when I ask somebody "Is a hot dog a sandwich?" the answer usually goes something like "No. wait... yes". What is so un-sandwichlike about the hot dog
posted by tehloki at 1:16 AM on October 17, 2009


Merriam-Webster says a sandwich is "two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between." A hot dog is a split roll with a filling in-between.
posted by grouse at 1:16 AM on October 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


their bun or coating is merely a method of conveying the meaty filling to one's mouth without messing the hands.
But this sounds pretty much like (the maybe apocryphal) story of why Lord Sandwich invented them in the first place.
posted by Abiezer at 1:17 AM on October 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


People pause because they don't think of the filling of a sandwich being a single unified thing. If the hot dog was chopped up, no one would think twice about it. Of course it's a sandwich.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:22 AM on October 17, 2009


What is so un-sandwichlike about the hot dog

Because a sandwich has bread on top and bottom, not just wrapped around the bottom. Which is also why Acacia's b and c are wrong. Sandwich implies stuck between something, not slid in the top and not two unbalanced layers, think about how you'd use the word for things that aren't food to clarify.

But really, there are no rules and there more definitely aren't laws or regulations. If you want that marmite on toast to somehow magically be a sandwich then go for it.
posted by shelleycat at 1:34 AM on October 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


What is so un-sandwichlike about the hot dog?

For my part, it's the fact that we define the hotdog solely by its filling. So, if I say "hotdog", for most people that means the sausage-inna-bun, one dollar, and I'm cuttin' me own throat. That's the canonical way that a hotdog makes it to your mouth. The actual frankfurter sausage itself is the name of the concoction as a whole. If you stick your head in the kitchen at a restaurant and ask for a hotdog, you're likely to get it in a bun.

On the other hand, if I say "roast beef", that doesn't only mean a sandwich. The roast beef I'm making tomorrow won't see the inside of bread until at least the day after, after we've eaten most of it in thick chunks with a pan sauce. If you stick your head in the kitchen of a restaurant and ask for roast beef, you're likely to get a chunk of top round roast with carrots and potatoes. Ask for ham, you'll get a thick slice or two of ham and a salad. If you want a roast beef or ham sandwich, you must say the word "sandwich" in your order.

There are a few named sandwiches muddying the waters: the reuben, the BLT, the lobster roll. But, unlike the hotdog, we don't forget that the bread's there.

And, technically, of course a hotdog is a sandwich. It's some stuff in bread.
posted by Netzapper at 1:37 AM on October 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think there's a a precise answer that'll please you. Personally, I don't consider a hot dog to be a sandwich. In my mind, you can't buy sandwiches at McDonalds (they're burgers), Subway (they're subs), or a pizza store (they're pizzas). Sure, they're all bread + topping, but I'd hope we'd have evolved slightly beyond such a ham-fisted (hee hee) definition.

A sandwich needs two slices of bread. The bread should be from a loaf. If the bread is a Kaiser roll, then you're eating a ham and cheese roll. If it's Lebanese bread, you're eating a tasty sweet chilli chicken wrap. If it's pita bread with tasty meat and garlic sauce and tomato, then you, my fortunate friend, are eating a kebab. A sandwich needs to have bread cut from a loaf. It needs two slices. If it is a single slice, it should bear the prefix 'open-topped'.

A hot dog is a foodstuff of its own. If you want it to be a sandwich, then boil a frankfurter, slice it, and put it between two slices of bread.

That is how it is.
posted by twirlypen at 1:49 AM on October 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


Sandwich implies stuck between something, not slid in the top and not two unbalanced layers...

Gee, I have to totally disagree with you. I've had many an open-faced sandwich. And you really think a hoagie/grinder/sub isn't a sandwich?

think about how you'd use the word for things that aren't food to clarify.

Wait, are you implying that the word "sandwich", meaning to stick between two things, came before the food item? That's untrue. We've simply co-opted the word "sandwich" to mean an action that's metaphorically similar to making the prototypical sandwich.

Or are you saying that the metaphorical form of a word can't have a more specific meaning than the original one? I can think of two examples off the top of my head that contradict you: "bin" and "drive". A bin is any open-topped container; but verb the noun, and it specifically means to put something in the garbage. And "to drive" used to mean, simply, to force something (drive a nail into wood, drive some cattle to Kansas); now it almost universally means specifically to operate a wheeled motor vehicle.
posted by Netzapper at 1:51 AM on October 17, 2009


Is a Welsh rabbit a pizza? Is a pizza a Welsh rabbit? No, but both of them are part of the larger class of bread-with-cheese-on-top.

Similarly, sandwiches and hot dogs are part of the larger class of bread-with-filling. If you tried to come up with a logical definition of "sandwich", you'd have to say "bread with filling", but the people who say a hot dog is not a sandwich are not using that definition--for them, sandwiches and hot dogs are distinct kinds of bread-with-filling, even though the set of things they'd call a sandwich includes practically every other kind of bread-with-filling known to man.
posted by equalpants at 1:54 AM on October 17, 2009


Well, actually, Welsh rabbit is a type of fondue--the name refers to the sauce. It just happens to be served over bread. I'd almost consider it an open-faced sandwich.

If it did consist of cheese melted over a sauce over bread, I'd happily give it just as much pizza cred as I do a frenchbread pizza. Which isn't much, since my definition of pizza includes that the crust be raw when it goes in the oven.
posted by Netzapper at 2:21 AM on October 17, 2009


You may be interested in this discussion of whether a pizza (or an apple pie) is a sandwich.
posted by hindmost at 2:23 AM on October 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


yes it is. carry on, soldier.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 3:10 AM on October 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


I would have to admit that technically, I cannot think of a definition of sandwich that would exclude hotdogs without also excluding other things that, to me, are obviously sandwiches.

But I do not like this fact.
posted by Nattie at 3:46 AM on October 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


A hotdog is a sandwich the same way a tomato is a fruit. Technically it belongs in the category but it is not immediately obvious that it does so.
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 3:57 AM on October 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Netzapper has it. It's the unity of the meat that is confusing.

For example, here in New England, a lobster roll, which is more clearly a form of sandwich, is often served on the same type of roll. When one bites into a hot dog [implied 'sandwich'], the bread surrounds the meat in the mouth. Ergo, it is a Level 1 sandwich in my personal sandwich heirarchy. (A Level 0 sandwich is an open face sandwich; the existence of this level is extremely arguable.)

If the hot dog is so big as to not let the bun surround at lesat 50% of the circumference, then it is a badly made hot dog - badly made because it begins to fail to be a sandwich, and in failing that, fails to be easily eaten.

Finally, due to the non-stackable state of hot dog rolls (you can't nest them), you cannot have a double-decker hot dog. Hot dogs thus cannot become Level 2+ sandwiches, no matter how many toppings you cram on them.

Additionally, American Heritage states that a hot dog is a sandwich, per definition 2, a partially split long or round roll containing a filling. And yes, there are many arguments within the pizza/pie sandwich thread hindmost links to.
posted by cobaltnine at 4:03 AM on October 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Here is my impression of a sandwich. It is something which consists of two thinly sliced pieces of bread that has something yummy smooshed between them.

Apparently Americans consider sandwiches to be something which consists of bread of any sized slice or consistency which has stuff smooshed inside of it.

Hotdogs are sausages enclosed within bread. If you are American, it would be logical to call a hotdog a sandwich.
posted by h00py at 5:40 AM on October 17, 2009


By any objective definition, a hot dog is a sandwich. Several people above have explained why.

And yet, instinctively, a hot dog is not a sandwich to me. And I can't satisfactorily explain why, it just isn't. But that may explain the "No....wait, yes" answers you tend to get.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:43 AM on October 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm with h00py and shelleycat, which makes me wonder if this is just a cultural thing.
I wouldn't call a sub a sandwich, I would call it a sub. A bread roll with fillings in it is a filled roll. A sandwich, to me, means two slices of bread with a filling between them. That's all.
I wouldn't say someone else was wrong for calling a hot dog (or whatever) a sandwich, but it wouldn't ever occur to me to classify it as one. I realise Merriam contradicts me and knows better than I do, but a hot dog does not fit the word sandwich as I have grown up understanding it.
posted by lwb at 6:17 AM on October 17, 2009


Sure, if you go by the dictionary definition, a hotdog is a sandwich, but consider this: No one, no where, would ever list a hotdog on a menu as a "hotdog sandwich." No one ever invites people over for sandwiches and then serves them hotdogs. No mother ever asks a child, "Would you like me to make you a sandwich?" and then gives them a hotdog.

So, from my PoV, a hotdog is technically, pedantically, a sandwich, but practically it is not, and people are going to think you're weird if you go to a hotdog stand and ask for 2 sandwiches, extra chili, hold the onions.
posted by Liver at 6:57 AM on October 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Not a sandwich.

Everyone here is trying to reverse reason themselves into a definition of what a sandwich is, but that's not necessary. English words are defined based on usage, nothing more. I don't know of anyone who has described a hotdog as a sandwich before (other than people in this thread going, "Well, judging from the other things I call 'sandwiches', a hotdog shares the same characteristics, so it must be a sandwich, I guess.")

If people routinely began saying, "I'm going to go make a sandwich" and came back with a hotdog, I might get used to it, and at that point, a hotdog will be a sandwich. But not until then.

In summary: usage, not characteristics, is the key.
posted by losvedir at 7:33 AM on October 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


twirlypen: "In my mind, you can't buy sandwiches at McDonalds (they're burgers), Subway (they're subs)"

Both of these places call their main products 'Sandwiches'. McDonald's menu (PDF); Subway's menu (PDF, read the part on the first page about catering).
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:39 AM on October 17, 2009


A hot dog is absolutely not a sandwich.

A sandwich requires at least two, distinct pieces of bread.

Do you typically break apart the bun and eat the hotdog in between them? No.

Ergo, not a sandwich.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:40 AM on October 17, 2009


Losvedir’s got it, I think.

As a point of comparison, burritos, quesadillas, and tacos are also not sandwiches.
posted by Garak at 7:58 AM on October 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thirding Losvedir. Also, a wrap is not a sandwich either, goddammit.
posted by Aquaman at 8:13 AM on October 17, 2009


I'd disagree with that reasoning losvedir; people don't usually call McDonald's burgers sandwiches but according to their menu and other official stuff like nutrition information, they are called "sandwiches". There has to be an element of official distinction in this, some element of definition. The world can't be a descriptivist fantasy where everything is simply defined by its subjective meaning to everyone.
posted by tehloki at 8:43 AM on October 17, 2009


I've solved it.

I would say that a sandwich can, in fact, be made of one piece of sliced bread.

HOWEVER.

The ORIENTATION of the sandwich is the important factor here. A sandwich is organized in a certain way. It's bread, topped with filling, topped with maybe more bread, maybe more filling and bread, etc. A burger, sub, roll, etc are all set up like that. In layers. A hot dog defies this pattern! It is bread NEXT TO filling NEXT TO bread!

If you say "a hollowed-out piece of bread with filling inserted in the top"="sandwich," then SOUP IN A BREAD BOWL IS A SOUP SANDWICH. I am just not prepared to accept that.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:59 AM on October 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


tehloki: I'd disagree with that reasoning losvedir; people don't usually call McDonald's burgers sandwiches but according to their menu and other official stuff like nutrition information, they are called "sandwiches".

I actually would tend to call hamburgers "sandwiches" since my mom called them that growing up. That and "bookbag" for "backpack" drove me nuts... but that's neither here nor there.

So, I would use McDonald's menu as a datapoint for hamburgers as sandwiches. I'm open to being wrong about hamburgers and hot dogs as "sandwiches": my hypothesis is that if I search McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's webpages', I will find hamburgers being called "sandwiches", but if I search Spike's Junkyard Dogs (and any other hot dog places I can think of) webpages' then I won't find the same for hot dogs.

I haven't searched yet, at the time of this typing. But, now, off I go...

McDonald's Menu (pdf), Burger King Menu, Wendy's Nutrition Facts. Each of those links has the restaurant calling the food item a "sandwich". Now off to search Hotdog places: Search Spike's Junkyard Dogs for sandwich, yields only a few chicken sandwiches you can get in addition to hot dogs. Johnnie's Doghouse menu. Note the distinction between "sandwiches" and "hot dogs" on the menu. The hotdog places were a little harder to find, and there hasn't been a selection bias. The first restaurant is near where I live, and the second was the top result when I searched for "hot dog franchise" to find more.

Well, that's enough to convince me! Hamburgers are sometimes called "sandwiches" (if not, often), while hot dogs are never called "sandwiches"!

There has to be an element of official distinction in this, some element of definition. The world can't be a descriptivist fantasy where everything is simply defined by its subjective meaning to everyone.

You're not French, are you?
posted by losvedir at 10:08 AM on October 17, 2009


"something which consists of two thinly sliced pieces of bread ..."
"A sandwich, in my opinion, is made from bread sliced from a loaf of bread..."

Okay, there's something wrong here, because you CAN NOT EVER try to tell me a sandwich can't be made on a hard roll, a piece of baguette, a long roll, or a bun. Because any definition of a sandwich that excludes unsliced bread is not only irredeemably wrong in the most fundamental way but also means you only consider boring brown bag "mom packed me a lunch" sandwiches to be sandwiches. And sandwiches on sliced bread, frankly, the kind of sandwich you make when you can't make a good sandwich. For the record, the following things are sandwiches because no sane definition of what a sandwich is could exclude them:

1. A hot dog sandwich -- that is, a hot dog meat sausage placed in a hot dog roll -- is a sandwich. I know this by irrefutable authority. One day I was eating a hot dog and my dad asked me "How's your sandwich?" so hot dogs are sandwiches both logically and by declaration of authority. Any of you people want to call my dad a liar, we can go outside and have a chat, okay?
2. A hamburger sandwich -- that is, a hamburger patty placed on a hamburger bun or between any other two-part bread item -- is a sandwich.
3. A sub is a sandwich. If your definition of sandwich excludes subs, you're too ignorant to participate in this discussion, I'm sorry.
4. A cheesesteak is a sandwich.
5. A meatball sandwich on a french roll is a sandwich. A meatball sandwich on sliced bread is a crime against lunch.

There are some things that people try to pawn off as sandwiches but which are not to be considered a sandwich:

1. "Open faced" sandwiches are not sandwiches just because you want them to be. Listen, I will eat one of these things, and even though they're weird, they're kind of a pleasant guilty pleasure. But they are not technically sandwiches, and carry the name only because if you call them "leftovers with funky gravy on a stale bread piece," the kids wouldn't eat it and you'd have to make up an innocuous name for it anyway.
2. A pizza is not a sandwich. A pizza belongs to the category of burrito-like substances that are not burritos. Like quesadillas, empanadas, chicken caesar wraps, and various middle eastern foods that are approximately burrito-esque.
3. A burrito is not a sandwich. It's a burrito. If you don't know the difference between a burrito and a sandwich, the best way I can explain it to you is this: A BURRITO IS NOT A SANDWICH. A SANDWICH IS NOT A BURRITO.
posted by majick at 10:49 AM on October 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


Hot dogs seem more like a sausage roll than a sandwich - meat in a bread tube.
posted by betweenthebars at 10:55 AM on October 17, 2009


...hot dogs are never called "sandwiches"

Google search would beg to differ with you on this point:

'Results 1 - 10 of about 2,790,000 for hot dog sandwich. (0.24 seconds)'
posted by torquemaniac at 10:55 AM on October 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


You did the search wrong torquematic. You need quotes around the search terms otherwise you get pages that just have hot dog and sandwich anywhere on the page. A not surprisingly very large number.

Using the search with quotes I got Results 1 - 30 of about 655,000 for "hot dog sandwich" And many of those results, at least on the first few pages, seem to be wieners between two pieces of bread, IE: undeniably a sandwich. Second are banana's in hotdog buns.

Results for the refined search also include a band, numerous obvious SEO spam sites (mostly from clip art collections), and results where dog and sandwich are separated by a comma denoting the reverse of what your search was trying to prove.
posted by Mitheral at 11:59 AM on October 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm curious about the official classification of hot dogs

Official classification? By the Sandwich Board of America?
posted by grumblebee at 12:14 PM on October 17, 2009


I think what you're encountering both with this question, and in this thread, is that our concepts don't work like definitions. That is, you aren't going to find a single set of necessary and sufficient conditions that describes the concept "sandwich" and accounts for people's intuitions. Because definitions are imbued in our culture since Aristotle, people are very good at imposing definitions after the fact, which is a lot of what is happening in this thread (and in the dictionary). But really what they are doing is looking at some properties that make something a "good" sandwich, and trying to generalize them to the whole class, resulting in disagreement and unclear judgments.

This line of thinking developed from work in psychology in the 70s around prototype theory*. Basically, for many concepts X, we know what it takes for an object to be a good X, but we don't have firm judgments the further you go from prototypical Xs. I think the poster above who asked "if it isn't a sandwich, what is it?" is on to something. We (as native speakers of English, with the associated set of concepts in our culture) don't have any general category that has "hot dog" as a very good member. The category that it is closest to is "sandwich", but it is very far from being a prototypical sandwich, to the point of being on or past the border of that concept.

* this is not to say that prototype theory is actually a great theory of the representation of concepts. There is actually quite a bit of disagreement about the details, and a fair amount of IMO un-falsifiable claims about this stuff floating around. But I do think there is a fair amount of agreement that it is closer to the correct theory of mental representation of concepts than a purely definitional approach, at least for concepts of the type under discussion here.
posted by advil at 12:19 PM on October 17, 2009


@mitheral I'm afraid your query isn't accurate either. It demands all three words be in that particular order. So if I were to create a page dedicated to "The Hot Dog as the Most Wonderful of Sandwiches," your query would miss me. Google won't be a big help on this one due to a search engine's relative stupidity when it comes to the English language and logic.

I was all prepared to jump on the sandwich train, but something didn't feel quite right. I like showbiz_liz's idea that the orientation of the sandwich is what matters. It has to be two distinct pieces of bread holding some sort of filling.

I still don't think I feel comfortable with an idea as tenuous as a hot dog not being a sandwich in its pristine form, but when you get that pesky bottom-bun-separation, it magically becomes a sandwich.

Perhaps a sandwich, by accepted common use, needs to be horizontally-oriented?
posted by jpcody at 12:27 PM on October 17, 2009


It's not hard to imagine the FTC, FDA, a zoning board, or some other governmental body has a regulation specifying what constitutes a sandwich. I know such standards apply for stuff like ice cream vs ice milk, chocolate vs chocolate flavour, butter vs margarine, truck vs car (did you know that the PT Cruiser is a light truck as far as the NHTSA is concerned and therefor boosts Chryslers CAFE rating in the LT segment allowing them to sell more of those gas sucking half tonnes?).

Officially sanctioned definitions for what should be common sense abound.
posted by Mitheral at 12:32 PM on October 17, 2009


Perhaps a sandwich, by accepted common use, needs to be horizontally-oriented?

I dunno, a philly cheesesteak when loaded up with stuff is oftentimes oriented and eaten much like a hotdog, but most people would agree that the cheesesteak is a sandwich.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:46 PM on October 17, 2009


I like a good hot dog or sausage in a bun. I would generally not think of hot dogs if you were to ask me to name different kind of sandwiches, but I think it is ridiculously wrong to so much as suggest that a hot dog in a bun is not a kind of sandwich.
posted by Good Brain at 2:27 PM on October 17, 2009


Definitely think there's a cultural difference here: most of the people arguing for the narrow definition of sandwich are Australians. Same in New Zealand - a sandwich is two slices of bread, with stuff between it. A sub is a 'filled roll' a hotdog is a hotdog, a corndog is also a hotdog (we'd sometimes call a hotdog an 'American hotdog'), a hamburger is a hamburger not a sandwich, if we ate cheesesteaks they would probably be called cheesesteaks and certainly not sandwiches, and I have no idea why anyone would even conceive that a pizza is anything like a sandwich.

But most Americans I talk to would take the wider definitions we see in this thread.
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:49 PM on October 17, 2009


In the US, we have the Standards and Labeling Division of the US Department of Agriculture.

Its former head, Judith A. Quick, filed an affidavit in the aforementioned burrito-sandwich dispute in which she averred

According to the USDA definition, an ordinary closed sandwich consists of two distinct pieces of bread (or the top and bottom sections of a sliced roll or bun) with some kind of filling that contains meat or poultry....

When a meat or poultry filling is placed within other bread-type components, e.g. tortilla, the USDA does not consider the resulting product to be an ordinary sandwich and thus asserts its regulatory authority over these products.

Burritos, tacos, tamales, and enchiladas are not considered sandwiches by the USDA and have always been subject to the USDA's regulatory jurisdiction.


She is probably referring to the Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book which offers definitions for

SANDWICH - CLOSED:
Product must contain at least 35% cooked meat and no more than 50% bread. Sandwiches are not amenable to inspection. If inspection is requested for this product, it may be granted under reimbursable Food Inspection Service.

Typical “closed-faced” sandwiches consisting of two slices of bread or the top and bottom sections of a sliced bun that enclose meat or poultry, are not amenable to the Federal meat and poultry inspection laws. Therefore, they are not required to be inspected nor bear the marks of inspection when distributed in interstate commerce.

SANDWICH - OPEN:
Must contain at least 50% cooked meat. Sandwiches are amenable only if they are open faced sandwiches. Product must show a true product name, e.g., “Sliced Roast Beef on Bread.”

This regulatory policy in no way alters the Department's present policy with respect to caterers who include meat sandwiches in their dinners.

SANDWICHES (MEAT OR POULTRY AS COMPONENTS OF “DINNER PRODUCTS”):
Dinners containing a sandwich type product, e.g., a frankfurter, hamburger, or sliced poultry meat with a bun, are amenable and subject to inspection.


Thus, the USDA considers a hot dog a "sandwich type product".
posted by dhartung at 3:53 PM on October 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Is a hot dog a sandwich? Perhaps by definition, but no one really thinks of them that way. It's like the "tomatoes are a fruit" conversation. Sure, they're a fruit, we get it. But put one in a fruit salad or on top of ice cream and people will freak out.

And hamburgers? Totally not sandwiches either. My mother-in-law says, "Let's grab some sandwiches." and then heads to McDonalds. THOSE AREN'T SANDWICHES, WOMAN! If you're going for burgers, say BURGERS! Don't get me thinking about sandwiches when you mean burgers!

I really like a good sandwich.
posted by wallaby at 5:57 PM on October 17, 2009


Hot dogs become quite sandwichlike once burnt.
posted by metagnathous at 6:54 PM on October 17, 2009


It's technically a sandwich, but mostly it's just a hotdog.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 9:32 PM on October 17, 2009


A sub is a 'filled roll'

Actually the sub we get from subway, which is where the term 'sub' infiltrated NZ, is a bun cut horizontally completely in half with filling in the middle, so is also a sandwich. If a bun is cut vertically some of the way through and filling stuffed in the top then yes, the thing is a filled roll, and that's the bracket a hotdog** (or "american hotdog") falls into. If you turn the thing in midair then that's just eating style (and meaningless), sandwiches sit flat on the plate with bread top and bottom and this is why the hotdog-sandwich idea just doesn't feel right, a hotdog is the wrong way round.

Those USDA guidelines are weird. Since when did a sandwich need meat in it? My jam sandwich is still a sandwich even though it's just filled with jam.

"Open faced sandwich" is a pretentious term used by stuck up cafes trying to make their food out to be better than it is. Stuff on bread or toast is just stuff on bread or toast, don't oversell it. But as I said before, sandwich is a fluid term that can clearly be used in a variety of ways and that has major cultural differences between countries, so go for it.

**and of course we also call a battered sausage on a stick a 'hotdog' a certain times, so what do we know?
posted by shelleycat at 10:03 PM on October 17, 2009


It is a type of sandwich techincally, though it is not colloquially referred to as a "sandwich" in favor of its more specific moniker. For similar naming conventions which overrule general taxonomy as identifier, see "hamburger."

Other sandwiches served in a similar manner on a split roll include "sausage and peppers," "meatball," and "breakfast." All of which are more commonly referred to as "sandwiches." In the case of sausage (Italian, kielbasa, wevs), there is even a remarkable similarity in the type of filling.
posted by desuetude at 10:10 PM on October 17, 2009


Both of these places call their main products 'Sandwiches'. McDonald's menu (PDF); Subway's menu (PDF, read the part on the first page about catering).

Well, both of the links you provided are to the USA menu, and I can't find any references to burgers being 'sandwiches' on McDonald's Australia's site, so I'm still heavily inclined to believe this is a cultural difference - I've heard people (exclusively American) refer to burgers as sandwiches before and it is always somewhat jarring to me. Subs I would classify as a sandwich (though I would still refer to it as a sub), but one still typically eats those in the same manner as a two-slices-of-bread sandwich, with the bread on top of and underneath the fillings rather than wrapped around them.

(I tried playing devil's advocate with my Aussie boyfriend but he was so vehement that a hot dog was in no way a sandwich that I was afraid I'd end up sleeping on the couch.)
posted by lwb at 11:40 PM on October 17, 2009


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