Is a hot dog a sandwich?


Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 12.54.03 PMWalking into a restaurant, most people do not expect to be hit with deep philosophical questions about their food. However, there is one instance that will elicit the need for deep thought in order to discover the truth behind an important issue. 

Imagine, you walk into a restaurant. You patiently wait to sit down. It’s a pleasant place with a good atmosphere and friendly service. The agreeable appearance does not prepare you for the brainteaser that you are about to encounter. After you sit down, you reach for the menu and peruse it, looking for the perfect lunch to sink your teeth into. Everything seems fine until your eyes meet the sandwich section of the menu. The third menu item is a hot dog.

The classification of the hot dog as a sandwich is what leads to the deep question mentioned earlier: Is a hot dog a type of sandwich?

Most people initially seem to say that no, a hot dog is not a sandwich at all, but rather its own unique type of food that does not necessarily fit into a specific category.

“I think generally speaking, my first instinct would be, no a hot dog isn’t a sandwich,” Danny Fender, a freshman said. “But then looking at the definition of what a sandwich is, I would consider it, it’s between two pieces of bread. I think of a sub, you know how a sub isn’t entirely connected? It kind of folds out. I would think if you placed a hot dog in there, in that bread, and then closed it, that’s kind of in that category, so I would call it a sandwich.”           

A group of students who gathered in the student center could not reach a conclusion on the issue.

“It’s definitely not a sandwich,” freshman Megan Levonyak said.

“I agree, it’s definitely not,” Danny Hacker, a junior at DePaul, said.

“I will tell you right now, it’s not a sandwich,” freshman Jen Crowley said.

While most agreed that it was not a sandwich, there was debate.

“It is a sandwich,” sophomore Grimur Vid Neyst said. “It’s bread.”

“No, but, the sandwich has a certain construct to it,” Hacker said.

“It’s a bun, not bread,” Crowley said. “You don’t say it’s a hot dog sandwich, but you would say it’ s a turkey sandwich or a ham sandwich.”

“Technically it is a sandwich,” Cali Parisi, a sophomore said.

It’s clear that the only way to find out whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich is to consider the definition of a sandwich. Many people seem to define a sandwich as any food between bread, and a hot dog certainly falls into that description.

However, some people simply won’t buy this idea. Whether or not a hot dog fits the criteria to be called a sandwich, DePaul students simply do not seem to be accustomed to calling it by that title.

“I think we like to not think a hot dog is a sandwich, like I wouldn’t like to think of it, but at the core of what a sandwich is, I think a hot dog, you would have to qualify it as one,” Fender said.             

Since so many DePaul students are reluctant to label a hot dog as a sandwich, there must be a distinction between the two.

The USDA leaves the question up for debate by declaring a closed sandwich as having to contain at least 35 percent cooked meat with no more than 50 percent bread and an open sandwich as having at least 50 percent cooked meat.

This definition does not help us figure out the solution, since some hot dogs could fit this description, but others might not.             

Hannah Kaplan, a freshman, believes that the difference lies in the fact that it is easier to prepare a sandwich, while a hot dog requires more of a cooking process. To her, a sandwich implies simplicity that a hot dog does not offer.

“You can’t just make a hot dog in a way that’s as natural as you can bread and sliced meat,” Kaplan said.

Although this seems like a question in which few would be considered experts enough to be able to say for certain, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) would be the most fitting professionals to settle this debate.

If the council can be trusted, then the students who instinctively rejected the idea of a hot dog as a sandwich would be correct.

According to a press release from November 2015, the hot dog is a food that stands alone.

“Limiting the hot dog’s significance by saying it’s ‘just a sandwich’  is like calling the Dalai Lama ‘just a guy,’” Janet Riley, NHDSC president, said.

While there is definitely confusion about which food products are truly eligible to be called sandwiches, the general consensus among DePaul students and the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council seems to be about the same. The simple fact is that it is not instinctual to call a hot dog a sandwich. Although the similarities between the two may cause people to question this idea, the hot dog truly stands by itself as a classic American food.