The Great Dog Debate


Clay Petersen, professional BSer

   Since the beginning of time, or at least the internet, the argument of a hotdog’s placement in our society’s definition of food has raged on. With no clear boundaries on the definition of a sandwich, who is to say? It fits the description of a piece of meat between two slices of bread, with the tubular paste being the meat and the bun acting as the bread. But does its rotated-eating method mean that it has deviated from its sandwich heritage? Is it a whole category in itself?  What are the categories of multiple-piece light meals? A taco could be a sandwich just as well as a sub. What makes foods what they are?

It all started in a November 2015 poll when Twitter user @rickjamesnova asked whether a hotdog was a sandwich or not. This lead to months upon months, which turned to years upon years of debate. This debate was one that ended up involving the police multiple times and terminating numerous friendships. It was even taken to court in this fine nation of ours. And while this article certainly will not end the debate, it may make a dent in the number of people whomst are living their lives in a sad hole of lies.

While some may claim a hotdog is not a sandwich because of the orientation of the starch-based product in said food, the facts simply don’t agree. To define a sandwich, the Oxford Dictionary says it is… “an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with meat, cheese, or other filling between them, eaten as a light meal.” Nothing to do with orientation at all. The orientation of the way any food is eaten is completely in the hands and mouth of the beholder. Some choose to eat with chopsticks, and some simply use their fingers. How a food is eaten has little to no effect on what it is. If the way a food was eaten affected what it was, would there be two kinds of ice cream? So while some may say that hotdogs can’t be sandwiches because they are eaten sideways, the ones with an IQ larger than their shoe size would say otherwise.

According to Oscar Mayer, the world’s leading hotdog brand, the ones who produce and drive around in hot dog cars. Oscar Mayer, the owners of the only driving weiner shaped Airbnb in the world. And they not only claim that this food is a sandwich; however, they challenged the whole world to convince them otherwise.  They tweeted “We know what’s true… But…change our mind. Call to tell us why you think a hotdog is NOT a sandwich…” So if one is prepared to argue with the world’s leading bacon, hotdog and pulled-pork company, then Oscar Mayer is ready.

Another reason one might dismiss a hotdog from the family of sandwiches is the name hotdog itself. The fact that a hotdog is called a hotdog could be a turnoff from being a sandwich. As it can’t be a sandwich the same way a PB&J sandwich can be a sandwich. However, this is debunked by the sandwich lovers themselves. A BLT does not have a sandwich in the name, yet it is most definitely a sandwich. The same goes for other common American meals such as the cheesesteak and muffuletta. Cheesesteak even containing the names of two very different foods.

It was stated earlier in this article that this debate went under the hammer. With the help of the US legal system, it made it all the way to the supreme court. This should have settled the debate once and for all, but that would be far too easy. The results did the next best thing: get on the late show with Stephen Colbert. 

He asked the judge of the court case Ruth Bader Ginsburg about her decision, and she replied with “…It is.” Ginsburg wasn’t the only US legal representative Colbert spoke to about this pressing issue, though. He also exchanged words with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayo who said that her definition of a hotdog was something between two parts of slices of bread. And while she seemed a little unhappy about it, a hotdog was a sandwich. She also stated “…whether the breads are tied together or not is irrelevant.” If you believe in the US government and their staff and representatives or if you keep up with today’s news, you would know that a hotdog is most definitely a sandwich.

The hotdog-sandwich debate will continue on for the rest of time. Consider that the Earl of Sandwich himself made the sandwich to be a more portable way to eat food and gain nutrients. The hotdog is very portable and gains it nutrients as well, if not better than the original. So while it may deserve its own food group, for now hotdogs now rest in the category of sandwich. You’re going to have to deal with that. Boom.