What Is A Sandwich?

What defines a sandwich is a question that many find as a silly argument, but have you really thought about it? It’s easier to declare what is a sandwich rather than what is not. The qualifications include one or two slices of bread, or a split roll, with the filler on the top. The one slice can be split into halves, but the bread cannot be rolled. This takes out the classic burrito, wrap, taco, and even pita bread because their filler is placed inside rather than on top. One note is that a sandwich is usually a lighter meal rather than something that sits heavy. With all the recent controversy in the media about the formal definition, diving into the sandwich can be tricky.

 Like most things, it began in BCE but soared in Europe’s high society and was favored because it didn’t leave any finger residue. Today, sandwiches are found everywhere from school cafeterias to formal establishments. In 2011, New York gave a definition when creating a sales tax on sandwiches that opened up the spectrum to “all hand-held bread-based food products”. Another debate is on size.  Pennridge High School student, Greg Masters agreed, “yes, a sandwich can have more than one layer and that is encouraged.” Another student, Ryan Wilson, added by saying that, “a sandwich does not have size limitations.” The “Sandwich Alignment Chart” breaks down each sandwich by structure and ingredient into three categories labeled “purist, neutral and rebel,” which is a source worth checking out. The “Hamdog” is patented as an Australian sandwich and consists of a burger and a hotdog. Sandwich cookies such as Oreos fall under the category, but are debatably too small.

Many articles have been written about the sore topic filling the internet with various opinions. One common theme is that foods served at places like Chipotle or Qdoba do not classify as a sandwich. The hotdog, cheesesteak, lobster rolls and ice cream sandwich all fall into a slippery category but are declared a sandwich under definition. A sandwich can be sweet or savory and served for dessert. A bread product is an underlying theme and crucial in the categorization of a sandwich. Meat is not necessary as the most timeless of sandwiches are meatless. Having all sides of the sandwich closed is discouraged, such as hot pockets and Uncrustables, so they are a touchy topic in this space. One thing for sure is that the worldwide sandwich love will never die as there is always something for everyone.