What is considered a real sandwich? Today, we’ll find out.

By Peyton Pitman, Editor-in-Chief

What makes a sandwich, a sandwich? Is it the bread? What about the meat or condiments? Some of you may believe it’s the food’s shape that creates its essence. In this article, we’re going to do a little—very professional and thorough—philosophy together to see what the word “sandwich” really means. 

First, let’s turn to Google. If you type in the word “sandwich” and go looking for its definition, you’re going to find an Oxford Language explanation that comes up for most words in the English language. Here is the definition of a sandwich, straight from the reliable source of Google: an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with meat, cheese, or other filling between them, eaten as a light meal. Example: “A ham sandwich.”

However, I think this definition is wrong. Let’s look at the HUB, for example. There are “sandwiches” at the HUB made from a loaf of bread. The person behind the counter will slice a piece down the middle and cut almost all the way through, but not quite exactly. So, your “sandwich” is now open on one side and closed on the other. If we consider the Google definition to be correct, it seems to me that the HUB subs would no longer be a sandwich. Because the bread is not sliced from side to side, creating two septate pieces, it would be fitting to say there is only one piece of bread in that equation.

So, for now, let’s say the Google definition is slightly wrong. How would we change it to fit the real meaning of a sandwich? Perhaps the word’s meaning is this: a bread vessel used to get the food inside the bread to a person’s mouth. In this case, a hot dog would be a sandwich; we just have to fill in the blanks. We have a piece of bread, carrying food (in this case a hotdog) to a person’s mouth. Therefore, a hot dog—in this scenario—is a sandwich. 

Now, let me ask you this. Is pizza a sandwich under my new definition? It, too, is a bread substance used to carry food (toppings) to your mouth. I would argue that pizza is not a sandwich because it is not between bread pieces; it is one slice and open-faced. However, this changes if you are willing to accept the open-faced sandwich (i.e., a piece of bread with ham, cheese, lettuce, and tomato with no piece of bread on top.). Is an open-faced bread/topping combo a sandwich? If you say yes, you must accept that pizza is a sandwich too. 

In conclusion, a sandwich is both all and nothing. It is the Schrodinger’s cat of foods. What are your thoughts on this topic? Please blow my mind here: pitmanp@huntington.edu.