It may seem like a simple question but believe me, there’s more to this than meets the eye. This question came up while I was at work recently and my coworkers and I debated it for almost 30 minutes. And just for the record I work a standard office job so why this question came up, I really have no idea. But my best guess is due to sheer boredom. Anyway, since then we’ve basically been asking everyone what their thoughts are. Here are mine.
Initially my thoughts go to the construction of the sandwich versus the wrap, and the connotative definition of a sandwich. To me, common knowledge would suggest that part of a sandwich must include bread. At least one piece (I would say two pieces but that would eliminate even the open-faced sandwich). As far as what goes between the bread, I think the definition of a sandwich becomes extremely unclear. But basically it doesn’t really matter what’s between the carbs. Usually meat, cheese, some sort of vegetable, and some sort of condiment, but let’s not forget about the PB&J which has none of those things and is most definitely a sandwich. So based on this argument the real characteristic that makes an item a sandwich or not would be the bread/carbs. If we define a sandwich as something over or between bread, then a wrap is not a sandwich. But wait, what about…
The menu argument. One of my coworkers mentioned that wraps and sandwiches are often found in the same section of the menu meaning the two must be somehow related. While this is sometimes true I would argue that in the name of the item there is still a distinction between wraps and sandwiches. Not to mention the fact that the whole premise of this point is often false as much as it is true. Many restaurants do have separate sections on the menu for wraps and sandwiches. So this point of discussion also leads to the conclusion that wraps are not sandwiches.
Now here’s where things start to get wild… let’s poke a hole in the bread argument I brought up before. “What about a sub sandwich?” one of my coworkers asks. Ok, let’s talk about the sub. If we defined the sandwich as something on top of or between bread, then the sub seems almost excluded from that because the construction of it is that it is in the middle of bread but the bread itself is still connected at the bottom, which if you’re nitpicking, technically breaks the rules. But a sub is definitely a sandwich, I mean it’s in the name! So here’s my response, the definition of a sandwich then becomes more about the carb itself with less stringent rules on the construction. So for an item to be a sandwich it has to have actual bread, period. Tortillas do not count.
Ready to go off the rails completely?
What about a hot dog? Is a hot dog a sandwich? What about a burger? What if you use lettuce as a bun? What if you have one of those crazy short-lived things from KFC where they used two pieces of chicken as a bun?
Here’s my response. The hot dog and the burger are too famous and have transcended the sandwich category. They live alone in their own section of the food world. Sure, a lettuce bun counts. But why? Why would you do that? And simply, don’t be like KFC.
Honestly, I’m way more passionate about this than I should be and could probably go on much longer. But now I’m too hungry as it is…