I never want the hot dog sandwich debate to end
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The internet is rife with touchy viral debates, from the serious to the profoundly stupid. But the one with perhaps the most staying power is one meaty question: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
People have been talking about this shit for years online (at least since 2011), but it just keeps striking a nerve. Nearly every major news outlet and food publication, from the New York Times Magazine to GQ to First We Feast, have published extensive stories on the subject. Food website The Takeout has an entire column dedicated to asking celebrities if a hot dog is a sandwich.
The question has become such a meme that even brands have gotten in on the fun — and somehow, they haven't even ruined it. Just last week, Oscar Mayer declared that, yes, the hot dog is a sandwich, and I clicked gleefully over to Twitter to see the hot dog sandwich debate rehashed all over again.
But why did this argument become such an internet mainstay?
It's partially because there's a lot of nuance to discuss. There's the bun, for example: Does it count as sandwich bread if it's joined together? There's the definition of the word "hot dog" — does it refer to the bun plus meat combo, or simply the meat itself? Does it matter that in a traditional sandwich, the top piece of bread faces upward, but in a hot dog the meat does? Wait, is a hot dog a taco? Surely not, but by which criteria do we determine a food's sandwich-hood?
The deeper you go, the less clear the answer becomes. For example, the New York Department of Taxation and Finance classifies the hot dog as a sandwich for tax purposes, but it also classifies the burrito as a sandwich, which, no. But if a hot dog isn't a sandwich, what is it in the grand scheme of bread-plus-meat foods?
It's enough to send you into an existential spiral, but, like, a fun one. Because the beauty of the hot dog sandwich debate is that it does not matter. At all. We could argue about it forever, and that would not make it matter more. (Whether or not they are sandwiches is not even the most controversial thing about hot dogs!)
And that's why it doesn't bug me that the hot dog divide will outlive us all. It represents the internet debate culture we could have had: spirited, weird, well-researched, and only a little annoying.
I don't even care what the answer is. (It's no.)
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November 6, 2018 at 01:04PM