By David G. Firestone
Is a Pop-Tart a sandwich? It may seem like a dumb question, but there is some merit to this question. Recently, the discussion of whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich has been going on. Now while conventional wisdom says a hot dog is not a sandwich, it is traditionally made with a hot dog, inside a bun, with or without toppings. Under that set of parameters, a hot dog could be seen as a sandwich.
But then, I discovered a new aspect to the argument. I read Uni-Watch on a regular basis, and on Sunday, they had a link to this chart. The chart breaks down the kinds of bread and kinds of ingredients inside the bread into nine different styles. Structure refers to bread, ingredients are ingredients. Purist refers to traditional, neutral refers not traditional or outrageous, and rebel is outrageous. For example, ice cream inside waffles could be considered “structural purist, ingredient rebel” because of the fact that the waffles are square, but ice cream is not a savory food.
A chicken wrap would fall under a “structural rebel ingredient purist” since it has traditional sandwich ingredients, albeit in a wrap instead of bread. Wraps fall in an odd category, since I’ve yet to frequent a restaurant where the difference between sandwiches and wraps isn’t made clear. Burritos and tacos fall under structural rebel, ingredient neutral. Every place I’ve been to lists “sandwiches and wraps” not sandwiches, with wraps as a sub category. The Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chalupa would fall in the same category as a chicken wrap. Traditional chicken sandwich ingredients, but instead of bread, it is in a shell of fried chicken.
All this leads to the question “is a Pop-Tart a sandwich?” The structure would be considered a rebel, since it is a baked pastry, and the filling would be considered a rebel, since it is not savory. However, that since jelly is one of the most traditional sandwich fillings, albeit a sweet one, I would argue that it could be in the same category as a chicken wrap. While the chart refers to a Pop-Tart as “radical sandwich anarchy,” I don’t think anyone would ever consider the Pop-Tart a sandwich.
I also think that the structural aspect of the chart is flawed because where do buns and bagels fit? Hamburger buns are one piece, sliced in to two halves. Hot dog buns are one piece of bread, sliced down the middle. If you buy a sandwich bun and cut it almost all the way though you have a structural neutral, but if you cut it all the way through, you have a structural purist. Bagels are even more complicated, since many people only have bagels with cream cheese open faced. But since bagels are used frequently in sandwiches and have been for many years, it could be considered a structural purist. The chart itself is too vague in this respect.
I know this seems like a dumb post, but I’ve done two My Thoughts On about serious topics, and I really wanted to lighten the mood. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I really need a sandwich.