Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich? Stephen Colbert and John Hodgman Weigh In
There are many debates raging in the food world: Should pineapple be on pizza? In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack vs. myriad other equally delicious burger chains. The divided state of American politics aside, few subjects inspire such vitriol as what we eat seems to. One such testy topic is the matter of whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich, an argument that comedian John Hodgman and Late Show host Stephen Colbert proved can get heated in a matter of mere seconds.
During his appearance on last night's episode of The Late Show, Hodgman plugged his podcast entitled "Judge John Hodgman" in which the humorist renders verdicts on inane debates. Colbert asked Hodgman what his most controversial opinion had been thus far, to which he replied: "Is a hot dog a sandwich." The two former Daily Show correspondents then got into that very debate themselves with Colbert taking on the pro-sandwich point of view and Hodgman defiantly ant-sandwich designation.
Perhaps the most iconic producer of franks, Oscar Mayer, has even adopted the debate as a rallying cry for both sides of the issue. The brand produced shirts and hats with the phrases "Sandwich" and "Not a Sandwich" so that, no matter how you feel about hot dogs, you can feel justified by Oscar Mayer. Well played, (though one rep did weigh in on the side of "yes").
Unfortunately for those in the not-a-sandwich camp, history isn't on your side. "Hot dog sandwiches" (much like, yes, "hamburger sandwiches") were on the menu all over the States in the early part of the twentieth century. Ads for hot dog cookers and newspaper clippings refer to the tubular meat-and-bread combo as such. It's really just time and the evolution of shorthand language that has caused us to lop off the sandwich portion of the name.
So how should we define a hot dog? We'll let the Merriam-Webster dictionary have the last word: