May 21, 2024

Solving the “Hot-Dog is a Sandwich” Debacle

The greatest argument that has plagued modern society in recent years no doubt must be, “Is a hot dog a sandwich?”, the answer of which is highly debated. We must examine the philosophy, history, etymology, and culture behind the ballpark staple.

History of the Hot Dog: Born from German immigrants working in America during the 1800s. While the creation of the sausage is disputed by many sources it is widely agreed upon that the frankfurter was conceived in Frankfurt, Germany. These German wiener enthusiasts brought their dogs to the streets of New York in the 1860s by virtue of the original hot dog carts.

Late 1900’s Hot Dog cart

Culture Behind Hot Dogs: Sports games, barbecues, at the movies, or even just walking down the street; are all places to find a nice steamy Hot Dog. The Hot Dog while having many homes in the residences of Americans, truly is an event-worthy food. The Hot Dog is not just some schmuck of a sandwich that you can make and eat in the span of 5 minutes, it is something to enjoy while you’re out enjoying and living life. The Hot Dog is food, yes, but it is also a community because no one ever eats a Hot Dog solitarily. However, a sandwich is devoid of that sense of community, eating a sandwich isolates you from those around you.

All this along with the fact that when have you ever had a sandwich in a Ball Park or a Movie theatre? When was the last time you grilled up some bologna and slapped it on some white bread at the barbecue? Think to yourself, have you ever walked down the street and seen peanut butter and jelly cart? Unless you are just an anomaly all these questions are a resounding no. All this to say the hot dog has a completely different culture behind it than a sandwich.

Hot Dogs

Etymology and Definition of the Hot Dog: The definition of the Hot Dog by the Oxford dictionary is, “A hot sausage served in a long bread roll“. The definition of a sandwich by the Oxford dictionary is, “Two slices of bread, often spread with butter, with a layer of meat, cheese, etc. between them“. These very definitions are contradictory, leaving the statement “a hot dog is a sandwich” an oxymoron.

Now the etymology of the frankfurter traces back to their respective origin in Frankfurt, Germany. The etymology of wiener traces back to Vienna, Austria. All this is good while the etymology of sandwich traces back to the English, Earl of Sandwich. The Hot Dog name spawned from the equally German dog, the dachshund. The frankfurters and the dachshund eventually started to be compared to each other, thus putting the dog in Hot Dog and the wiener in wiener dog.

Philosophy of a Hot Dog: Hot Dogs, American, patriotic, symbol of freedom, a sigil of hope, 1 wiener, 1 bun, that is what a Hot Dog is to me. “A Hot Dog is a wiener in-between buns” that is what a Hot Dog is to our editor-in-chief, Ali Nguyen. A sandwich was conceived across the pond by the elites, while a Hot Dog is uniquely a food made by immigrants for immigrants. A food born in America that has made its home in ballparks, movie theatres, gas stations, street carts, and most importantly in the hearts of millions.

Aristotle Hot Dog

Other arguments: IS A HOT DOG A TACO?? This argument is absolutely absurd, let’s use the reasoning we used previously again. Let’s use the definition of a taco to debunk this claim, Oxford defines a taco as “A type of Mexican food consisting of a fried pancake that is folded over and filled with meat, beans, etc.”. This should show on its own that a Hot Dog is not a taco, but let’s keep going. The history of a taco dates to the Hot Dogs creation. Mexican migrants who were working on railroads and other jobs used the ancient food of tortillas to craft a street food still eaten today. However, the two do have a similar comradery and sense of togetherness in their respective cultures.


IS A HOT DOG A SUB?? Subs, hoagies, grinders, all names of the same food but is Hot Dog a part of that? Oxford defines a hoagie as “A long piece of bread filled with meat, cheese, and salad.” A Hot Dog and a hoagie are just two different things fundamentally. While yes you can put cheese and salad on a Hot Dog this just seems like you’re either trying to cause an argument or you just don’t know how to enjoy a frank.


In conclusion, I hope these examples have proven to you that a Hot Dog is in fact not a sandwich but actually just a Hot Dog, nothing more, nothing less.