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The Proper Technique to Eat a Scone, In keeping with Queen Elizabeth II


It’s straightforward to say what a sandwich is. Grilled cheese? Undoubtedly a sandwich. Bacon, lettuce, and tomato? There’s no query. Issues begin to get messy if you specify what a sandwich isn’t. Is a scorching canine a sandwich? What a couple of burrito, or an open-faced turkey soften?

The query of sandwich-hood seems like one thing a monk may ponder on a mountaintop. However the reply has real-world implications. On a number of events, governments have dominated on the meals trade’s proper to make use of the delectable label. Now, Ruth Bader Ginsburg—popular culture icon, scrunchie connoisseur, and Supreme Court docket Justice—has weighed in on the matter.

When pressed on the hot-button concern as as to if a scorching canine is a sandwich whereas showing on The Late Present with Stephen Colbert, Ginsburg proved her excessive judiciousness by throwing the query again at Colbert and asking for his definition of sandwich earlier than making a ruling. Her summation? A scorching canine matches Colbert’s definition of a sandwich, and due to this fact may be thought-about one.

Whereas RBG’s ruling might not be an official one, it matches Merriam-Webster’s bold declaration scorching canine is a sandwich (even when the Sizzling Canine Council disagrees). Formally, right here’s the place the legislation stands on the nice sandwich debate.


Sizzling canine are sometimes snagged within the heart of the sandwich semantics drama. Regardless of becoming the outline of a meals product served on a bread-like product, many sandwich purists insist that scorching canine deserve their very own class. California joins Merriam-Webster in declaring scorching canine is a sandwich nonetheless. The daring phrase selection seems within the state’s tax law, which mentions “hot dog and hamburger sandwiches” served from “sandwich stands or booths.” Making use of the sandwich label to burgers is much less controversial, but it surely’s nonetheless worth debating.


When Qdoba threatened to encroach on the territory of a Panera Bread in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, the house owners of the bakery franchise fought again. They claimed the Mexican chain’s arrival would violate their lease settlement with the White Metropolis Purchasing Middle—particularly the clause that prohibits the strip mall from renting to different sandwich eating places. “We were surprised at the suit because we think it’s common sense that a burrito is not a sandwich,” Jeff Ackerman, proprietor of the Qdoba franchise group, told The Boston Globe.

The Worcester County Superior Court docket agreed. When the problem went earlier than the court docket in 2006, Cambridge chef and meals author Christopher Schlesinger testified towards Panera [PDF], saying, “I know of no chef or culinary historian who would call a burrito a sandwich. Indeed, the notion would be absurd to any credible chef or culinary historian.”

Justice Jeffrey A. Locke dominated that Qdoba can be allowed to maneuver into the purchasing heart citing an entry in Merriam-Webster as essentially the most damning evidence towards Panera’s case. “The New Webster Third International Dictionary describes a ‘sandwich’ as ‘two thin pieces of bread, usually buttered, with a thin layer (as of meat, cheese, or savory mixture) spread between them,’” he mentioned. “Under this definition and as dictated by common sense, this court finds that the term ‘sandwich’ is not commonly understood to include burritos, tacos, and quesadillas.”


If you wish to know the definition of a sure dish, the officers on the U.S. Division of Agriculture are good individuals to ask. It’s their job to make it possible for the nation’s provide of meat is appropriately labeled. In relation to sandwiches, the company follows strict standards. “A sandwich is a meat or poultry filling between two slices of bread, a bun, or a biscuit,” Mark Wheeler, who works in meals and security on the USDA, told NPR. His definition comes from the Meals Requirements and Labeling Coverage E book utilized by the division (the USDA solely covers the “labeling of meat, poultry, and egg products,” whereas the FDA handles the whole lot else, which is why the USDA’s definition excludes issues like grilled cheese). Not included underneath their umbrella of foodstuff served between bread are burritos, wraps, and scorching canine.


The USDA’s definition might not be as easy and chic because it appears. A sandwich is one factor, however a “sandwich-like product” is totally different territory. The identical labeling coverage e book Mark Wheeler referred to when describing a sandwich lumps burritos into this imprecise class. Fajitas “may also be” a sandwich-like product, so long as the strips of meat in query come bundled in a tortilla. One other part of the e book lists scorching canine and hamburgers as examples of sandwich-type merchandise when laying out inspection insurance policies for pre-packaged dinners. So is there an instance of a meat-wrapped-in-carb dish that doesn’t belong to the sandwich household? Apparently strombolis are the place the USDA attracts the road. The Meals Requirements and Labeling Coverage E book clearly states the product “is not considered a traditional sandwich” [PDF].


In relation to sandwiches, New York doesn’t discriminate. In a bulletin outlining the state’s tax coverage, an outline of what constitutes a sandwich warrants its personal subhead. The article reads:

“Sandwiches include cold and hot sandwiches of every kind that are prepared and ready to be eaten, whether made on bread, on bagels, on rolls, in pitas, in wraps, or otherwise, and regardless of the filling or number of layers. A sandwich can be as simple as a buttered bagel or roll, or as elaborate as a six-foot, toasted submarine sandwich.”

It then strikes on to examples of taxable sandwiches. The record contains objects widely-believed to bear the label, like Reubens, paninis, membership sandwiches, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Different entries, like burritos, gyros, open-faced sandwiches, and scorching canine, could trigger confusion amongst diners.

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