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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Friday, May 5, 2023

I want to talk about sandwiches. Why? Because Kevin keeps talking about getting Wawa sandwiches and it’s making me very jealous. Also because in the past 46 blogs I have only talked about food four times, which is only 11-ish% of the time, which means the other 89% of the time is NOT food, which means I don’t have to feel guilty for bringing it up again.

Wawa has the best sandwiches. I mean, if you are not going to get a real deli sandwich, it is the next best thing. Subway and Quiznos and McAllister’s, this other boring chain here, they can all close up and go home as far as I’m concerned. You only eat that stuff when you have nothing left.

When you already did the one Mexican place, and the barbecue place you really liked went out of business, and you’re sick of burgers, which can actually happen given enough of them, then you go, eh, let’s just get Subway.

Anyway Kevin is on Wawa’s shortlist of people who are going to get their names etched on the brick outside the front door.

Do you know what I learned is going to open here?


In 2025. In Nashville.

I hate you, Kenny.

Neither of those things does me any good. Wawa is the place you’re supposed to be able to get to in three minutes when you want to tap on a screen and build a sandwich with whatever things strike your fancy. The type of bread, the dressing, the cheese, the meat. Hot or cold, lettuce or no lettuce. Are you in an extra mayo kind of mood or are you feeling the salsa?

Thing I rarely make for myself at home: sandwiches.

Thing I love when I go out: sandwiches.

Usually at home I’m trying to avoid bread and things that make me fat. But if it’s a go-out-to-eat kind of afternoon, I really love a good sandwich.

I craved an Italian deli sub for years before we finally got one in Connecticut last fall.

You are not going to get a good Italian deli sub here. The things people here know about Italian ends with Mellow Mushroom.

They used to make a really good Italian sub at Aversa’s in Brigantine. It was about the only edible thing they made, but it was so good. The only problem is they left the dressing off most of the time, no matter how well I enunciated oil and vinegar.

In the absence of a deli sandwich I want Wawa.

When we arrived in Brigantine after a 15 hour drive last fall, the first thing we did was stop at Wawa and get sandwiches and an unreasonable amount of junk food. The second thing we did was go to Wawa and get sandwiches.

Really, it’s the best store in the universe. All those chip flavors, and big, soft pretzels, and hot mac and cheese to go with your sandwich. It’s like someone sat in a room and thought, what does the world need that would make life stellar for people even if it’s 1am on a Thursday?

All this talk of sandwiches brings up the whole “is a hot dog a sandwich” conundrum.

Because a hot dog is not a sandwich, it is a hot dog.

The same way a burger is a burger. I have never called a burger a beef patty sandwich.

I mean, if you want to be dictionary-technical and say a sandwich is a slab of something between two pieces of a bread-like substance, then sure. They are all sandwiches.

But nobody asks, “Do you want a piece of fruit?” and someone answers, “Sure, I’ll have a tomato.”

Because it’s a VEGETABLE. That goes on salads. Not in the cornucopia with the grapes and apples and bananas. No matter what science says. The same rule applies to sandwiches.

If you sliced a hot dog longways and laid it flat between two pieces of bread, do you know what it would be?

A hot dog.

Nobody ever asked someone, “What kind of sandwich do you want?” and that someone answered, “A hot dog.”

If they do, you can kick them out immediately.

Someone on the internet decided a hot dog is actually a taco, because it is on a single piece of starch connected at the bottom, like a taco, as opposed to two pieces of starch on opposite sides, which is a sandwich.

I read an excellent argument by a chef that says you fill a sandwich but top a hot dog. Also sandwiches can be cut into fun shapes like squares and triangles and rhomboids. But nobody cuts their hot dog.

If they do, you can kick them out immediately.

Also this completely cracked me up.

First of all, there is a National Hot Dog and Sausage council, which should be enough for anyone.

But they also have 12 compelling reasons why a hot dog is not a sandwich, and it got me thinking that you can talk about sandwiches and mean a lot of things without specifying. Italian sub. Meatball parm. Turkey and cheese. BLT. Egg salad, chicken salad. Could be on sliced bread. Could be on a roll. Could even be on a biscuit.

But nobody who says, “I think I want a sandwich for lunch” ever means, “I want a hot dog.”

If they do, you can kick them out immediately.

When I tell Ralph I’m going to make him a sandwich for lunch, I then have to decide whether it’s going to be ham and eggs or turkey and cheese or ham and egg and cheese.

I do not have to make any such determinations when I say we’re eating hot dogs.

A hot dog is ONE THING.

And one thing only.

And when you want one, you say you want a hot dog.

If someone asks you whether you prefer a hot dog or a sandwich for dinner, and you choose hot dog, you would get THAT ONE THING.

If you choose a sandwich, then you have to go further down the decision tree and decide what kind.

Where “what kind” never includes a hot dog.


Argument over.

Someone on the internet invented the Sandwich Alignment Chart, because that’s what internet people do, and also, apparently, because sandwiches stir very strong emotions. It’s quite hilarious, actually, mostly because someone thinks there’s a possibility that a Pop-Tart is a SANDWICH!

Here’s the thing, people. A sandwich is a sandwich. A Pop-Tart is called a Pop-Tart for a reason. Because it’s a THING. If it was a sandwich, it would just be called a sandwich. A burrito has a name because it’s a burrito. If it was a sandwich, it would just be called a sandwich. Do I have to explain everything?

The only thing that burns my brain a little is the open faced sandwich. Because it IS called a sandwich, but… well, is it? Can you have a part of a sandwich and still call it a sandwich? If avocado toast doesn’t get to be a sandwich, why does a slab of turkey on a piece of rye bread get to be? So many things to worry about.

It’s a fun debate, anyway. Keeps things interesting and gives you plenty of food for thought. Even if anyone who thinks hot dogs are sandwiches are completely wrong.

Photo: things that could be a real sandwich, were a person to actually make one. Ralph would get the two on the left. I would get the two on the right. Nobody would get a hot dog.