On the Nature of Sandwiches: An Open Letter to Jonah Goldberg

 

Jonah, I enjoyed reading your column. As always, you have a style that makes the reader want to finish, no matter how much they disagree. It was well thought-out, though your logic was flawed. The biggest mistake you made was one of a closed mind.

Allow me to explain. You claim that sandwiches must meet extremely specific criteria. They are: two distinct slices of bread; proteins (meat), fats (cheese), or vegetables between the slices; eaten with parallel slices of bread on a plane perpendicular to the vector of acceleration due to gravity. This is a perfectly acceptable definition and has no doubt served you well in your life so far. But…

First, some set theory. The classic example we learn in middle school is this — just as all squares are rectangles not all rectangles are squares. Allow me to illustrate. The largest black circle is quadrilaterals or enclosed objects with four sides. The blue circle here represents all quadrilaterals that also have four straight sides and four right angles, or rectangles. Lastly, the green circle includes all rectangles whose sides are equal length or squares.

Your problem, Jonah, is that you’re considering the green circle to be inclusive of all sandwiches when it is just a tiny subset of the universe sandwiches have to offer. The true sandwich definition is this: carbohydrates + filling. Is your mind blown yet? This sandwich expanded universe (SEA) can be scary to some. After all, considering your grandmother’s blueberry pie, fried chicken, or your wedding cake sandwiches can be earthshaking. “But wedding cakes are increasingly a tray of cupcakes,” you say, confident that the SEA ends there.

You poor, poor soul.

Cupcakes are open-faced sandwiches (OFS).* I’ve attached this handy illustration, and will now explain why hot dogs are so contentious. The red circle in the below figure is your sandwich definition. The blue circle represents the SEA, and the black, OFS. How do OFS and SEA intersect you ask? That brings us to the hot dog.

You said it yourself:

…the way we eat a hot dog, with the visible meat facing skyward, you would need a dislocating jaw, like a viper or Sidney Blumenthal.

The wonderful hot dog exists at the intersection of the OFS and the SEA while adjacent to your outmoded (though technically correct) definition of a sandwich. These two sets should be known colloquially as “sandwich.”

“This is unprecedented!” you might want to say if you’ve managed to read this far without achieving a higher state of consciousness, or throwing your phone into a garbage disposal. “You can’t have a set named sandwich and have a subset also named sandwich!”

Gorilla gorilla gorilla. Bison bison bison.

Or, more commonly, the Western lowland gorilla and the Plains bison. Both animals that share a name between their subspecies, species, and genus. This precedent, while not as old as old Earl Sandwich’s allows, us to look at the entire history of man differently. Since the introduction of bread, our history is that of the sandwich. Looking at it this way, after dogs, the sandwich is man’s best friend.

Best,
Conrad

* Scott Lincicome’s nachos are also OFS

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There are 85 comments.

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  1. Member

    • #1
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:16 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  2. Contributor

    Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

    • #2
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:17 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. Member

    You and your postmodern gastronomic taxonomy nonsense can go straight to a tenured position at a California state college!

    • #3
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:19 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  4. Contributor

    Misthiocracy, Joke Pending (View Comment):

    You and your postmodern gastronomic taxonomy nonsense can go straight to a tenured position at a California state college!

    • #4
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:25 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. Thatcher

    Conrad,

    However much I empathize with your use of set theory to defend your position and however much Jonah at times annoys me, I must admit that I can not argue with the authoritative source, National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

    Just because I consider your efforts meritorious and further to restrain the ego of one Mr. Goldberg, I shall let it be known that Jonah has put ketchup on a hot dog. Nobody but nobody puts ketchup on a hot dog. Gaaaagh!

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #5
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:32 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  6. Contributor

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    I must admit that I can not argue with the authoritative source, National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

    Flag on the play! Appeal to Authority! Five yard penalty. Second down.

    • #6
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:36 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  7. Coolidge

    Conrad:

    Your problem, Jonah, is you’re considering the green circle to be inclusive of all sandwiches, when it is just a tiny subset of the universe sandwiches have to offer. The true sandwich definition is this: carbohydrates + filling. Is your mind blown yet? This sandwich expanded universe(SEA) can be scary to some. After all, considering your grandmother’s blueberry pie, fried chicken, or your wedding cake sandwiches can be earthshaking. “But wedding cakes are increasingly a tray of cupcakes” you say, confident that the SEA ends there.

     

    You poor, poor soul.

     

    Cupcakes are open-faced sandwiches(OFS)*

    How exactly are cupcakes “carbohydrates + filling” if they’re all carbohydrates and no filling? If you’re trying to say that the frosting is the filling, that’s just silly. Unlike the rest of the post which is just pure science and logic. Hot dogs are clearly a form of sandwich, in the same category as subs and cheesesteaks. 

    • #7
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:37 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    I must admit that I can not argue with the authoritative source, National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

    From your link:

    SANDWICHES (MEAT OR POULTRY AS COMPONENTS OF “DINNER PRODUCTS”):
    Dinners containing a sandwich type product, e.g., a frankfurter, hamburger, or sliced poultry meat with a bun, are amenable and subject to inspection.

    Emphasis added.

    • #8
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:37 AM PDT
    • Like
  9. Member

    Conrad: The true sandwich definition is this: carbohydrates + filling.

    Where does the KFC Double Down fit in? It’s meat and cheese fillings with meat in place of the bread slices. The filets are breaded, so maybe that counts as carbohydrates.

    • #9
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:37 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  10. Member

    Nick H (View Comment):
    How exactly are cupcakes “carbohydrates + filling” if they’re all carbohydrates and no filling? If you’re trying to say that the frosting is the filling, that’s just silly.

    Sandwich!

    • #10
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:40 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Member

    Thanks, Conrad. This column was a real breath of fresh air! It wasn’t about, never mind.

    The math, theory of gravity, etc., was all way over my head, so I mostly just scanned it, for the sheer joy of the eye muscle exercise, and to make sure it didn’t ever even mention, never mind.

    [EDIT: My wife just read this and didn’t know who ‘never mind’ was. Never mind, as long as Arahant and Gawron knew, it’s ok.]

    • #11
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:43 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. Thatcher

    Conrad,

    I had only made my comment moments ago and already Jonah’s authoritative source has been put through the meat grinder and turned to sausage. Jonah has let me down. First, he puts ketchup on a hotdog and then he trips me up with his junk food source.

    I am less than pleased.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #12
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:49 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Member

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):
    Where does the KFC Double Down fit in?

    As an example of the worst that postmodern gastronomy has to offer.

    • #13
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:49 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Member

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Thanks, Conrad. This column was a real breath of fresh air! It wasn’t about, never mind.

    The math, theory of gravity, etc., was all way over my head, so I mostly just scanned it, for the sheer joy of the eye muscle exercise, and to make sure it didn’t ever even mention, never mind.

    • #14
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:54 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Coolidge
    Conrad Post author

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Conrad: The true sandwich definition is this: carbohydrates + filling.

    Where does the KFC Double Down fit in? It’s meat and cheese fillings with meat in place of the bread slices. The filets are breaded, so maybe that counts as carbohydrates.

    Each piece of fried chicken is a sandwich, and the tenders are doused in flour before frying, and those sandwiches make a sandwich with the bacon and cheese. Thanks for the question!

    • #15
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:57 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Coolidge
    Conrad Post author

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Conrad,

    However much I empathize with your use of set theory to defend your position and however much Johah at times annoys me, I must admit that I can not argue with the authoritative source, National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

    Just because I consider your efforts meritorious and further to restrain the ego of one Mr. Goldberg, I shall let it be known that Jonah has put ketchup on a hot dog. Nobody but nobody puts ketchup on a hot dog. Gaaaagh!

    Regards,

    Jim

    Thanks for reading Jim, while I accept that the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council has some authority, I don’t think that an appeal to it is the end all, be all when a case using logic and reason can be made contradicting it.

    • #16
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:59 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Thatcher

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Thanks, Conrad. This column was a real breath of fresh air! It wasn’t about, never mind.

    The math, theory of gravity, etc., was all way over my head, so I mostly just scanned it, for the sheer joy of the eye muscle exercise, and to make sure it didn’t ever even mention, never mind.

    Ari,

    I think you should expect legal action from The Sharper Image very soon. Also, Ivanka may give you a huge clop on top of your pointy head for this. Even Trey Gowdy will be annoyed. OK, first amused and then annoyed.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #17
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:59 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Member

    All I know is, this put me in the mood to go to costco for lunch and get the $1.50 hot dog, but I only have $1 cash on me and I refuse to use a CC for $1.50 purchase.

     

    • #18
    • August 3, 2018, at 10:01 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  19. Coolidge
    Conrad Post author

    Nick H (View Comment):

    Conrad:

    Your problem, Jonah, is you’re considering the green circle to be inclusive of all sandwiches, when it is just a tiny subset of the universe sandwiches have to offer. The true sandwich definition is this: carbohydrates + filling. Is your mind blown yet? This sandwich expanded universe(SEA) can be scary to some. After all, considering your grandmother’s blueberry pie, fried chicken, or your wedding cake sandwiches can be earthshaking. “But wedding cakes are increasingly a tray of cupcakes” you say, confident that the SEA ends there.

     

    You poor, poor soul.

     

    Cupcakes are open-faced sandwiches(OFS)*

    How exactly are cupcakes “carbohydrates + filling” if they’re all carbohydrates and no filling? If you’re trying to say that the frosting is the filling, that’s just silly. Unlike the rest of the post which is just pure science and logic. Hot dogs are clearly a form of sandwich, in the same category as subs and cheesesteaks.

    Sugar is a simple carbohydrate, so a flour or dough mixture with a filling or frosting fits easily into the OFS set.

    Thanks for reading

    • #19
    • August 3, 2018, at 10:02 AM PDT
    • Like
  20. Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    Also, Ivanka may give you a huge clop on top of your pointy head for this.

    • #20
    • August 3, 2018, at 10:28 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Inactive
    ST

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Nick H (View Comment):
    How exactly are cupcakes “carbohydrates + filling” if they’re all carbohydrates and no filling? If you’re trying to say that the frosting is the filling, that’s just silly.

    Sandwich!

    GMF 2 much

    • #21
    • August 3, 2018, at 10:33 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. Inactive
    ST

    Misthiocracy, Joke Pending (View Comment):
    postmodern gastronomy

    WTF – over?

    • #22
    • August 3, 2018, at 10:37 AM PDT
    • Like
  23. Inactive
    ST

    Main Feed!

    • #23
    • August 3, 2018, at 10:38 AM PDT
    • Like
  24. Inactive

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    Nobody but nobody puts ketchup on a hot dog.

    Image result for wrong

    • #24
    • August 3, 2018, at 10:42 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. Member

    Good post, but you are still to narrow in your definition of sandwich.

    Who needs filling? You can make a jam sandwich without filling. Take two pieces of bread, and jam them together.

    Who needs bread? How about a carb-free, bunless burger? It’s still a sandwich, because burgers are sandwiches. Even if the burger is just a beef patty held in the fingers.

    • #25
    • August 3, 2018, at 10:43 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. Coolidge
    Conrad Post author

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Good post, but you are still to narrow in your definition of sandwich.

    Who needs filling? You can make a jam sandwich without filling. Take two pieces of bread, and jam them together.

    Who needs bread? How about a carb-free, bunless burger? It’s still a sandwich, because burgers are sandwiches. Even if the burger is just a beef patty held in the fingers.

    A jam sandwich would be an OFS with the top slice acting as the filling.

    As I argue in the piece however, sandwiches didn’t come about until the invention of flour. When we stuck meat in the fire and devoured it, we weren’t sandwich-eaters.

    Lastly, I ask you this. Is a standard doughnut a sandwich with a filling of air?

    • #26
    • August 3, 2018, at 10:47 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  27. Inactive
    ST

    Conrad (View Comment):
    Lastly, I ask you this. Is a standard doughnut a sandwich with a filling of air?

    Ricochet Question of the Day!

    • #27
    • August 3, 2018, at 10:51 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  28. Member

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    Thanks, Conrad. This column was a real breath of fresh air! It wasn’t about, never mind.

    Actually, it is about……….. you know. It’s allegory. The symbology is obvious to those who know.

    • #28
    • August 3, 2018, at 10:55 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  29. Member

    What you take me for a Weiner?

    • #29
    • August 3, 2018, at 10:56 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. Inactive

    Conrad: The true sandwich definition is this: carbohydrates + filling. Is your mind blown yet? This sandwich expanded universe(SEA) can be scary to some. After all, considering your grandmother’s blueberry pie, fried chicken, or your wedding cake sandwiches can be earthshaking.

    Image result for confused gif

    • #30
    • August 3, 2018, at 10:57 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
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