Are Hamburgers Sandwiches?

Calling a hamburger a sandwich feels wrong. It’s like something my brain knows is correct but still can’t process. Hamburgers are obviously sandwiches. They’re meat served between slices of bread. Nonetheless, I don’t want to commit to that obvious truth for reasons I can’t fathom.

It’s pretty easy to determine what is and isn’t a sandwich. A sandwich is something that’s served between two pieces of bread. You put anything edible within bread and you have a sandwich. Take a handful of skittles and smash them into two pieces of rye and you have a candy sandwich. It would be disgusting but it would fit the definition of a sandwich.

Hamburgers most often come in buns (it’s weird or at least noteworthy when they don’t). Buns are bread. Therefore they’re sandwiches. It isn’t a complex logic calculation.

But if you asked someone for a list of their favorites sandwiches, they’re unlikely to think of a burger. People file burgers in a nebulously defined food category separate from sandwiches. Some of this probably stems from years of looking at diner menus that separate sandwiches from burgers.

I wanted burgers to not be sandwiches, so I searched for a loophole to the anything in bread is a sandwich rule. Well, I thought, buns aren’t exactly bread. They’re buns. That’s different. So therefore burgers aren’t sandwiches. By the same logic, I had to exclude wraps, as they come in tortillas. Not a problem, I thought. Wraps are essentially burritos by a different name.

But I soon realized that my buns aren’t bread loophole was flawed. I had to also exclude cheesesteaks, which are served on long rolls. I was reluctant to say cheesesteaks weren’t sandwiches but decided I could lose them as sandwiches. After all, cheesesteaks are different from sandwiches. They involve more cooking than the average sandwich and seem like a category unto themselves.

Shortly thereafter, I took this line of thinking to its ultimate conclusion and realized my loophole was even more flawed than I thought.

Saying that buns weren’t bread meant that subs, AKA heroes, AKA grinders, AKA hoagies, weren’t sandwiches. I’m not a monster. I can’t condone defining subs as anything but a sandwich.
But with that loophole gone, nothing was keeping a hamburger from being a sandwich except for some food orthodoxy I’ve accepted throughout my life without any reflection or consideration.

Look into your heart, burdened by years of cheeseburger-borne saturated fats, and you’ll see it’s true. Hamburgers are sandwiches and we have to learn to accept it.

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