Shots Fired As Reddit Calls Costco Hot Dog A Sandwich

It's an age-old question so pervasive, it's ignited intense online discussion, inspired podcast titles, and even been a topic of conversation between Jimmy Fallon and Padma Lakshmi on "The Tonight Show." But is a hot dog actually a sandwich? According to one Reddit post that has the internet up in arms, the answer is yes. And people are not happy. 

The post, simply titled, "Just a Costco sandwich appreciation post!," was recently added to the r/Costco subreddit by user u/MDTDude. It has over 1.2k upvotes and countless comments. The sandwich pictured is a Costco hot dog served on a seeded bun, and it's inspired people to take to the comments section to defend their side of the great hot dog debate. "That's not a ... [I'm] calling the police!" one person commented. "I'm upset now, thanks," said someone else. Others widened the discussion by throwing another suggestion into the mix: That hot dogs are more closely akin to another hand-held snack with an open top. "Hotdogs aren't sandwiches, they're tacos," one commenter suggested. Either way, shots were fired — whether about the status of the hot dog itself, or the fact that OP hadn't added sauerkraut, onions, mustard, or any toppings at all to his already controversial lunch option.

Is a hot dog really a sandwich?

How do we define what is and isn't a sandwich in factual terms? One way is to think about food taxes. "According to the 'sandwich tax' applied in California, Massachusetts, and New York, it is [a sandwich]," one person claimed in the Reddit post's comments. As the New York Department of Taxation and Finance explains on their website, sandwiches are subject to sales tax: "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." Among the listed examples are hot dogs, as well as burritos, pitas, and open-faced sandwiches. This isn't the same in all states, but in New York, at least, the matter is settled.

Despite their taxable status, most of the controversy around hot dogs being sandwiches seems to relate to their open-faced nature. One classification tool that considers this is the Cube Rule, initially devised by Twitter user @phosphatide. The Cube Rule divides all foods into six categories based on how they fill a cube. Foods in cube one — toast, for example — are flat foods that resemble the bottom layer of a cube. Cube four includes anything with a box-like shape, like enchiladas, many sushi rolls, or pigs in blankets. By placing hot dogs in the U-shaped cube three, this explainer agrees with many in the comments section: If a hot dog is anything, it's a taco.