The180·The 180

Is pizza a sandwich? This guy thinks so

Vice writer Drew Brown dives deep into the taxonomy of sandwiches...and discovers that pizza is, in fact, a type of sandwich. So are tacos. What's not a sandwich? An ice cream sandwich.

Bread dough. Savoury. Nutritionally complete.

Those are the criteria that in Drew Brown's view, make pizza a sandwich.

In a recent article for Vice, Brown lays out his case for why pizza qualifies as a sandwich.
Quiche, since it uses pastry and not bread dough, doesn't qualify as a sandwich in Drew Brown's view. (Jen Li/@eatrundesign)

"It's a long and convoluted and counter-intuitive argument, but ultimately pizza is a type of hot open-faced sandwich, primarily because the base of the pizza is a bread dough. As we reconstructed a taxonomy of sandwiches, pizza qualifies as a hot open-faced sandwich."

And Brown says after "heated deliberation" about the issue on Twitter for days, he would go one step further to say that pizza holds the key to understanding the taxonomy of sandwiches.

"The central features of a sandwich [are] that a sandwich primarily has bread as a base - whether that's two pieces of bread and something literally sandwiched between them or an open-faced sandwich - but bread should primarily be the base. The sandwich itself, should primarily be savoury. You can have some sweet ingredients but it should primarily be a savoury sandwich. The ideal sandwich should be nutritionally complete - it should have your carbs, and your vegetables, and your serving of protein but obviously some of the best sandwiches are far from nutritionally complete but that's ok. We're just speaking in ideal terms here."

Tacos do qualify as a type of sandwich, according to Drew Brown, who says sandwiches in essence are savoury, involve a bread dough, and are nutritionally complex. (Submitted by Hilary McGown)

And before you get too riled up about what the definition of a sandwich actually is, don't worry, the team at The 180 checked the definition in not one, but two dictionaries and found that even Merriam Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary have slightly different definitions.

To Brown, the lack of a clear definition reveals a larger societal issue.

"You just go with what works without really necessarily stopping to think about 'what exactly am I doing and how did I get here?' It's only when you reach something like the pizza - perhaps the apex of all sub-sandwiches - that you stop and think 'well how does this work and how did I get here?"'And then retracing your steps, you understand scientifically the nature of the thing being discussed. Once you have a handle on those basic ideas, then the ground is open before you. Nature itself was mastered by the scientific understanding. I mean really pizza as sandwich underscores the materialist theory of historical development. But that's just my personal take."

Despite invoking sandwich into their very name, Drew Brown says an ice cream sandwich is not a true sandwich. (Kary Osmond)

To be clear, while Brown would include tacos, burritos, or quesadillas in his sandwich taxonomy, quiche, meat pie, and beef Wellington don't qualify because they use pastry instead of bread dough.

"That's just too far, that's anarchy."


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