Duke Cannon Asks: What's In a Sandwich

A glance at the calendar revealed that yesterday, on November the 3rd, people were celebrating something called “National Sandwich Day.” Seeing as how we are known far-and-wide as dedicated admirers, assemblers, and consumers of heroic bread builds, this got us thinking. Specifically, about what is—and more importantly—what is not a sandwich. We recommend you print this out and keep it in your wallet as ammunition for future arguments.


While technically consisting of meat served on bread, and certainly delicious and worthy of esteem (not to mention excellent canvases for coarse mustards), hot dogs and brats are not sandwiches. Obviously, Duke Cannon is always ready to commend skillful grillwork, but in our worldview a proper sandwich requires neither gas nor charcoal to be brought to life.


Although history is foggy as to who invented this enduring delicacy more than a century ago, we can be certain of this: not long after its debut, someone—probably a learned man with a monocle and curly moustache—stood on top of a sturdy oak table, thrust his hand-held meal skyward and declared to all in attendance, “This is not a sandwich. It needs its own name. Henceforth, this non-sandwich shall be called…’Hamburger’,” and was rewarded with thunderous applause.


Also known as a hoagie, hero, grinder, Italian, wedge, or spuckle; the submarine is not only a sandwich, but a downright kingly one. Served hot or cold, and complete with all manner of meats, cheeses, veggies, and condiments (oil and vinegar!), these cylindrical powerhouses are best when stacked to the heavens, which is where the noble Earl of Sandwich most certainly resides as reward for his deeds. Bonus: they fit snugly in a lunch pail. 


Do we really need to have this conversation?


It’s right there in the name, people. For it to truly be a sandwich, the ingredients need to be SANDWICHED between something, and that something is two slices of bread. Accordingly, holding the open-faced concoction back from full sandwich status is the lack of that second piece of bread on top of all that delicious whatever (we’re thinking turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy), as well as needing to use a fork and knife to tackle it.


Largely a regional delicacy (with its greasy roots in Philadelphia), the cheesesteak features thinly sliced scrambled steak, topped with some form of melted cheese product, all lovingly tucked into a pillowy sliced hoagie roll. Need we go on? This is the sandwich our Philly forebears had in mind when they were guaranteeing our constitutional right to a satisfying meal. 


Allow us to be blunt: the calzone is nothing close to a sandwich. What one would properly call bread is not used here. There is no real layering of food substrate. Baking is involved. What results is something like a malformed football that wants to be a slice of pizza. No, this is not a sandwich, friends—not even with all that cheese.