Q: Dear Sir or Madame,
What exactly does a sandwich need to consist of in order to be considered a sandwich? Is an open-faced sandwich truly a sandwich?
Pained by Paninis
A: You are a brave man Pained. The sandwich is a true enigma, so much so that the average person wouldn't dare ask this question. Searching for clarity only raises more questions, but that is why I'm here. Let's dive in.
The second part of your question will help us figure out what we need to focus on. The open-faced variety was regarded by your grandfather to be a sandwich. It originated in the late 1940s during a period of heavy “sammich” experimentation. For example, an open-faced roast beef sandwich is an entree, is yummy, and has a slice of bread, which most people relate to sandwiches. But most dictionaries claim a sandwich must consist of two or more pieces of bread. Putting food between two pieces of bread certainly does make a sandwich. But the open-faced sandwich, which is considered a sandwich by many, opens up a big can of worms.
I would agree this is a sandwich. The roast beef is sandwiched between a slice of bread and either gravy or mashed potatoes. I feel the act of sandwiching something between two elements is integral. Scandanvians believe a piece of bread with one topping comprises a sandwich. They're wrong. Nothing is sandwiched. By their definition, a chip with salsa on it could be a sandwich. It makes no logical sense. It's yet another reason why me and Scandanavians don't get along.
But this raises the question of whether merely sandwiching something makes the whole a sandwich. If I wear two layers of shirts, are we a sandwich? Putting three elements together indeed sandwiches the middle item, but must a sandwich be edible? Sandwich Theorists have been debating this for decades with little to show for it. And unfortunately I don't have an answer either.
I haven't eaten a "sandwich" in years because of the paradox of the sandwich being sandwiched by my teeth. While I eat the sandwich, have I become a part of it? Brains have exploded trying to answer this. Cracking the sandwich code will bring forth a new age of enlightenment and will not likely happen in our lifetime. Because within it lies the secret of life, and I don't think our mortal minds can handle its power.
I know I haven't answered your question Pained, but I hope I've shed some light on this mystical entity we take for granted.
Keep writing in, folks. Your complex questions deserve my convoluted answers. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org