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John Hodgman v. Dan Pashman: Are Hot Dogs Sandwiches?

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Nov 30, 2015

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player or iTunes/Podcasts app. (And please subscribe!)

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If you listen to The Sporkful, you know that I have STRONG feelings about what makes a sandwich a sandwich.

You'll also know that I am a staunch sandwich conservative -- some have even called me the Scalia of Sandwiches.


That's because I define a sandwich based on the original intent of the framer of sandwiches, the Earl of Sandwich:

1. You must be able to pick up a sandwich and eat it with your hands without your hands touching the fillings.

2. The fillings must be sandwiched between two discrete food items.

Enter hot dogs and John Hodgman, author, actor, humorist, and host of one of my favorite podcasts, Judge John Hodgman.


During an appearance I made on WNYC's The Leonard Lopate Show in July of 2014, Hodgman called in to debate whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich.

I argued yes, Hodgman argued no -- and a great feud was born.

At first it was a private affair, but then the world started to take notice -- first a video from the Buffalo Bills' locker room went viral; then the debate made it to the TODAY Show.

Hodgman and I had to settle the issue once and for all. We met onstage at The Bell House in Brooklyn -- with Brooke Gladstone of WNYC's On The Media moderating our debate before a live audience.



Hodgman's key argument centered on his definition of a true sandwich as an edible entity that is customarily cut in half before being eaten:

"When you think of an archetypal sandwich, you might not cut it in half but it would not be weird if you did," he said. "If you cut your hot dog in half, people would look at you and wonder what is going on...because a hot dog is an indivisible unique thing."


Listen in to the full episode to find out who the audience picked as the winner, and to hear the shocking twist that came just before the vote. (Yes, hot dogs were involved.)


This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player or iTunes/Podcasts app. (And please subscribe!)

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Photos: Scott Bleicher

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