Friday 5: Sandwich or Nah?

From here.

  1. Why is or isn’t a hot dog a sandwich?
    First, a quick definition which is more like a starting point. A sandwich is something to eat between slices of bread, however those slices came into existence. An open-faced sandwich is a sandwich, but this is what I mean by a starting point: you can modify this definition by modifying the nomenclature.

    Now, if you have some egg salad in a bowl, it’s just egg salad. It becomes a sandwich when you put it between slices of bread. Egg salad by itself: egg salad. Egg salad between slices of bread: egg salad sandwich. Hot dog in a bun: hot dog. Hot dog outside a bun? Still a hot dog. The addition of bread does nothing to change its name, so it’s not a sandwich, but I am totally fine with people thinking it is.

    Because I make my own bread, I often slice hot dogs lengthwise and lay them flat on some bread and make a sandich this way. It’s a hot dog sandwich. If you go to the ballpark and ask for a hot dog and they hand you one of my hot dog sandwiches, you have the grounds for riot incitement.

  2. Why is or isn’t a hamburger a sandwich?
    Sort of the same reason a hot dog isn’t a sandwich. Take the patty out of a hamburger and you still have a hamburger. So not really a sandwich, although I admit that when I order a Big Mac at McD’s and don’t want the combo, I say, “May I have a Big Mac, just the sandwich?” This is because a hamburger really is a sandwich, but it has become its own thing, elevating it into a new category although it still has the sandwichness of a sandwich.
  3. Why is or isn’t a wrap a sandwich?
    It’s not a sandwich because it doesn’t have bread. A tortilla is not bread. It is a breadlike thing, but you can make tortillas with flour, fat, and water. You can’t make bread with those ingredients, no matter that one such creation is sometimes called “unleavened bread.” Unleavened bread is essentially a cracker, not bread.
  4. Why are or aren’t Oreos and ice cream sandwiches sandwiches?
    They are called sandwich cookies and ice cream sandwiches, but that’s a metaphorical use of the term sandwich, as when we say we were sitting on the couch, sandwiched between Julia Roberts and Anna Kendrick. We’re not a sandwich even if we’re “sandwiched,” because that’s a metaphor. An Oreo is a cookie, not a sandwich. An ice cream sandwich is an ice cream dessert, not a sandwich.
  5. Why does or doesn’t listening to an audio book count as reading the book?
    From a practical, general standpoint, it’s the same thing, especially if reading is about content. But from a developmental, experiential standpoint, it’s not the same thing at all. Running 26.6 miles is a marathon. Riding in a car 26.6 miles covers the same ground but is not. You can say you traveled the same route and saw the same stuff, but you didn’t run a marathon. If you listen to an audio book and want to say you “read” it, that’s fine with me if we’re just chatting about the content. However, it’s not reading any more than sitting in a bus for 26.6 miles is running.

    As an educator, I care deeply about this, especially since I worked for ten years with students who had dyslexia and other language-based learning differences. If I assign a novel and all I care about is that the students know the content, an audio book is fine. Heck, CliffsNotes are fine. But that’s seldom the case. I want students to experience the book the way the marathon runner experiences the 26.6. Especially if the students are in school, where everything is about development. Reading Johnny Tremain in eighth grade makes you a better reader of Of Mice and Men in ninth grade, which makes you a better reader of To Kill a Mockingbird in tenth grade, which makes you a better reader of Pride and Prejudice in twelfth grade. If you don’t do any of the assigned reading in any of those earlier years, you will not read Pride and Prejudice as well when you’re a senior, and you’ll wonder why you can’t get your SAT verbal scores up in the four months you have before the college application deadline. It’s because you kept riding the bus for those 26.6 mile trips.

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