As I grew up, I was often confronted with the question: Is a hot dog a sandwich? My immediate answer to this question was no, on the grounds that it isn’t between two pieces of bread. However, my confidence in this answer was shaken by my friend bringing to my attention that there are sandwiches where the two pieces of bread are attached. Yet, after a brief consideration, I countered with the fact that while yes, the two pieces of bread are connected, the roll itself is designed to be broken into two pieces of bread forming a top layer and a bottom layer; they just sometimes stick together from an unfinished slice.
This then brought me to the question, if not a sandwich, then what is it? After much deliberation, I concluded that a hot dog is a taco. This is because of the shape of the bun, the intention and makeup of the bun, and the contents of the hotdog.
Firstly, the shape of a hot dog bun is the most crucial piece of information as to why a hot dog is a taco. The hot dog bun is accurately described as an ellipsoid, “a surface all plane sections of which are ellipses or circles” (Merriam-Webster). This is then sliced down the middle of the bun, keeping the bottom intact.
Now that the hot dog bun has been examined and geometrically classified, we can explore a taco shell. A taco shell can also be classified as ellipsoidal since all surfaces of a taco shell are circular or ellipses. Furthermore, the taco shell remains intact on the bottom of the taco. While a taco shell may be thinner due to the ingredients used, it has the same shape as a hot dog bun; a hot dog is most closely defined as a taco.
This similarity is further shown in “The Cube Rule of Food” diagram, in the image labeled by the number three. Now, this image isn’t just a picture that was randomly created on the internet. It holds a significant amount of reliability and was cited in The Washington Post, used in Maryland Courts and nominated for a Webby in 2019.
Though some may argue that this difference in thickness of the hotdog bun is enough to disqualify it from being a taco, take a moment to examine other foods. Is Chicago deep-dish pizza not a pizza because it is significantly thicker than a brick oven pizza? Is a sandwich on a bun not a sandwich because it is thicker than a sandwich on sliced bread? The shape of the bread is the defining feature, not the thickness.
Secondly, the intention and form of the bun are crucial to its identity as a taco. Many buns are sold connected on a particular side. Yet, these buns are sold to be separated into two pieces. The hot dog bun, on the other hand, is sold with the intent to keep its shell-like shape.
Many people who go against my claim often refer to the type of bun that a hotdog differs from that of a taco shell. I argue that a taco shell doesn’t have an exact definition. While the average taco shell is made with a soft or hard tortilla, several other shell substitutes exist. These include shells made of cheese, lettuce and just recently, at taco bell, a shell made of chicken. If a taco shell can be formed by something that’s not even a type of bread, then a hot dog bun could undoubtedly be classified as a type of taco shell.
In drawing things to a close, let’s discuss the contents of a hot dog. A taco can essentially have anything in it. A breakfast taco has eggs, usually meat (ham, bacon, or sausage), and cheese. Some tacos include fish, beef, chorizo or chicken, and some may not have any meat (i.e. veggie tacos). Considering the fact that tacos can consist of nearly anything, the contents of a hot dog can’t be a disqualifying factor of it being a type of taco.
I’d argue that the contents of a hot dog help to classify it as a taco. A taco usually contains a form of meat, cheese, salsa and beans, among other things. A hot dog also contains such ingredients: the meat being a hot dog, some people add a slice of cheese to a hot dog, relish, which by definition is essentially a salsa, and many people add baked beans to their hot dogs.
Not only can the contents of a hot dog not be a disqualifying factor, if anything, but they also support the argument that a hot dog is, in fact, a taco. All in all, due to a hot dog’s bun shape, functionality, and ingredients, as well as the hotdogs contents, a hot dog is a type of taco.