One of the best parts of having a job is engaging in team-wide debates about real-life rhetoric. Basically, we love to ask our coworker silly but valuable questions about random stuff. This week’s topic of conversation asks “is a quesadilla a sandwich?” Everybody seems to have an opinion with deep, supportive reasoning. How do we achieve an answer here? Who has the right to make the call? Before we get into that, let’s look into the argument itself. Local blogger Anthony Mastracci surveyed over 100 random Americans on Instagram to gauge their points of view.
The argument goes like this – the quesadilla is to Mexican cuisine what the grilled cheese is to American cuisine. It’s melted cheese between one or two pieces of bread/wraps, which they say constitutes a sandwich and that therefore a wrap is also a sandwich. Other similar flatbreads include pita, lavash, or the Italian piadina, which are all commonly used as a bread element for a sandwich.
The “no” side debates that a sandwich is two slices of bread with “stuff” in between. They say tortillas are nowhere close to being bread because there’s no leavening agent, it’s not fluffy, and it doesn’t crust up the same way a whole wheat or rye bread would if it were to be toasted. Some of the “no’s” even go as far to say that a quesadilla belongs in its own category entirely, separate from sandwiches and even wraps.
To figure out who determines random, yet important, questions like this, we have to turn to the age-old debate – is a hotdog a sandwich? Sure, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary may be on board with the hot dog being a sandwich, but the sandwich constitution is actually determined by state law, commonly for taxation purposes.
Regarding the hotdog, the State of California definitely considers it a sandwich. As for the quesadilla, we couldn’t find anything specifically detailing whether it is or is not considered a sandwich in California. New York, on the other hand, states that a sandwich is anything “made on bread, on bagels, on rolls, in pitas, in wraps, or otherwise, and regardless of the filling or number of layers.”
Is a quesadilla a sandwich? For now, here in California, sure! Legally there is nothing (we found) that says otherwise. The real question is “for how long?”