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A Burrito Is Not A Sandwich

March 24, 2009

Thanks to the investigative leanings of breadXbread, I have discovered a furious debate in the sandwichsphere around the question, “Is a burrito a sandwich?

My basic, visceral response is “Are you fucking kidding me? Of course not.”

burrito yard

breadXbread shares this opinion. Turns out the Massachusetts legal system has weighed in on the matter as well. A mall bakery had negotiated a “sandwich exclusivity clause” and sued when a burrito maker moved in. Verdict — a burrito is not a sandwich. Food topology and anthropology was raised as evidence in the trial (two slices of bread vs a single tortilla, European vs Mexican roots).

The bakery rather unimaginatively argued “for a broad definition of sandwich, saying a flour tortilla qualifies as bread and a food product with bread and a filling is a sandwich.”  (Dude, beer qualifies as bread, but you don’t see me ordering a Trumer Pilswich.)

I personally would have used the classic “torta defense” — if there’s something in a parallel food universe that is clearly a sandwich (a torta), then another thing (a burrito) that you are trying to claim is a sandwich is clearly not a sandwich. Q.B.D.  (Quod Burriterat Demonstrandum.)

I don’t know if this says more about the sensibility of the East Coast justice system or New England stubborness forcing this to come to trial. (Eating burritos in a mall is a different problem entirely.)

A long debate follows in the comments section of Unbreaded on the burrito/sandwich “question”, including some desperate rear-guard action by the sandwich borg who would like to label any and everything a sandwich. My favorite, however, is the very first by commenter BJN:

The burrito will never let you down. The burrito is a warrior. The burrito has a surprisingly shapely silhouette. The burrito knows what you need, always says the right things and doesn’t hesitate to be just a little bit vulnerable.

The burrito is, by choice, not a sandwich. It doesn’t need, nor does it want, to be a sandwich. Let us not waste more time with such folly! A burrito is no more a sandwich than a hamachi roll, and for that I am eternally grateful.

We do not need, and dare I say that those of us who possess a modicum of sanity do not want each and every one of our food items to be a sandwich. Let us embrace our differences! Let us celebrate our varied tastes and indulge our rapacious appetites! Let us sing our gastronomic idiosyncrasies! I am large. I contain multitudes.

That, my friends, is poetry.

Cast your opinion below if you dare.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2009 9:02 pm

    mark my words, i’m making a Trumer Pilswich. mwhahahaha!

  2. emamd permalink
    March 24, 2009 11:29 pm

    BJN has mounted one of the most eloquent burrito defenses of our time. To me, this seems a crime of either overly simplifying, or east vs. west coast sensibilities.

    Best of the comment chain:

    Ok. I don’t want to freak anyone out here…. but what if you took a burrito or wrap, and put it between two slices of bread. Then what the hell would you be eating??

    One would be consuming a physical manifestation of God.

    — Well said, my friend.

  3. March 26, 2009 8:27 am

    who knew the sandwichshpere got so much drama!!

  4. March 26, 2009 8:49 am

    Apparently there is an East Coast sandwich blog war going on between the Philly and NY sites. This is why a burrito doesn’t want to be a sandwich.


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