Is Pizza A Sandwich? Final Verdict!

  • By: Mike
  • Date: June 15, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Let’s resolve the great debate, is pizza a pie? Or a sandwich?

Now I don’t want to be the person who brings controversy to a pizza blog, but if we’re talking about pizza, we might as well do it properly, right?

So today’s post I’m going to have to bring up that age-old debate: Is pizza a sandwich, or is pizza a pie?

I’m going to look at the definitions of both, compare it with something that will no doubt cause even more controversy, and then, if I’m able to find an answer (or if I’m feeling brave enough to come down on one side of the argument so publically).

I’ll answer the question and put an end to the open-faced sandwich vs pie argument once and for all!

The Sandwich Camp

OK, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this fairly, by looking at both camps, so we can get an idea about what their argument is. To start with, I’m going to look at pizza from the point of view of those who say it’s an open-faced sandwich.

In many respects, it makes sense. An open-faced sandwich is defined as “a single piece of bread with a savory topping” (thanks Google!). It doesn’t specify that the bread has to be soft, hard, dough-like, cooked – nothing.

Just that it has to be bread. And isn’t that what a pizza crust is, anyway? Some would argue yes, and others would argue no. Today, I’m undecided. For now.

The one thing I will say is that if you sit firmly in the sandwich camp, please specify that it’s an open-faced one, or else your argument makes zero sense to me.

You don’t have a top crust and a bottom crust with a pizza. That, my friends, is a calzone. But I’m getting off topic.

Is pizza a sandwich? No.

Is it an open-faced sandwich? Well, it might just be. But before we make our minds up, let’s look at what the people over in the pie camp have to say for themselves.

The Pie Camp

A pie is defined, by our friends at Google again, as “a baked dish of fruit, or meat and vegetables, typically with a top and base of pastry”.

Now, I’m not here to stir up an argument, but surely having the word ‘typically’ in the definition is a bit of a ‘get out of jail free card’ when you apply it to pizza, right? Kind of lets the whole calzone and pizza thing just slip in unnoticed if you ask me.

But ignoring the whole top and base conundrum that Google has created for us for a moment, let’s turn our attention to the crux of the definition. ‘Pastry’. ‘Base of pastry’.

Now we’re dealing with something else entirely. Because the question isn’t whether a pizza is a pie or open-faced sandwich. Instead, the question really boils down to whether a pizza base is a pastry or bread?

There will still be some of you who will argue until you’re blue in the face that it’s one or the other, but I actually think there is a technical answer to that question. An answer that might stop this debate altogether.

An answer that could change the very face of pizza discourse in the future! But before I reveal that, I have something else to draw your attention to.

Burrito or Wrap

Before I share my two cents on the pie vs open-sandwich debate, I’m going to bring to your attention another infamous conundrum, and that’s whether what you’re eating is a burrito or a wrap.

Both are meat and vegetables wrapped in a tortilla, so how do you decide if you’re eating one or the other?

I’ve heard lots of people make up an argument for this. Most of it is to do with a burrito being Mexican and a wrap being American, but then you’re getting into a whole debate about whether food can have a nationality, and after this whole pizza debacle, I really don’t have the energy for that today.

Others make slightly more logical arguments about burritos being larger than wraps and wraps being slightly healthier, which I can understand.

But the reason I brought this up wasn’t just to throw in an extra dose of controversy into an already controversy-ridden post, but to highlight something else.

It doesn’t matter.

That’s right. None of it matters. Food is food, and if it’s good, then call it what you want! If you have a reason to call it one thing over another, then go right ahead. After all, we all use different words for different things, anyway. The Brits call it a path, and we call it a sidewalk.

They say rubbish and we say trash. Some say wraps, others say burritos. And, you guessed it, some call pizza a pie and others call it a sandwich (an open-faced sandwich though please, or else I may riot – but that’s for another day).

So, no matter what you call it, so long as you enjoy it, then we can all live in harmony…

Having said that, I’ve totally made my mind up about whether pizza is a pie or an open-faced sandwich. And so, I say forget harmony, there’s an obvious answer, and I HAVE to share it!

The Verdict (ish)

First, to those that say pizza is just pizza – a separate entity from either pie or sandwich – I sort of salute you. You’re staying out of trouble and using your heads. I like that. Unfortunately, this blog wasn’t made by a fence-sitter, and I finally have a verdict for you!

VERDICT: Pizza is, in fact, an open-faced sandwich. How did I come to such a wild conclusion I hear you ask? Well, I focussed on the bread vs pastry debate around pizza crust and worked my way back from there.

First, I searched online for a basic pizza dough recipe, a basic pastry recipe, and a basic bread recipe. And boy, did I find some differences.

Pizza dough and bread use very similar ingredients. Dried yeast, warm water, flour, salt…

Pastry has flour too, and salt – but it doesn’t have dried yeast, and the water it uses? Chilled. That’s right. Not warm at all – couldn’t be more different from pizza dough and bread if you ask me.

So, after my thorough (30 second online) investigation, I worked backward. The pie camp argues for pastry, the sandwich camp argues pizza base is bread. And since pizza dough is most similar to bread – the open-sandwich camp get’s my vote.

But don’t worry, if you’re still a pie campmate I can respect it. Your argument makes a lot of sense. You’re wrong, of course, but I see where you’re coming from!

Despite me abandoning my ‘living in harmony’ sentiment there for a moment, I do think we should just call it what we want. If it’s a pie to you, great. If it’s an open-faced sandwich, also great.

And if pizza is just pizza, then frankly we could all learn a thing or two from you. But whatever side you come down on, there’s plenty of space for you here on this blog!

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