A sandwich is a construct containing multiple layers of ingredients. A precise definition faces certain linguistic and cultural difficulties, making sandwiches an ideal example of a “Fuzzy Concept”. A fuzzy concept is a tool for understanding ideas with imprecise or vague definitions in a simple manner.
To help describe a sandwich, we will create a Sandwich Definition Grid. To accomplish this, we will ask a series of probing sandwich-related questions and then answer accordingly. The more often we answer “Yes”, the more likely it is that it can be defined as a sandwich, and the more “No’s” we get, the less likely. We will add some common sandwiches, some edge cases, and a few known “non-sandwiches” to make sure our grid works properly.
There are many shades of grey when it comes to determining what is and isn’t a sandwich. Other theories have come forward, such as the Cube Rule of Structural Starch and the Sandwich Alignment Grid, but ideas like these ignore the fact that the concept of a sandwich exists both physically and in the minds of people, and any good theory must reconcile with both requirements.
We can be certain that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is universal and that there is almost nobody who will call a potted plant a sandwich, but the items in between are where the debate is the most vigorous. If there is one takeaway to be gleaned from this exercise it’s that you probably shouldn’t eat sandwich insulation panels just because they have “sandwich” in the name.