Settle internet debates about food classification with this guide

The Cube Rule of Food is a potential solution to the question, “Is a hot dog a sandwich?” This joke rule is simple: use a cube as a guideline for where the starch is on the food item, and it will reveal what category the food lies in. You can apply this hilarious set of guidelines to almost any food using the 6 original rules, plus a few extra to include the foods that don’t fit. Keep reading to learn more about this revolutionary answer to an ancient internet debate.

Things You Should Know

  • The Cube Rule of Food is a silly set of rules that answers the question, is a hot dog a sandwich? These rules categorize food based on the location of the starch.
  • If the food has starch on the bottom, it’s toast, and if it has starch on the top and bottom, it’s a sandwich. If the bottom and 2 sides are starch, it’s a taco.
  • If the bottom, top, and 2 sides are starch, it’s sushi, and if 5 sides are starch, it's soup with a bread bowl. If all 6 sides are starch, it’s a calzone.
Section 1 of 3:

What is the Cube Rule of Food?

  1. This hilarious system attempts to answer the age-old question—is a hot dog a sandwich? To put the argument to rest, user @Phosphatide created the Cube Rule of Food. This rule imagines every food as a cube—the side or sides with the starch determine what food category a dish fits in.
    • Starches are a main source of carbohydrates and make up over ⅓ of the food you eat. Starches include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, and cereals.[1]
    • Under this chaotic rule system, a hot dog isn’t a sandwich—it’s actually a type of taco.
  2. Ever since the hot dog question haunted internet food critics everywhere, users have also argued whether or not burritos and other foods are also a type of sandwich.
    • The hilarious “food wars” began when user @kadybat Tweeted “the sandwich discourse is played out. we need to have a new discussion. pop tarts are a kind of ravioli.”
    • Twitter user @matttomic created the Sandwich Alignment Chart to put these questions to rest, but his solution seemed to cause even more chaos. This is when @Phosphatide created the Cube Rule.
    • The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council doesn’t consider a hot dog a sandwich—instead, they say the dish should be in its own category.[2]
    • However, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary argues that the hot dog is a sandwich because a meatball sandwich on a split roll counts as a sandwich.[3]
    • New York and California tax laws also deem a hot dog as a type of sandwich.[4]
    • USDA’s Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book also describes a burrito as a Mexican-style sandwich-like product.[5]
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Section 2 of 3:

The Cube Rule of Food Identification System

  1. The Cube Rule says that if the bottom side of the food is made out of a starch, it actually counts as toast.[6] If the food has ingredients on top of the starch, it’s just a piece of toast “with jam.”
    • Pizza
    • Slice of meatloaf
    • Nigiri sushi
    • Slice of pie (this is technically bent toast)
  2. If the bottom and top sides of a dish are made of a kind of starch, it’s technically a sandwich. This hilariously chaotic rule means that a hot dog isn’t a sandwich since 3 sides of the hot dog are encased in starch, not 2.
    • Quesadilla (not folded, but made with 2 tortillas)
    • Ice cream sandwich
    • Victoria sponge cake
    • Cheeseburger
  3. If the bottom and 2 of the sides are starch, it’s a taco. According to this set of rules, that means a hot dog can be placed in this category (sorry, Merriam Webster). Other tacos include:
    • Hot dog
    • Meatball sub sandwich
    • Uncut sub sandwich
    • Slice of pie with a top crust
  4. If the bottom, top, and 2 of the sides are starch, it’s sushi. The name of this category refers to sushi rolls, where the rice (starch) encases the ingredients on 4 sides.
    • Falafel wrap
    • Pigs in a blanket
    • Enchilada
  5. If all sides are starch except the top, it’s a soup or salad with a bread bowl. Some users say these foods are actually a type quiche, but the original creator calls a food in this category as either “soup or salad with a bread bowl.”
    • Ice cream in a cone
    • Whole quiche
    • Whole cheesecake
    • Soup in a bread bowl
    • Salad in a bread bowl
    • Whole deep-dish pizza
    • Whole key lime pie
  6. If all sides are starch, it’s a calzone. Because of this rule, a ton of outrageous foods can be considered calzones, including corn dogs and burritos (although some argue burritos are actually sushi because of the structure of the tortilla).
    • Burrito
    • Corn dog
    • Fried chicken
    • Onion ring
    • Mozzarella stick
    • Beef Wellington
    • Hot Pocket
    • Whole pie with a top crust
    • Dumpling
    • Pop-Tart
    • Uncrustable sandwich
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Section 3 of 3:

Additional Cube Food Rules

  1. If you have a dish where the starch not only makes up the top and bottom of the food but there’s a layer of starch in the middle, the food can be categorized as a cake, not a sandwich.[7]
    • Lasagna
    • A Big Mac
    • At least 3 flapjacks
  2. Any breads that don’t have a filling have 6 sides made of starch. Although this kind of dish seems like it should be a calzone, the inside of the cube is also starch. According to internet users, this means that these kinds of foods belong in their own category entirely.
    • Muffin
    • Baguette
    • Unfilled donut
    • Pretzel
    • Croissant
    • Loaf of bread
  3. If you’ve ever dropped a piece of toast after you’ve just spread a layer of delicious butter or jam on it, it might land with that side facing the floor. That's what these foods are—if you flip them back right-side up, you’ll see that they technically count as toast.
    • Shepherd's pie
    • Green bean casserole
    • Apple crisp
  4. Any dish that doesn’t have starch or where the starch doesn’t hold a defined shape goes into this category.[8] Starches or non-starches that are suspended in liquid are actually soups, which are just wet salads. Salads include:
    • Steak
    • Mashed Potatoes
    • Flan
    • Turducken
    • Fried noodles
    • Fried rice
    • Spaghetti
    • Ramen
    • Soda (wet salad)
    • Soup (wet salad)
    • Vanilla soy latte (wet salad)
  5. Any dish where the food isn’t contained by starch but starch is an essential part of the dish can be categorized as nachos. Depending on how you define the “nachos” rule, a food item may overlap with the “salad” rule.
    • Poutine
    • Lucky Charms cereal
    • A salad with croutons
    • Couscous with chicken and vegetables
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About This Article

Cheyenne Main
Co-authored by:
wikiHow Staff Writer
This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Cheyenne Main. Cheyenne Main is an Editing Fellow at wikiHow, currently living in Kansas City. She has over four years of editorial experience, with work published in a variety of literary magazines. In 2023, she graduated from Cottey College with a BA in English and History. Now, Cheyenne loves learning new topics and helping to create well-researched, accessible resources for readers. This article has been viewed 2,252 times.
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Updated: January 8, 2024
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