The debate around the precise classification of hot dogs and whether or not they exist within the sandwich taxonomy has waged for years. The website Know Your Meme traced the origin this fierce war of opposing ideas to a 2011 poll and subsequent post from Panini Happy; it escalated sharply with a 2015 episode of The Sporkful, in which John Hodgman and Dan Pashman took the topic and went full Lincoln-Douglas. Recently, no less an authority than the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg weighed in. But not even the Notorious RBG’s ruling carries the weight of the latest entrant in this debate: astronaut Jim Lovell, who called a hot dog a sandwich in space.
As reported by Popular Science, transcripts from NASA’s momentous Apollo 13 mission reveal that Lovell and his fellow astronauts enjoyed encased meats on their fateful voyage. Not only that, Lovell inadvertently weighed in on another ferocious hot dog-related debate, this one condiment-related:
Debate aside, the original Popular Science piece is well worth a read, mentioning the astronauts’ fondness for bouncing the frozen dogs off the interior walls of the ship, the Congressional hearings that resulted from a Gemini astronaut smuggling a corned beef sandwich aboard, and the science behind the development of space food. Of particular interest is the hot-water gun used to help heat the on-board meals, and some of Apollo’s other, non-sandwich menu items—including bacon squares, lobster bisque, and brownies.
The transcript also mentions four different ways of spreading ketchup; no word on whether or not Lovell, Kerwin and company were ambitious enough to mix their own mayochup.