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The Best Lunch

When Gloria said, “I had the best lunch Saturday,” I wanted to know exactly what she ate. I didn’t expect her to say, “A fried bologna sandwich.”

            Fried bologna.  I could almost smell it cooking in my black skillet, the same one Mom used. When I was a kid, bologna sandwiches, sometimes fried, were often Saturday lunches and they weren’t my favorite. We ate bologna between two slices of soft white bread slathered with Miracle Whip.

            Surely, Gloria’s lunch was better than what I remember eating. “How did you make your sandwich?” I asked. 

            Buy thick sliced beef bologna.  Cut three small slits around the edge of the slice so it will stay flat when it’s cooked.  Brown both sides of the meat in a skillet, using the medium heat setting.  Spread mayonnaise on both pieces of bread. Put lettuce on first so the bread won’t get soggy.  Layer sliced tomato, pickles, fried bologna, cheese, and the other piece of bread. 

            What kind of bread and pickles?  Any special mayo and cheese?  Gloria’s favorites are wheat bread, bread and butter pickles, Hellmann’s or Dukes mayo, and cheddar cheese.  “Other kinds of pickles could work,” Gloria explained, “but they should be sweet pickles and it could be American cheese.” 

            It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten a sandwich with just bologna, but it does add flavor to a deli sandwich I make with ham, roast beef, and two kinds of cheese.  I’m one of those people who wonders what bologna is made from and if I really knew, would I ever eat it?

            One well-known bologna label lists mechanically separated meats (chicken or turkey or pork or beef), water, corn syrup, salt, dextrose, mustard, sodium phosphate, sodium propionate, potassium chloride, beef juices, sodium ascorbate, sodium nitrite, sodium benzoate, flavor, hydrolyzed beef stock, extractives of paprika, and celery seed extract.  (Now I know why sodium is at the top of the nutritional listing.)

            If I had to explain to people who don’t know what bologna is and I want them to eat it, I definitely wouldn’t encourage them to google the word.  I found it’s a cooked, smoked sausage made of cured pork or beef or a mixture of the two.  It might include choice cuts, but usually contains afterthoughts of the meat industry – organs, trimmings, end pieces and so on.  Who wants to eat afterthoughts? 

            Bologna is a throw-back food that takes us to the 1950s when a bologna sandwiches were staples in lunchboxes, those carried by students and factory workers.  And most were like Mom’s, a piece of meat between white bread.  Later bologna fell out of favor when people became more conscious of healthy eating, but it’s made a comeback in recent years.  Maybe we need a little nostalgia in our lives.

            I haven’t tried Gloria’s sandwich yet, but I will.  And I’ll take the advice I discovered on an online advertisement: don’t think about how your bologna is made or what exactly it’s made from, and just sit there peacefully and eat your sandwich.

2 Responses

  1. If I had a nickel for each slice of bologna I sliced at Cowan’s Stop & Shop, I could have retired even earlier ❤️ Instead I have great memories. Your article made me smile. BTW, my favorite sandwich is a BLT.

    Like

  2. I’m going to give it a go soon. I love your post.

    Like

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