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Food for Thought
Wed December 14, 2011
When's the last time you had a nice baloney sandwich?
Don't you think you're due? It had been about ten years for me and that was too long.
Traditionalist that I am I went with Oscar Mayer, spongy white bread, mayo, iceberg lettuce and house-brand chips. The result is pictured above. Was it good?
You bet it was.
Sometimes nothing hits the spot like a baloney sandwich. So what put the idea in my head? A story in last week's Tacoma News-Tribune, Maybe Bologna deserves a little more respect. Even though the official spelling is Bologna (from the Italian city famous for its mortadella sausage) let's all stipulate that no American ever calls it that. It's baloney. Anything else would sound – and be – pretentious.
That's a lot of baloney.
While wolfing my sandwich I read up on the stuff. You got yer German style, heavy on the garlic. There's the Pennsylvania Dutch style or Lebanon, which is closer to salami than what we think of as the B-Meat. My Food for Thought Pard, Seattle Times food writer Nancy Les0n says she used to love fried baloney sandwiches as a kid. My friend Dan once mentioned that after eating them every day for several months as a guest in some Alabama jail he'd just as soon never see one again.
But what's it really made of?
Baloney can be all beef for Kosher or Halal style or made with chicken and/or pork. Yeah, yeah, but what about those snouts and lips we keep hearing about?
My research (such as it was) neither confirmed nor denied the presence of those and other even more utilitarian parts. My own feeling is that meat's meat. Once it's ground up it doesn't matter to me if it started as a snout, an ear or a ring-steak.
If you still want to know more, The Old Foodie has looked into the history of the stuff more carefully.
And finally, who could be more quotable on this week's topic than a Tammany pol?
"No matter how thin you slice it, it's still baloney."
–Three-time governor of New York and 1928 presidential candidate Al Smith.
“Food for Thought” is a weekly KPLU feature covering the world of food as well as the thinking that goes into it. The feature is published here and airs on KPLU 88.5 every Wednesday during Morning Edition and All Things Considered.