It’s All Bologna!
By Patrick F. Cannon
Not too many years ago, I strayed from the straight and narrow path and began eating a healthier lunch. One of the casualties of this tragic mistake was my beloved bologna and cheese sandwich.
It was simply made, but eminently eatable. You would take two pieces of good quality white bread (no Wonder Bread, please) and put a generous dollop of Heinz Ketchup (no substitutions) on one of them. This must be done ahead of time. In a cast-iron skillet, you would then toss a piece of Oscar Meyer regular bologna. While giving off some of its tasty fat, it would eventually curl up. Upon this inevitable occurrence, you would flip the bologna over and place a slice of Kraft American Cheese, folded to fit comfortably, on the sizzling meat. When the cheese was melted (if I was truly hungry, I confess that there might have been two pieces thus adorned), the bologna was moved via a spatula from skillet to pre-ketchupped bread and topped with the other slice.
As you might imagine – if you have any imagination at all – the result was culinary heaven. Then, alas, one began to hear the siren song of the benefits of the fat free diet. Instead of the ultimate sandwich, I began to eat flax-seed sticks and yogurt (and the odd cookie if truth be told). But, as so often happens, the experts eventually recanted and admitted (sheepishly, one hopes) that a certain amount of fat in the diet was actually beneficial! Eventually, even the much-maligned egg was rehabilitated.
Thus unshackled from the chains of goofy science, I resolved to return to my former love. Off to the Jewel I rushed and bought packages of Oscar Meyer Bologna and Kraft American Cheese Singles. (I have since discovered that Kraft now actually owns Oscar Meyer, whose butcher shop in Chicago started it all. And the whole kit and caboodle is now Kraft Heinz, for good or ill.) Upon arrival home, I immediately ketchupped a slice of bread and threw two pieces of bologna in the frying pan. To my utter amazement, almost no fat emanated from the meat; they just kind of sat there getting unappetizingly charred. Little or no curl!
What can have happened? I decided that poor Oscar had given in to the fat police and reduced the amount of fat in their signature sausage. While they must be admonished for this craven capitulation, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that many others adorn their packages with the dreaded “Lower, Reduced, or No Fat.” As everyone with any culinary sense knows, these should read “Lower Flavor, Reduced Flavor, or No Flavor at All.”
My friends and relatives know I’m addicted to the potato chip, one of the great American contributions to gastronomy. Now, I find it difficult to find a bag that doesn’t proudly proclaim that it has “40 Percent Less Fat” or some such. And although they don’t say so, I note with dismay that almost all brands now seem to lack enough salt! What is one to do when the conspiracy seems general? As for me, I drew the line when one famous national brand (It’s you Cape Cod) started proudly printing on their bags the stupid “No GMOs,” thus pandering to the sandal-clad lunatics who believe that rigorous scientific studies are a mere inconvenience.
Finally, if you know of a brand of bologna that has the fat content of old – that will begin giving it off as it hits the pan, will curl up as it should and not burn before the Kraft Processed American Cheese melts – please do let me know! You will do me, and gourmets everywhere, a great service!
Copyright 2017, Patrick F. Cannon