Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Load of Bologna

Yesterday for lunch I had a nice sandwich comprised of a brioche roll, all natural mayonnaise, whole grain Dijon mustard, a thin layer of lettuce, slices of tomatoes, a bit of colby jack cheese, and turkey bologna. Yes, bologna made out of turkey, brought to us by Applegate Farms, "changing the meat we eat." Uncured, humanely raised, and gluten, casein, added nitrite and nitrate free, this no preservative deli meat tastes a lot like, well, bologna. Similar to how turkey ham tastes very similar to real ham, though admittedly turkey bacon tastes nothing like pig bacon (thank God).

This sandwich got me thinking: What exactly is bologna? Where does it come from? Why would someone want a turkey alternative? Is bologna that beloved? And so, my search began.

It turns out that one can make bologna out of any kind of meat (bologna is often mixed-meat, like hot dogs), even venison, but the most common is pork with lard as a key ingredient. Also, bologna is a kind of sausage unique to the United States that bears no small similarity to the Italian pork sausage mortadella, which originated in Bologna and can be traced back to Roman times, when the pork was ground to a paste with a mortar and pestle and seasoned. 

Sadly, no one seems to know why most people pronounce bologna as "baloney" (which, when spelled this way, means nonsense or hogwash). One story is that the word was simply corrupted from the Italian "boh-loh-nyuh," while another claims that "buh-lawg-na" didn't sound appetizing to American consumers (who generally insist on pronouncing everything the way it looks rather than how it actually sounds), so manufacturers changed it to "buh-loh-nee." 

In my reading, I discovered why turkey bologna would be useful: it's kosher! (Or it can be.) It also, of course, cuts down on the fat, 5.5g per 2oz serving of Applegate turkey bologna, though to be perfectly honest, slices of bologna are so slight that the difference is almost negligible. (Compare the fat content of different balognas here.)

So there you have it, another unique food that stumbled into my path. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to update. I've been working a lot of day shifts lately rather than night shifts, and last night after work, I had a very important date to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, On Stranger Tides. This week is going to be busy, but I promise I will try hard to be more on time with the next update!

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