Friday, May 19, 2023

My Bologna Has a First Name

One of the kind acts of consideration our King of Fishes offered me when he agreed to allow me to post on his website was allowing me to decide which food I posted about each week.  If I decide to post something folks like, KF’s decision was a good one. If I decide to post something that no one likes, you guys have sadly wasted a week when you click on my post. There is a chance this week’s post may be one of your wasted experiences.

I am a southern boy who grew up in the 1950s. Bologna is a processed meat product I really like (along with Spam and Vienna Sausages (KF: Yuk!). 

I have accumulated considerable experience eating these things, so I thought this would be my opportunity to share a small tribute to bologna.

First, other stuff:

My wife’s dad is gone now. He was as good a man as anyone would ever be privileged to know; a plumber and self-taught mechanical genius who should have been a rocket program engineer. I could bore you with a hundred stories about situations when I presented him with a broken or damaged “whatever” and he shocked me by looking at it for a few minutes and then quickly completing repairs that kept me going, or restored years of operational capability to something I thought was gone forever. I miss him, and my Dad who was also equally impressive, every day.

I promise I will get around to bologna eventually, but first I want to share a story about professional wrestling and bass fishing. The wife has put up with me for 52 years now. During our early years of marriage, I spend a lot of time fishing with her Dad/my FIL. We fished The Res a lot, mostly in the Pelahatchie Bay area of the lake. As we spent hours fishing we also engaged in many hours discussing Professional Wrestling. The FIL had a brother who was a well known professional wrestler back then, so he knew the business. Back then, the Pro Wrestling Federation wrestled at the coliseum every week and packed the place each night they were in town.

The biggest wrestlers in the region included Cowboy Bill Watts and a masked wrestler known only as “The Spoiler”. If you remember those days, Cowboy Bill would use his signature “Oklahoma Stampede” maneuver to pile drive the Spoiler and ten seconds later, would be declared winner of that week’s main event as The Spoiler writhed in pain. The next week, The Spoiler would whack Cowboy Bill with a folding chair then use his “Sleeper Hold” or “Figure Four Leg Lock” to send Cowboy Bill to the hospital. This weekly hostile relationship went on for months.

Cowboy Bill & The Spoiler

Then one weekend my FIL and I were in his boat, working spinner baits down the north side of Pelahatchie Bay one Saturday morning when another boat approached from the main lake, working the bank toward us. The FIL was a laid back kind of guy and moved away from the bank to allow the boat to pass by us. As it passed, a light bulb went off in my head and I called out to the guy in the front of the other boat.

“You’re Cowboy Bill Watts, aren’t you?”

He smiled, acknowledged his identity, and we pulled closer to chat for a moment, with my FIL mentioning his brother, who had ended his Pro career some years earlier. Cowboy Bill knew him and he and my FIL swapped stories of old matches, and things like his brother’s ability in the earlier part of his career to do 100 pushups with my wife and her three sisters all seated on his back.

As we talked about Cowboy Bill’s time playing football for Dallas, and wrestler stuff, the guy in the back of the boat continued fishing, only smiling and nodding at appropriate times. Then Cowboy realized he had been inconsiderate and told us, “I’m sorry to cut my buddy out of this. That guy back there is Don Jardine. You probably know him better as “The Spoiler”. We had a laugh and parted ways a few minutes later, us toward the main lake and them toward Pelahatchie Creek. As best I can remember, Cowboy Bill put The Spoiler into the hospital that night, or maybe it was The Spoiler who was responsible for the hospitalization injury to Cowboy Bill.

What the heck does my pro wrestling fishing story have to do with Bologna?

“You never know the truth when you eat bologna, and sometimes you are better off not knowing.”

As I said earlier, I like bologna. I probably consumed several hundred bologna sandwiches during my childhood. My preferred bologna sandwich then was Jackson Packing Company’s “Judge Jackson Bologna”, cooked in a hot skillet, served on Sally Sunflower white bread, with Blue Plate mayo. If I was lucky, I had some caramelized onion on my sandwich. If we had any potato chips in the house, I always tried to con my mom out of a few chips to go with it.

Eventually I grew up, but my preferences for bologna never really changed. They just became a bit fancier. Here is the way I like my sandwich these days.


1 Slice of bologna at least 1/4 inch thick, from the Deli meat counter at Kroger
2 thick cut slices of onion, separated into rings and caramelized in the skillet used to brown the bologna.
1 hamburger bun, butter toasted
a smear of Zatarain’s Creole Mustard
an adult beverage, if desired


I like to start by caramelizing the onions, since they take longer to cook.

When the onions begin to brown, add the slice of bologna. 

I like both sides of my bologna slice browned.

Butter toasting the hamburger bun in a skillet is worth whatever trouble it is.

When everything is cooked to perfection, the sandwich is assembled, with the grainy Creole mustard seasoning the meat, 

and the onions carefully placed to make sure each bite includes bun, bologna, mustard and onion.

Chips? You bet!

Amber fluid? Sounds like a good plan!

Oh, I forgot something important. My FIL was a bologna sandwich junkie. That's another reason to have good memories of the wife’s dad, whose plumber skills included the ability to get out of bed at 2:00 am, go to the fridge, make a bologna sandwich without turning on the kitchen light, and then go back to bed after eating it. Sadly, I never saw him eat one made with thick cut bologna. Maybe real men eat their bologna thin cut.

Thanks for looking at my post.


Anonymous said...

My Uncle Big John used to fry bologna and when it curled up in a bowl shape, he'd fill it with scrambled eggs. I miss him.

That Zatarain's creole mustard is the best.

Anonymous said...

You've made me want fried bologna for lunch.

Anonymous said...

Pig and Pint in Fondren have it on the menu;

Anonymous said...

my 2¢, best fried bologna is at Wilson's Meat House in Crystal Springs and Pig & Pint in Jackson. Had one there just last week.

Anonymous said...

Never apologize for fried bologna! It rocks.

Anonymous said...

Beatty St Grocery

Anonymous said...

Beatty Street grocery had a good fried bologna sandwich. I have eaten a few over the years, they would custom make it to your specifications if you asked politely.

Anonymous said...

I like fried bologna sandwiches, too, and put the potato chips inside it for crunch. I also like Rotel and Velveeta cheese dip and hot dogs in BBQ sauce made in the crockpot.

My dog likes Vienna sausage. I stick his pill in one so he can't smell the pill and he gulps it down. It's the easiest way to get him to take his medicine.

Anonymous said...

I will pass on the recipe to my son and husband. This will be something to do with the hunting club grilled/smoked bacon-bologna chub. Also 11:07 I switched to the Gerber baby food sausages, less sodium and fat. My fur boy did not need either!

Anonymous said...

To get the full Vienna sausage experience you need a little dried worm guts on your fingers. Also partial to old fashioned hoop cheese. Still remember going to the small local grocery store that had the cheese displayed under a glass dome. Some hoop cheese, slab of loney meat and a sleeve of Saltines. Mmmmmmm…..

Anonymous said...

At least the tinfoil hat crowd and I can agree on the joys of a fried bologna sandwich.

Maybe there is hope for Jackson.

Anonymous said...

@12:04 - Don't forget that the tinned sardines taste good with the hoop cheese, bologna and saltines. You also use them for bait if you run out of worms.

Anonymous said...

Every deer that I kill, I get half of it made in bologna. Put it in my deep freeze and have lunch meat for a year. Stuff is the best.

Unknown said...

My brother and I ate many cold baloney, mayonnaise and bread sandwiches while mama was cooking steaks for them rich folks.Sometimes she would bring us some of that steak.

Anonymous said...

This just pisses me off. The other day I opened a can of vienna sausage and they has shorted me one sausage.

Anonymous said...

Bologna is never a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

Tube steak is what we called it, and have eaten a ton over my lifetime.

Anonymous said...

When I was a child bologna was also known as “round steak”.

Anonymous said...

All y'all triggered so many memories of growing up in the 60's with Cowboy Bill Watts, the Spoiler, and the food selections. The best sardines are packed in olive oil, and the best cartoons on Saturday morning were the original (unwoke) Looney Tunes.

Robert W Neill Jr, Land Broker said...

The Jack's hamburger chain has Fried Bologna Melt as a new menu item. I have not tried it yet but it looks appealing.

Anonymous said...

Can you microwave bologna???
I always called it boloney!
It's made from horsemeat

Anonymous said...

Bologna, like most processed and "deli" meats, contains preservatives that cause inflammation. In recent years, several brands offer ham, bacon and sausage with no "unnatural" added preservatives (nitrates, nitrites, erythrobate, benzoate, bht, etc) that are instead preserved with salt and celery seed extract.

Boars Head "Simplicity" offers minimally processed, healthier deli meats.

Anonymous said...

Some processed meats in Bologna Italy contain horse meat, but "bologna" in USA does not, unless specifically called out in the ingredients and horse meat is not popular here like it is in Italy.

Anonymous said...

The Homewood Deli in Alabama used to sell a griddle-fried bologna sandwich on a burger bun for $1. If you ever want fancy bologna, try Italian mortadella shaved thin. There are peppercorns, pistachios, and little globs of soft fat in the meat. Shaved thin and eaten right off the plate with a few olives and Prosecco, perfection. The original in this post is the bar no doubt, but don’t pan the fancy version if you’ve never tried it. You’ll hope St. Peter will have a plate for you one day once you’ve tasted it.

Stuff About ZeroBear PolyBear said...

Mr. 10:09 - During earlier days of my life, I consumed the old green can C-rations as a primary food source (Opened with the trusty P-38, can opener). Most of them dated back to the late 1940s and early 1950s and were likely stored in a dusty old military warehouse for more years than we cared to think about before some military planner in a nice office in Washington had the brilliant idea, "Let's ship these out for the men in the field to eat and at that point we'll be rid of them and can take them off the books."

One of the tasty ones, from the 1940s included chunks of roasted horsemeat, or at least, that's the story I'm telling on this fine Saturday Morning. Like bologna, that's a story we are better off not questioning. By the way, you want to avoid any C-ration breakfast labeled as "eggs with pork". The little crackers were pretty bad too. Even hungry dogs and birds wouldn't touch them, but evidently they were ok for Army rations. For good reasons, they made it a big deal when the military introduced MRE's.

Sometime in the early 1950, it became out of fashion to serve horse meat anywhere outside of France, so it's very unlikley your bologny contains horsemeat, unless it has a fancy French label.

Anonymous said...

I can’t get the Oscar Mayer song out of my head!

Anonymous said...

@ 10:32..."Has"...

PS: When frying baloney, one must always cut into the perimeter, all the way through, at least an inch and a half, only once. Unless you want curled up, floppy, argumentative baloney.

Stuff About ZeroBear PolyBear said...

3:31 pm

You might notice in the photos, if using 1/4 inch thick bologna, you don't have to cut a slit to keep it from curling up. A nice reason to try it thick sliced from the deli at your market.

Anonymous said...

I ate the occasional bologna on white with mayo and mustard as a child, even though my mom was a great cook. She took vienna sausages, split them and put a thick slick of cheddar in the middle, then rolled them up in a crescent roll. Baked til tan, then served with mustard. While it sounds awful, it's still on my once every few years rotation. Bologna is not, but I made authentic NOLA muffalettas from City Grocery's recipes and it called for mortadella.... aka fancy bologna.

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