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Everyone’s favorite processed luncheon meat has its own day.
This October 24, make sure to bring your brown bag lunches to work because it’s National Bologna Day! Everyone’s favorite processed luncheon meat has its own day. Bologna is named after the Italian city of the same name, but down there they call it mortadella, which is a sausage with bits of lard and peppercorns in it. American Bologna, as you may have noticed, is distinctly different, but no less loved the world over.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL BOLOGNA DAY
While the history of National Bologna Day may be short, the history of bologna is long and lasting. For example, in 1661, mortadella (bologna’s European cousin) was so protected, the papacy decided to create a clear definition to distinguish it from other, lesser versions of finely ground pork with chunks of fat.
Bologna, as known in America, is mortadella without the fat chunks. It’s sold at baseball stadiums, lunch counters, delis, inside tin cans, and in the glass cases of butchers. It can be fried and thrown on toasted bread with pickles, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce. It can be served cold with thick slices of cheddar and white bread. It can be chopped up and mixed with crumbled, hard boiled eggs, mayo, and veggies for a bologna salad.
Regardless of how you enjoy it, bologna came to America (most likely) with the large German immigration at the turn of the twentieth century, establishing it as a de facto cuisine in the areas they settled in – midwest, Appalachia, Pennsylvania, and parts of the south.
From there, it quickly took firm footing as one of the most popular American foods.
NATIONAL BOLOGNA DAY ACTIVITIES
Make a sandwich
How else should you celebrate National Bologna Day than by enjoying it the way it was meant to be savored- between two slices of bread! But on this day, why not try something new? Why not fry it up and top it with an egg? Or how about you pull out that panini press you never use and cook it up topped with a slice of cheddar!
Make your own
That right, you don’t need a giant assembly line to make your own bologna. In fact, bologna doesn’t even require that many ingredients. All you need is ground beef, a sugar-based curing mixture, garlic and onion powder, and finally, liquid smoke for that distinct taste. Mix it all up, mold it, and throw it in the oven. In an hour you’ll have your very own bologna to celebrate with.
Make a bologna cake
This is actually not a joke, it’s a real thing. Bologna cake is exactly what it sounds like. You take slices of bologna, layer them, and use cream cheese for frosting. Spray some canned cheese for decoration and serve with crackers. It may seem crazy, but you’re sure to have the most impressive party platter- that is until someone brings the hot dog sculpture.
WHY WE LOVE NATIONAL BOLOGNA DAY
Kids love it
Bologna, mustard, white bread, those three ingredients make for the cornerstone of a classic school-time lunch. There’s just something about bologna that kids love. Pair it up with a string cheese and some fruit snacks and you can guarantee your kids will have plenty of energy to get through the day.
Because it comes in many styles
Bologna is more than just Oscar Meyer, bologna actually comes in all kinds of styles and flavors. We’ve already talked a bit about mortadella, but there’s also German bologna and Lebanon bologna which are distinctly different. There’s even something called polony, which is popular in South Africa.
Because it doesn’t pretend to be healthy
Of course it’s important to eat healthily, but sometimes you just have to indulge in a guilty pleasure, and that’s where bologna unapologetically comes to the rescue. In a world where everything is either cholesterol-free or fat-free, bologna isn’t afraid to be itself. That being said, it is gluten-free if that’s your thing.