October 24 is National Bologna Day. Who knew? I recently discovered this fact while reading a newspaper at a doctor’s appointment. This got me thinking about the last time I had bologna (or baloney, as I like to call it.) I think I was in college because I lived on my own and had to cook for myself. Two of my favorite meals were fried bologna sandwiches and Ramen noodles, the college pantry staple. I haven’t had a fried balogna sandwich since college. That was almost 20 years ago. (I still love Ramen noodles. What’s not to love? They’re $0.10 a pack and taste yummy.) My mom used to make fried bologna sandwiches for me when I was a kid and I loved them. When I was old enough she even let me pop that infamous balogna bubble. I was so excited. It was a simpler time then.
How could I have neglected such an important fixture in my childhood and youth? Did I become too important for bologna? Was it now beneath me to eat fried bologna sandwiches? My children have never even had bologna. What kind of mother am I?
So today I decided I would make fried bologna sandwiches. My husband was so excited because he hasn’t had bologna since we’ve been married. He said, “I didn’t think I was allowed to eat it anymore.” I saw a little twinkle come back into his eyes when I announced that fried bologna sandwiches were on the menu for lunch. I was even a little excited.
I went to the deli counter and order 1/4-inch thick slices of bologna (which, by the way, was a third of the cost of the deli meat I usually buy. How could I have missed that?) and 1/8-inch slices of yellow American cheese. I started getting goosebumps just thinking about this sandwich. My deli lady was excited for me too. Next, I got white bread. Yes, I said it…white bread. Good old-fashioned-stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth-when-you-eat-it white bread. I spent less than $5.00 for all my sandwich fixins.
Since I wanted to keep this experience old-school I pulled out my cast iron skillet. The process was quite simple: Heat the oil, fry the bologna, pop the bubble and top with cheese. I spread mustard on the bread and added the cheese-topped bologna. I hoped this sandwich would be as good as I remember.
And it was. All I can say is, ” My boloney has a first name. It’s G-O-O-O-D!” Fried bologna sandwiches are the BOMB!!!! My husband was so happy that he started humming to his sandwiches. My boys even liked them. It was everything I thought it would be. How could something so simple make a family so happy? Fried bologna sandwiches will definitely be added to the lunchtime rotation.
Old-School Fried Bologna Sandwiches
Makes 2 sandwiches
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 deli-sliced beef bologna, cut about 1/4-inch thick
2 deli-sliced American cheese, cut about 1/8-inch thick
4 slices old-fashioned whited bread
Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cut a slit in the bologna. (This keeps the meat from turning into a bowl. Personally I like popping the bubble because it reminds me of old times.) Add the bologna slices to the skillet and cook 3 minutes on each side until browned and crisp around the edges. Top each patty with a slice of cheese and cook 2 additional minutes until the cheese begins to melt. Spread mustard on each slice of bread. Place the bologna on 2 of the bread slices and cover with the remaining bread. Serve immediately. ( I like to serve my sandwiches with chips and pickles.)