Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Childhood Fave

I was raised by an earnest mother who took nutrition seriously. She so wanted her children to be healthy that we never - and I'm not exaggerating -had things like potato chips or soda in the house. She wasn't a fanatic: we did have cake and ice cream at birthdays. We did get candy at Hallowe'en and Easter. Let's just say she was consistent in her message and leave it at that. Her mantra was "It's good for you."

So, bologna was simply NOT on the menu. It didn't meet her criteria in any way - it wasn't tasty (at least, not to her), it wasn't healthy and, in those days, it was generally served with mayo and iceberg lettuce on the gooshy white bread that was advertised on Howdy Doody. As far as she was concerned, it had nothing to recommend it.

Then why did I love it so much? I can still recall, roughly sixty years later, the first bologna sandwich I tasted at a friend's house. Initially suspicious of its pink newness, I only tasted it to be polite. That first bite was one of those table-pounding, nostril-flaring gustatory experiences. I also had potato chips at that meal, another revelation for me. My mother's spell was broken.

Every now and then, perhaps once every other year, I remember bologna and all of a sudden I'm craving that sandwich again. I cruise happily down the aisles of my market, picking up iceberg lettuce and a package of bologna, happily anticipating that first bite. My Beloved shakes his head in disbelief. The crisp give of the lettuce, the smooth, slightly salty unctuousness of the lunch meat, the tickle of mayo on the tongue. Eye-rolling pleasure. Now that I'm adult, I can no longer face the Wonder Bread but the rest is 1952 authentic.

Do you have foods like this, foods from your childhood that have become guilty pleasures? If so, go out today and indulge your craving. It's good for you.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Greg said...

I used butter on my bologna sandos. I think bologna has a image problem. Call it mortadella or salume and it seems more politically correct.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010  
Blogger namastenancy said...

Bologna was a lunch stand by at my house. I made the sandwiches from my brother and sister but I don't remember having any feelings, positive or negative about it. My mother had pretty extreme ideas about diet; my sister and I were forbidden a whole list of foods yet mother kept them in the house for herself. We were just not permitted to eat them - and of course, we did. What she forced us to eat - things like liver, cottage cheese - are still foods that I avoid today.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

What Greg said. Actually, a mortadella sandwich is very good.

Nancy, your mother sounds cruel or crazy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010  
Blogger James said...

Well I got hooked on fried Bologna as a kid raised by southern folks. Toasted white bread a little mustard some iceberg and a thick slice of fried bolony, add some fritos and a coke, there is a god!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, "used?" You mean you no longer eat bologna sandos? Poor you.

Nancy, your Mom certainly had some weird ideas about eating - "do as I say, not as I do" is bad parenting, at the very least.

Cookiecrumb, two votes for mortadella - I'll have to go get some try it. We aren't cooking a turkey this year (going to Katie's house) so we will need some sandwich fixings to replace the turkey leftovers.

James, Fritos? You parents actually gave you Fritos? Will they adopt me?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010  

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