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.