My post yesterday about the Trump sandwich on offer at a Windsor, ON, deli triggered a great deal of discussion among my close associates. Mainly, we agreed on the premise that the trump candidacy is a load of Bologna. But we couldn’t agree on what Bologna really is…
Familiarity, they say, breeds contempt. If that means we don’t accord the familiar the attention and consideration it deserves, I’d say that pretty much describes the general attitude to good, old, familiar Bologna.
Did you know?
Bologna is named in honour the city of Bologna, in Italy, whence the sausage comes, sort of.. But, if you go there, you’ll find they prefer Moretadella, a similar sausage but with inclusions of Black Peppercorns, small cubes of Fat and Pistachio Nuts. You’ll also notice that, while Mortadella has an anchor position in Italiain Deli cold cut counter displays, Bologna is usually absent all together.
The same sausage, with slight variations, is known and loved in France and Switzerland as Lyonnais or Lyonner (hailing, naturally, from Lyon in the south of Frnace). Several Eastern European sausages also resemble Bologna in various ways, none more similar than the famous Frankfurter, emigrée ancestor of the ubiquitous Hot Dog. In Germany Bologna is called Fleishwurst. In Finland, they have something they call Saturday Sausage, or Lauantaimakkara which is a less spicy knock-off of Lyonnais.
Bologna made in countries other than Italy is usually flavoured with Garlic rather than Myrtle Berries, which are expensive and hard to get outside of Italy.
Bologna made and sold in countries other than Italy looks different than Mortadella. That’s usually because ‘domestic’ Bolognas usually contain a mixture of meats, principally Beef and Pork, along with colouring to give it the appearance we all expect. Mortadella is almost always pure beef or pork without additional colouring other than that which the classic blend of cpices may impart.
The classic spice blend used to flavour Bologna/Mortadella, includes Black Pepper, Myrtle Berries, Nutmeg, Allspice, Celery Seed and Coriander. If you thought you detected Fennel, Paprika or other spicy flavours, you’d be wrong. Bologna authorities say one ingredient – the Myrtle Berries – is essential to the recipe. You can’t call it real Bologna/Mortadella if it doesn’t have Myrtle Berries. Just like you can’t call a Cobb Salad a Cobb Salad if it doesn’t include Black Olives. (Sorry to harp on that point; it’s bee another subject for debate lately among my close associates.)
Classic Bologna/Mortadella is supposed to be made from cured meats, not plain raw cuts and trimmings.
Proper Bologna/Mortadella is supposed to be boiled then smoked before hanging. Almost everywhere outside Italy, big manufacturers use artificial Smoke Flavouring in their Bologna, for their convenience.
Bologna is no more or less healthy than any other kind of Sausage, in spite of its legendary association with butchery scraps and ‘variety’ meats. In my book, it’s decidedly better than benighted concoctions such as Blood Sausage, French Andouillette (made with Tripe, Intestines and other ooky stuff), or Head Cheese (which, I’ll admit, isn’t so bad once you get past its appearance).
So, there you have it!
I hope you now feel a little more kindly towards good, old Bologna. Still, if you have the choice, go for the Mortadella!
~ Maggie J.