Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pink Saturday - Baloney

Beverly at the blog How Sweet the Sound has a great idea! It's Pink Saturday. Post about something pink, on Saturday. Here are the rules if you want to Get Pink!

It's been ages since I've eaten Baloney - or Bologna sausage. Yet the other day in the supermarket, I suddenly realized that the cold-cut aisle was filled with pink food! Ham, salami, liverwurst - it's all pink! But by far, the smoothest pink in the deli-case is bologna.

Bologna is made of finely ground meat flavored with spices. The traditional Italian version is usually pork, but in the U.S. you can find bologna made with chicken or turkey, also Kosher bologna made with beef. USDA regulations allow manufacturers to add binders and fillers like cereal and milk solids. Since it can be made from cheap cuts of pork, it's very economical.

We're probably all most familiar with good old American brand-name bologna. This costs about $3.00 per pound.

Its stodgy pinkness and its bland, slightly smoky flavor matches perfectly with white sandwich bread, mayonnaise, and a slither of bright yellow French's mustard, for the non-adventurous eater. Since bologna is a cured product it can safely sit in a lunchbox in a school locker for a couple of hours, sealed in a baggie, along with a snack-pack of chips, a Thermos of milk, and a couple of cookies.

Many fine delis stock kosher bologna, made of beef. One commonly seen brand is Hebrew National. This bologna is a deeper, richer pink than the Oscar Mayer brand, and has a coarser grind, giving it a little more texture and variation.

I wondered, is there such a thing as a high end version of bologna? An artisanal bologna? "Gourmet bologna?"

The closest you could get to this is Bologna's more sophisticated cousin, Italian mortadella. This has white cubes of lard and green pistachios added to the pink porky paste, making a rather prettier cold cut when sliced - if you can get your mind around thinking lard can be pretty.

I got some Hebrew National beef bologna at my local Gelson's, for $9.95 a pound. I found imported mortadella at a new charcuterie on Santa Monica's Main Street, south of Pico, where some new apartments and retail stores have opened. This mortadella goes for $13.95 a pound. I bought a quarter pound of each to taste-test against my Oscar Mayer, which goes for $3.00 a pound.

Here's how they stack up. That's the Hebrew National at the top, the mortadella at right, and the Oscar Mayer on the left.

Right away the two deli-sliced meats had an advantage - they were thin sliced and delicate to the tongue, while the packaged Oscar Mayer slices were thick and flabby. They reminded me of those flat rubber drain-stoppers you can buy for your sink.

Taste-wise, the beef bologna was the most assertive, with a good strong flavor like a hot dog - which makes sense, because Hebrew National beef hot dogs are also delicious. The Oscar Mayer bologna was bland and inoffensive, but it had a kind of plastic texture under the teeth. It may have been better sliced thin at the deli counter. The mortadella was the most delicate, and had the most complex, yet subtle, flavor. Porky, with a slightly sour cured scent, and a hint of spice, plus the occasional bite of peppercorn. It also had a delectably fatty mouth-feel to it that both of the other meats lacked. Yet that fatty richness soon became cloying and made me feel satiated quickly.

The verdict? Overall, the Hebrew National beef bologna hit the right spot in terms of taste and price. Its assertive flavor meant that you could make a sandwich with just a couple of slices and still get the flavor and character, and feel like you'd really eaten something. The Oscar Mayer was the most economical, but it just wasn't pleasant to eat. The mortadella was good, but not so good it justified the price. At that price, I'd rather have a fantastic garlicky salami, or spicy capicola, or a suave and unctuous proscuitto.

What's your favorite pink deli meat?

48 comments:

Lochlanina said...

Happy Pink Saturday.
Lebanon baloney was always a favorite growing up -- it's a very sweet beef baloney with flecks of that white stuff I will pretend is not fat. But I think it's too dark to be called pink, it really is a brown color.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Pink Saturday?

Okay, so you're the perfect person to ask THIS particular PINK question. Is that hot dog spot (Hollywood, I think) called "Pinks" still in business?

I personally thought the dogs there were overrated and oily, but it was a semi-legendary spot, I suppose.

Just wondering.

GABRIELA DELWORTH said...

Happy Pink Saturday!

This is a "delish" post!
And now I am sooo hungry!

~ Gabriela ~

Vintage To Chic said...

I love your post, Something we would not have thought about but there is nothing better than a bologna, tomato and mayo sandwich.
Hugs,
Judy

g said...

Hi, Cheri - yes "Pinks" is still there, and the lines still stretch down the block!

I went there the first year I moved to LA - I was working in the Hollywood neighborhood - and I stood in line for a hot dog. So...it was a hot dog!

haven't been back since, but sometimes I pass the place and the lines of people are always there.

Now I've never had an Oki-Dog.....have you?

Mo..."Mo's Cottage" said...

What a very interesting Pink post....I haven't had baloney in a long time...we ate that a lot when I was in grammer school....
Have a great Pink Saturday...
Mo :-)

rosechicfriends said...

Oh I have to say balogna and mustard are a comfort food for me! Haven't had on in a while tho..great PINK idea...

You asked about my clay roses..those were made with FIMO/POLYMER clay..basically with round pieces that are just placed together as you would see a rose unfold..you start in the center and work out...glad you asked...it might be fun to do a instructional blog on it some day.
HAPPY PINK!
Lorena

Marina Capano said...

Happy Pink Saturday!!! so yummy!!!mmmhhhh!!!
xoxo from Argentina
Marina

Claudie said...

Have you ever fried the baloney? My mom used to do it for my dad and us all the time and I would watch how they came up like little hats. I did it for my kids years ago.
Your right it is Pink!!!
Claudie from Canada

Anonymous said...

WOW...great blog.............I like mayo on mine and make sandwiches for lunch at work alot!

Bernideen said...

Sorry - that was me ablove - Bernideen at Bernideen's TeaTime Blog...it flew away on me before I was done......

Becky said...

I like to add my potato chips right on the sandwich! A very good lunch! Hmmmm I am hungry now.
Happy PS
Becky

Dawn said...

Remember this one? Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A, How's that!
Happy PS!

Smilingsal said...

lol Fantastic Pink Saturday Post! lol I learned a bit about bologna too.

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Oh I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weiner....... Never eat bologna or deli meats at all. Sometimes I get smoked turkey though chipped. I remember Mom making fried bologna and you dipped a bit in mustard. Happy PS G.

Fifi Flowers said...

Cappocola... nice and spicy on a delicous deli roll with provolone, tomato, onion, vinegar and oil and garlic... YUM... off to get a sandwich!
ENJOY your weekend!
Fifi

Melissa Wertz said...

Happy Pink Saturday! I love baloney! Baloney and mustard sandwiches. I rarely eat them, b/c they do not like me. But I sure love them. :D

KarenHarveyCox said...

How fun, pink boloney. I used to love boloney sandwiches when I was a kid. Hmmm, how about nice tall glass of chocolate milk and pudding for dessert, then we'll be in comfort food heaven.

Happy Pink Saturday,

Karen

Kimberly said...

What a fun Pink Saturday post!! I actually had fried bologna for the first time in YEARS at a breakfast buffett this morning. I'll have to try the Hebrew National bologna.

I can only hope for a pink chute!! I actually have my Pink Sat. post up and it features a pink church!

Have a great day!

Joy said...

I grew up on FRIED balogna sandwiches at my Grandma's house. Still love them. And my favorite brand is Koegel. :o)

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

It sure IS pink
*Happy Pink Saturday*

erin said...

ROAST BEEF still pink in the center with spicy pepperocinis! Yummy!
Happy Pink Saturday!

Happy To Be said...

OH Gina you made me hungry coming here girl...and way to go you voted for my Man Obama I am also a Obama Mama...Thanks for your visit today ..I am loving this PINK Saturday its so fun to meet new friends this way...hugs and smiles Gloria

G. Bloom said...

Happy Pink Saturday! Great Post! yummy I am hungrey, it's been ages since I've had a bologna sandwhich!
Gina

Shelia said...

Hi G and Happy Pink Saturday! Oh, I have to confess - I love bologna sandwiches, too! I like to fry mine a bit first. You're making me hungry!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Dee Light said...

What a fun post!! I usually buy mesquite roasted turkey breast, but I love bologna. I never buy it but when my mother-in-law buys some I have to make myself a sandwich. Fun idea for a post.

Jenny S said...

I actually DO make jewelry from the buttons!! Email me a picture of your items if you could! I would love to see them!
jfoster789@aol.com

Denise Elizabeth said...

Funny Funny! Salami I would say.
Thanks for the comment on my blog.
Denise

Marina said...

Bologna...what a great idea!!!!
Italian mortadella is, to me, the best version of bologna and the original one too :-)
Happy Pink Saturday

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi
Great idea for a pink saturday post!

I like the honey baked ham!

Nancy said...

Oh my, now I am wanting some Baloney! Thank you for coming by today...it's nice to meet you! Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Nancy

Kim said...

Very creative take on pink! OH, and bologna must always be eaten on good old fashioned, bad for you, white bread!
*Smiles and pink wishes to you*
Kim

jeanne said...

Interesting post about pink baloney. A fun subject to think about. You may not have heard of Koegel Baloney, but it is the best baloney on the planet. My limited opinion of course. smile! It is sold in Michigan. My family visit from MI and Koegel baloney is always my hostess gift. Enjoyed your post today.

Hugs...Jeanne

KatCollects said...

Happy Pink Saturday! Thank you so much for the well wishes on my surgery. I do have people to help me while I recover, that is a Blessing. I was told I could not put any weight on my foot at all for probably 6 weeks so I am going to take all the help I can get! I hope you are having a great weekend.
Kathy

Miss Rhea said...

Ok, it is NOT bologna !!! lol !! And here is why, When I was a kid I had a dream that my mom had a big loaf of Baloney and she squeezed all of the juice out of it and made me drink it, lol !!! Is that gross or what ?? hee hee !!! EWE !! As a result, I have never been able to eat baloney, OR hot dogs since. I do love Ham though :) Happy Pink Saturday !! :)

CC said...

What a fun pink post..you sure did your homework well. :). Now I'm off to make a sandwich.. Have a great week.

sherri (Tied Up In Ribbons) said...

I have only ever had the kosher bologna, and I hadn't really given it much thought until I read your post, but why is bologna better on white bread? Seems rude to even put it on another type.

Reluctant Blogger said...

I'm afraid I don't really eat a lot of meat - not cooked meats anyway. But that stuff looks a bit like luncheon meat. My granny used to give us that for lunch - it came in a can with a key and you wound the key and the can would open. I didn't like the luncheon meat but I loved those cans!

But I love salmon - and that's pink.

She'sSewPretty said...

The only way I can eat balogna is fried and for some strange reason I have been craving a fried balogna sandwich lately. I think I'll try that Hebrew National brand. What a unique pink post!

PlantBuddy said...

Now that's a really different Pink Saturday posting. All that deli is making me hungry. LOL. Since I'm not a crafter or designer I search around for unusual Pinks too. Enjoyed your comments and thanks for visiting.

Vanessa Greenway said...

Wonderful! I am a bologna lover! I love eating them with fresh baked french bread! Great post! :) Vanessa

Elizabeth said...

I haven't had balogna in 20 years, but it was a staple of my childhood! My favorite pink deli meat is corned beef. I also get a lot of smoked ham.

My Artful Heart said...

Hummm....Canadian Bacon....fried up and with cheese...yummy! My dad would always make that when I visited home.

Sorry that I am a bit late getting to you. Have a great pink week :)

Beverly said...

Happy Pink Saturday, Glennis.

Girl, I love this pink post. I'll choose the proscuitto, capicollo or maybe proscuittini.

But, my husband like Hebrew National bologna sandwiches.

KATHERINELLEN said...

Happy Pinks.....It's look delish.....Had one for lunch today.....Happy Pink saturday...Katherinllen

~Leslie said...

We were raised on bologna! I like mine fried! Happy Pink Saturday!

~Leslie said...

We were raised on bologna! I like mine fried! Happy Pink Saturday!

Katie said...

Ohoooooo you made me hungry too! Happy belated Pink Saturday!