Godbey: The best bologna sandwich I ever had
Published 2:38 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2023
By Jack Godbey
To say that I’ve had a lifelong love affair with bologna is an understatement. I remember as a child, it was my go-to snack. I would come home from school and go straight to the fridge and grab a slice. Add a squirt of mustard and put on an episode of Gilligan’s Island and I created my own version of paradise. The beloved bologna sandwich is a staple in the South. Don’t even think of calling yourself country unless you can eat it by the pound.
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Bologna is versatile, as well. If you want a quick snack, just slap it between two slices of bread and keep going. However, fry it up in a skillet and add some mayonnaise and a tomato and you’ve got yourself a meal. One thing I always appreciated about bologna is that it was cheap. I can remember when my bologna had a first name. It was B-R-O-K-E. In fact, back in the day, I could go to the store with five bucks and come home with a gallon of milk, a pound of bologna and a 12-pack of soda. I can’t do that anymore. Mainly because the grocery store installed security cameras, but still.
I’ve often wondered what the difference is between bologna and hot dogs. After all, isn’t bologna just hot dog pancakes? Aren’t they exactly the same meat? So, don’t freak out if you see me putting mayonnaise on my hot dog or relish on my bologna.
What’s interesting is bologna can be both a meat and an insult. Someone will think I’m lying and ask, “Are you full of bologna?” As a matter of fact, I am. I don’t even mind disguised bologna. You know when they take bologna and press olives in it and call it olive loaf or mix cheese in it and pass it off as “ham” and cheese. Come on, we all know it’s not ham. My doctor told me that I needed to stop eating so much bologna, and I told him that I’d try. However, we both know that’s “bologna.”
I like bologna just about any way I can get it. You can fry it, pickle it, or eat it right out of the package. However, I made the mistake once of eating German bologna. Trust me when I say the Germans have a totally different outtake on what bologna should taste like.
Of the hundreds of bologna sandwiches that I’ve eaten in my life, there is one that stands out as the best. I was 17 years old, and my father woke me up one Saturday morning and asked me to go with him as he had a job building a deck for a lady. After I wiped my eyes, I hopped in the truck and off we went. When lunch time came, my dad took me to a little country store for a bologna sandwich. The store was in Stanford, where I grew up. To this day, I have no idea what the name of the store was. We always referred to simply as “Miss Young’s store.” The store looked exactly like you would expect to find in the country. It appeared to be one room with a worn wood floor with men sitting around playing checkers and discussing the weather. My father walked up to the counter and ordered two bologna sandwiches with onions. The little old lady behind the counter pulled out a roll of bologna and picked up her butcher knife and cut off two slices that were at least two inches thick and wrapped them in wax paper. When I bit into that sandwich, I can honestly say, I’ve never tasted anything so delicious in all my life. I’ve spent the last 38 years trying to replicate that experience.