Bologna: a childhood staple for many Americans and a source of tasty terror for countless others. Regardless of which camp you fall into, America celebrates National Bologna Day each year on October 24. In honor of this carnivorous celebration, The StickerTalk is serving up some bologna trivia that proves this mystery meat may be worth celebrating after all!
Bologna used to be a delicacy consumed only by the wealthy. Long before bologna was sold at a bargain price in your local supermarket, it was considerably more decadent and much more expensive. Originally called mortadella, this Italian treat was very similar to bologna in that its main ingredient was finely ground pork. However, mortadella also contained pistachios, olives, lard, and a rich array of spices, making it a much more flavorful dish. Also, since the production of mortadella required so many spices, it was often too pricey for common folks to enjoy.
Nobody really knows why we pronounce “bologna” as “baloney.” Most people know that bologna is named for the city of Bologna, Italy. However, very few understand why Americans pronounce the name of the meat as “baloney.” A handful of theories have surfaced in an attempt to explain this anomaly. One idea claims that it was boxing commentators in the 1920s who first began to mispronounce the name of this deli delight. These sports newscasters were in need of a funny-sounding word to describe inept boxers, so they modified the pronunciation of the more stately “bologna” to fit the ticket. Another theory states that Americans simply mispronounced the name of the Italian city, and it quickly became the accepted pronunciation.
Bologna has been a source of controversy in American prisons. Many jails feed their inmates bologna sandwiches in order to balance their budget, but this bologna-based diet is not without its challenges. One sheriff in Alabama was arrested for forcing the inmates in his custody to only eat a small bologna sandwich with a side of grits while keeping the remainder of the jail’s food budget for himself. Another jail in Minnesota keeps their prisoners on a consistent diet of two bologna sandwiches along with a small helping of fruit each and every day, making no exceptions for holidays.
Want to celebrate National Bologna Day? There are many more ways to enjoy this meaty treat than in a sandwich! Many trendy restaurants specialize in transforming bologna from a common and cost-effective sandwich stuffing to a gourmet delight, but if you would rather create your own bologna-based masterpiece, try searching the internet for some recipes. Some of the inspirational ideas you might find may include bologna salad, bologna casserole, and even bologna cake!