Recently, on one of our 'outings', we decided to get 'lunch' at Walmart. That meant picking up Lunchables or other 'finger type foods' to eat in the car rather than stopping at McDonald's for McNuggets and fries. (When you have 2 with Celiac disease, such a stop is no longer practical.) Lunchable options are also limited for the celiac bunch which led us to look at lunch meat options everyone could share.
Bethany of course chose bologna. Elijah chose turkey. We also grabbed string cheese and some crackers - regular and gluten free varieties. I let the littles pick out the mini-lunchables that only cost a dollar. Charity and Trinity chose pizza pitas and Selah chose nachos and cheese (one of the few gluten free options). Bethany and Elijah both opted out on the Lunchable front.
Out we went to the car. At this point, Selah was NOT filled up after eating her tiny serving of chips so she asked if she could 'try' the round meat. AKA: Bologna. Bethany abliged and passed her a piece of the round sandwich meat. Charity followed suit and tried the 'strange new food' as well.
Upon finishing their first pieces, they asked for another. And another. And another. I was sitting in the front smiling at how many pieces they ended up eating.
The next day they finished off the package for a snack mid-morning. (This is a bonus as it's a no-carb, free snack for the T1D's in the house.)
Selah then asked me to 'buy more round meat' next time I was at the store. I happily complied and did so.
Fast forward to today. It was time for lunch. I wasn't really in the mood to be very creative. I was hungry but didn't know for what. As I meandered into the kitchen, I saw the 'snack items' the kids had left on the counter. (Eye roll at the fact it was left on the counter, but.... I digress, that's not the point of this post.)
It sat there staring at me and the memories flooded in.
I knew what I'd make. I had made it in the past - but not for a long time. Not even sure the littles have experienced this little gem of a treat.
I recall quite vividly my own mom making fried bologna sandwiches. It wasn't a frequent meal, but every once in awhile, she'd break out the frying pan; get the bologna out; plop several pieces in the pan; slice an X down the middle of each piece; turn up the heat; and sizzle away. After a short while, she'd flip each piece till the other side was nice and brown. While that was taking place, she'd slather up several pieces of bread with mayonnaise to make our 'fried bologna sandwiches'. Usually a slice of cheese was added as soon as the bologna hit the bread so the heat from the fresh 'fried' meat could melt it - just a little bit. I called to mind making a fried bologna sandwich for the first time in my first apartment in college. Even then, the act of making them brought back those fond childhood memories of mom standing at the stove, frying up this simple, but comforting meal for us kids.
It was always fun to watch as the bologna would 'bubble up' in the middle as it heated up. Hence the X in the middle to prevent it from bubbling too far and not cooking evenly.
I did the same. I pulled down one of my large frying pans and plopped several perfect, round pieces of bologna inside. I cut slices down the middle of each - forming an X - and began frying it up; wondering how my own children would respond to this unique meal.
I decided not to make sandwiches which lowered the overall carb count of the dish, but instead sprinkled shredded cheese atop each piece, offered the mayo on the side, and gave each kiddo a handful of crackers (saltines for some and gluten free bagel chips for those who couldn't have the saltines).
It's funny how something so simple as a container of bologna could bring back such memories and cause one to try out an old tradition on a new generation.
I can't say they 'loved' fried bologna quite as much as I remembered loving it as a child. But... I was able to share a memory snippet of my mom with them. A bit of my childhood that brought a smile to my face.
Next time I'll make sandwiches and see if it goes over any better. :-)