My buddy Brad, in between bouts of complaining about the government, comes up with some excellent ideas and shares some great information (actually, he still manages to do that while complaining about the government, too). He was part of the brain-trust that came up with the Men's Moving Mission, a group of guys from church that help people in difficult places move, including a lot of women who are in domestic violence situations. It was Brad who first invited me to go to Belarus (which, incidentally, was the catalyst for starting this blog).
So, when we were talking about favorite foods one day, and he mentioned a Fried Bologna Sammich (FBS) I knew I was in for something special. I'd never had one, having grown up in my mother's house, a land of baking from scratch and whole-food ingredients long before it was the fashionable thing to do. I remember we used to go down to the local farm early in the morning so Mom could get the freshest eggs, which were brown as eggs should be. It wasn't until I started eating at the homes of friends that I learned there were white eggs. Mom's house was most definitely NOT a home that included the standard white-trash comfort foods of Middle America, though I suspect this was as much out of ignorance (Mom was born in Dublin) as choice. Hot dogs, rarely served, anyway, came with ketchup and without baked beans, mac-n-cheese was never served in my house, and even soup was just as often made from scratch as from the ubiquitous red, white and gold can of Warhol's suburbia.
I determined that I had to try a fried bologna sandwich and committed to doing it properly. I made slits through the center of three slices of bologna in an "X" pattern. I dropped them into a non-stick pan a cooked them until crispy, then plopped them on wheat bread (I know, if it was a real FBS it would have been white, but I can still, at 43, hear Mom's disapproval and I don't doubt for a second she would have called me the second I took a bite and asked just "what do you think you're DOING?"). I put on a slice of American cheese (I now prefer Colby-Jack), lettuce and tomato, and settled in to eat my creation with a mixture of fear and anxious anticipation.
"Oh. My. Gawd! FBS, where have you been all of my life?" It was fantastic. Amazing. The slight crunch of the crispy bologna was reminiscent of the current culture vogue item, bacon. The contrast of cold lettuce and hot bologna, sweet tomato and salty bologna were like the magic of Siegfried and Roy: good on their own merits, but infinitesimally better together.
Now I am off and running into the exploration phase of FBS. With so many options out there, there's simply so much to explore, and I have 40+ years of catching up to do. Want to make a FBS and don't know a Brad or similar Bologna-Zen-Master who can guide you? I also found this simple video helpful:
Bon apetit...fer real!