Take me back to bologna and ketchup

Every once in a while, it’s good to go back to your childhood and remember what it was like.

For me, that’s bologna and ketchup.

Perhaps that doesn’t sound too appealing, but bologna played a big part of my childhood. It’s cheap. It’s meat. (Does it ever go bad?) It’s the most unoffensive meat available, but for high-class eaters can be looked down upon as if it’s the deli version of Spam. Just about.

I was at my daughter’s house, and they had some bologna in the fridge. I haven’t eaten it in years, and so I committed myself to trying my childhood sandwich once before I left.

So I got two slices of white bread. (You can’t eat bologna on sophisticated bread. You need your standard, never-molding, soft as cotton, white as snow bread. The kind that makes you wonder how they ever made it in the first place.) I put ketchup on both sides of the bread, added two slices of bologna, put it together, and bit in.

It was everything that a bologna sandwich was meant to be. A money-saving, average-tasting, soft and easily digestible sandwich which would get me through the lunch room and back home without a hungry stomach. It worked.

It became an exercise in remembering how life used to work. In my day, I always brought my lunch to school. The bologna sandwich was the standard, but it would vary at times between the Velveeta sandwich (white bread and Velveeta) and peanut butter and jelly. Lunches were simple. Cheap. Efficient. Nothing fancy. That was out of necessity as we didn’t have a lot of money growing up. But I was also such a picky eater that I probably wouldn’t have wanted anything other than bologna.

It’s good to remember where we all came from – the sacrifices made – the pennies pinched – the love and care given to such a simple sandwich.

My kids have had it better than bologna sandwiches (on a variety and taste level), but can anyone ever beat a bologna sandwich for sentimentality?

I’m thinking not.

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