This October 24, make sure to bring your brown bag lunches to work because it’s National Bologna Day! Everyone’s favorite processed luncheon meat has its own day. Bologna is named after the Italian city of the same name, but down there they call it mortadella, which is a sausage with bits of lard and peppercorns in it. American Bologna, as you may have noticed, is distinctly different, but no less loved the world over.
History of National Bologna Day
While the history of National Bologna Day may be short, the history of bologna is long and lasting. For example, in 1661, mortadella (bologna’s European cousin) was so protected, the papacy decided to create a clear definition to distinguish it from other, lesser versions of finely ground pork with chunks of fat.
Bologna, as known in America, is mortadella without the fat chunks. It’s sold at baseball stadiums, lunch counters, delis, inside tin cans, and in the glass cases of butchers. It can be fried and thrown on toasted bread with pickles, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce. It can be served cold with thick slices of cheddar and white bread. It can be chopped up and mixed with crumbled, hard boiled eggs, mayo, and veggies for a bologna salad.
Regardless of how you enjoy it, bologna came to America (most likely) with the large German immigration at the turn of the twentieth century, establishing it as a de facto cuisine in the areas they settled in – midwest, Appalachia, Pennsylvania, and parts of the south.
From there, it quickly took firm footing as one of the most popular American foods.