How a fried bologna sandwich made me cry

Here’s to those of you who grew up on eating fried bologna sandwiches.

Whether you know it or not, you are blessed with an amazing ability because of it.


Photo courtesy of Flicker and Joel Kramer

Growing up, Papaw Foy (married to my granny), would occasionally have to re-stock his bologna supply.  Apparently he loved fried bologna sandwiches or something.

When he would go to the meat store… or wherever you buy giant logs of pressed together entrails, he would sometimes bring us one also.

I don’t know how often he actually did this, but it is something that I attach to my childhood.

I can’t say that I always loved eating that bologna.  It seemed like a never ending slab of leftovers that we were forced to eat at least one meal a day.

In reality, I am sure that our bigger family blew right through the stash of meat.  With the 6 in our family, plus cousins and neighbor kids all summer long… those meat logs never really stood a chance.

I do have to hand it to my mom.  She can get creative and make a meal with whatever ingredients that she has on hand.

Even more impressive was her ability of calling a dish by a food name that we would all recognize but never actually have tried, so no one could really argue with her.

I once had “personal pizzas” consisting of bread baked with ketchup and cheese on top.  AND years later I also learned that everyone else in the world has been making their Chicken Cordon Bleu wrong.

When it comes to bologna, this creativity can go a long way.

You may be asking, “what could you possibly change about how you prepare bologna other than how thick or thin you cut it?”

Well, you clearly are someone who grew up on boars head lunch meat or better yet a vegetarian so maybe you should just stop reading and go eat some tofu…

For the rest of you, I’ll continue to tell you about your hidden ability.

When one tires of cold bologna, they can perform this simply trick… Fry it.

It changes the molecules or something (it’s science) and turns it into something totally different and better.

Perfect for a sandwich topped with melted velveeta cheese and lathered heavily with miracle whip salad dressing.  None of that gross mayo shit.

This meal ranks only 2nd to fried bologna gravy and biscuits.  Mmmmm.

Now for this special ability that you may share with me.

Every time that I have a fried bologna sandwich, even 20 years later… I feel connected to home.

I find myself thinking about my childhood and remembering all of the good things.  The things I took for granted and the things that I miss.

I think about those who are no longer with us, and how relationships change over time.

It’s easy to have blinders on as we go trough life, and only look forward.

We can’t let our pasts hold us back but it doesn’t hurt to remember where you have been.

Bologna is just one of many things that make me stop from time to time and appreciate where I come from.  (I never thought I would say those words)

I have been focusing a lot on personal development and better understanding myself.  All of this focus inward may be the only reason that I recognized this sentimental moment the other day while working from home.

It all started when at the grocery store I snuck a pack of bologna into the cart when my fiancé wasn’t looking.

Then when I went to make myself a sandwich at lunch, I decided to fry the bologna… you know… just to switch it up.

That’s all it took.  I spent the rest of the day thinking about home and embracing where I came from.

Bologna Sandwich

The actual bologna sandwich that got to me

I believe that we all have the ability to find something that can bring us back to home.  I don’t care what age you are, we all have these moments where memories come out of no where and feel like yesterday.

Not everything about our pasts are good things to remember, but that’s all the more reason to seek the good memories through the things that bring us back.

I want to leave you with a challenge.  Open yourself up to recognize something that brings you back to home.

It may not be bologna sandwiches for everyone… Although to be safe, any future kids of mine will be eating lots of fried bologna!

It may be a certain food, time of year, or an event.  Don’t let life make these things less than extraordinary for you.  Treat yourself to the memories, and embrace where you come from.

Your past didn’t happen TO YOU.  Your past just happened, but it did make you into who you are.

What makes you think about your childhood, and that special place that you call home?

  • Sherry Lucille Fletcher

    I embrace memories of my late mother Sheryl Lee bates-rutherford by cooking all the things she’s taught me to cook over the years and it brings back beautiful thoughts and makes me cry an wish she was still alive. I know she’s always with me I often feel her presence when I’m feeling sad or not feeling well. She will always be there when I need her! Yeah

    • Sherry, that is so true. She is there watching over you and still with
      you in everything that you do. What was your favorite dish that you
      would cook together?

  • Keisha Lynn Bowling

    Daniel, you have no idea how much this has touched me. The things we take for granted, the seemingly small unimportant moments often wind up being our most precious memories. I have read this and reread this and have been thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it. I laid awake last night, unable to sleep because of this… I don’t know why it touched me so deeply but I even had to get out of bed last night because I was crying…sobbing even…. I am so glad our childhood played out like it did. <3

    • Sometimes we all need a reminder. Our childhood wasn’t so bad after all… And it seems everyone realizes this way after the fact. Sorry for making you cry.

  • Rhonda Sue Barger

    Amazing blog Daniel!! I’m glad my Mom made me eat the same sandwiches growing up and I loved them! Along with salmon patties – which are really gross now that I’m an adult and try to make them myself!

    I hope to read a lot more from you in the future and maybe we’ll publish a novel together 1 day. After reading your blog, I have to say both of our writing skills must come from the Barger bloodline! Keep it up, you’re very talented!!