12 friends/family and 2 states – plus lots of stories to tell.  Lots.

hardees

One hour into my trip, I knew things were going to be interesting as I pulled up to a Hardees early on a Saturday morn.  Now Hardees is not my usual restaurant of choice, but I was a little hungry, I had a long way to drive, and it was the only place at or about the Alabama State Line that looked non-scary.  I pulled up in line behind the pick-em-up trucks and waited my turn at the speaker phone/food billboard.  Once the 6 wheeler hauling an ATV and a blue tick hound in the back pulled away, I idled up and fell deeply into a state of confusion. Where was I?  What had happened to the world?

Confronted by a very large and colorful picture of a biscuit and a neon announcement that Hardees was now proud to offer up a Fried Bologna and Egg Breakfast biscuit, my brain cells began to beat the hell out of each other looking for the sense in that.  Finally, one lone brain cell triumphed (just before I began to babble and drool) and advised me it must be a joke. A Labor Day Joke, or something?

I felt better, but it was a brief better.

“Good morning and welcome to Hardees!  Would you like to try our new Fried Bologna and Egg Breakfast Biscuit Combo?”

product.8It’s real, folks.  It’s real.

That’s when I knew the world was coming to an end. Do you know what’s in Bologna? A quick Google search will find numerous posts from what has to be the “Pro-Bologna Council of America”, listing it as a “sausage made from various cuts of beef and pork”, doused with a huge dose of sodium nitrate, for preservation purposes.

A more thorough search will find the words “lesser cuts of meat”, but will also assure you that bologna makers are always in compliance with the FDA (the same folks that have brought you e-coli and botulism in recent years – gee thanks guys).

The government has been known to provide bologna to welfare-recipients in the past to keep them from starving to death. It was also a popular staple during the Great Depression.  Are you getting my gist?

A kind “Answerer” from YahooAnswers.com provided the following, in response to a question just  like the one I was Googling:

Frankfurters (a.k.a., hot dogs, wieners, or bologna) are cooked and/or smoked sausages according to the Federal standards of identity. Made from one or more kinds of raw skeletal muscle from livestock (like beef or pork), and may contain poultry meat. Smoking and curing ingredients contribute to flavor, color, and preservation of the product. The finished products may not contain more than 30% fat or no more than 10% water, or a combination of 40% fat and added water. Up to 3.5% non-meat binders and extenders (such as nonfat dry milk, cereal, or dried whole milk) or 2% isolated soy protein may be used,”Frankfurter, Hot Dog, Wiener, or Bologna With Byproducts” or “With Variety Meats” are made according to the specifications for cooked and/or smoked sausages except they consist of not less than 15% of one or more kinds of raw skeletal muscle meat with raw meat byproducts. The byproducts (heart, kidney, or liver, for example) must be named with the derived species and be individually named in the ingredients. Beef Franks or Pork Franks are cooked and/or smoked sausage products made according to the specifications above, but with meat from a single species and do not include byproducts.Turkey Franks or Chicken Franks can contain turkey or chicken and turkey or chicken skin and fat in proportion to a turkey or chicken carcass. Studies have shown a high level of the harmful bacteria Listeria in hot dogs. Thus, for added precaution, persons at risk may choose to avoid eating hot dogs and luncheon meats, such as bologna, unless they are reheated until steamy hot.

(Notice I didn’t bold anything in there?  I’m trying to be sensitive.)

Who knows if he/she is telling the truth – but I suspect there’s some truth in there somewhere.

pan bologna

Dietsinreview.com have some very reliable statistics about the new, um, bologna taste treat here.

The fine folks from the Sun-Sentinel.com are apparently having the same problem I am. Read here.

Now according to that article, Hardees introduced this welfare-delicacy under pressure from Southern franchisees.  As a Southerner, I am concerned.  But I do appreciate the Sun Sentinel’s sensitivity, seeing as how Hardees probably is a valued advertiser, and it is a fine Southern paper.  But I think the first sentence sums it up nicely.

If you really want to dig a little deeper, Answers.com provides a detailed explanation here.

I know.   There are going to be a few of you who swoon profusely about the enchanting qualities of a good bologna sandwich (or breakfast biscuit, for that matter).  My dear, educated and worldly friend Kelly explained the intricacies of something called a “Bologna Cup”, filled with scrambled eggs, which she once witnessed as a child.  She was innocently fascinated that something so flat and pink could be turned into a cup for eggs with the simple application of heat and a griddle.  Her mother, nearby, wisely kept her from experiencing the creation’s mysteries by snatching her up and exiting the household.  Kelly’s Mama was always a smart woman.  She has the coolest name, too – Priscilla.

So I’m going to end my rant on Bologna and Hardees with a fair and honest note.  As a small child, visiting a friend’s house, I ate a bologna sandwich.  Once.  Only.  Once.  White bread with mayonnaise, if you must know.

Celebrating food diversity, and the highly-valued ability to research FDA-approved offerings, for those who want to know.  Eater Beware. (that I will bold)

Oh, and think real hard about the origins of the off-voiced derisive “Baloney!”.  There’s a reason.

Please remember to Celebrate Something Everyday!

Something cute, from the no-bologna-zone – to help get your mind off things…

Animal Crackers

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