My Bologna’s First Name Isn’t Oscar

Yesterday I made myself a bologna sandwich for lunch. Ordinarily this would be no big deal, but I felt weird about the whole thing thanks to Jess Witkins’ confessional about her own bologna sandwich experience last February. Maybe it wasn’t the bologna so much as the fact that she paired it with a glass of Chardonnay, but for some reason she got a lot of flak over that post, so much that she now considers that tiny indiscretion one of her most embarrassing moments of 2011.

Personally, I don’t see what all the fuss was about. Bologna’s good, right? And a decent Chardonnay is plenty tasty. Why not enjoy them together? It’s like a Happy Meal for grownups!

Who cares what's in it - it tastes good! (Courtesy of

And yet, there I was, feeling weird about my own sandwich. Like the reputation of bologna had somehow been sullied. Granted, it’s never been held in very high esteem in the first place. It probably ranks just above hot dogs but slightly below Spam on some fictitious list of Questionable Food Products To Avoid. But you know what? I happen to be quite fond of both hot dogs and Spam, so an occasional bologna sandwich is really no big deal. It doesn’t help that my girlfriend wrinkled her nose when I brought up the topic of bologna during my Christmas/New Year visit. How and why we ever got into a discussion over processed lunchmeat escapes me, but knowing she’s no fan of bologna was also detrimental to my enjoyment of the whole sandwich experience. In retrospect, I was doomed from the start.

It should be noted that I’m very particular when it comes to bologna. Not just any old kind will do. My bologna does not have the first name Oscar; in fact, it is flavored with garlic, sliced paper thin, and imported from Trenton, New Jersey.

I kid you not.

There’s this company called Loeffler’s Gourmet that is based in Trenton, the city both my parents call home. Any time we’d visit, we’d return with a couple of pounds of their bologna, which is unlike any other. I would venture to guess that even people who claim not to enjoy bologna would love Loeffler’s bologna. I haven’t been back east in nearly fifteen years, but my folks still return a couple of times a year, and the tradition of Bringing Back Bologna continues to this day. So yeah, I had some in my freezer. And once I took a bite of that sandwich – on a Kaiser roll, with a slice of American cheese (don’t even get me started on that), and mustard and tomato and pickle – all my initial consternation faded away and I was left with a mouthful of pure processed bliss. And to all the naysayers out there, I may not know which part of the animal my bologna came from – or even which animal, for that matter – but I also don’t care. When something tastes THAT good, it’s hard to give a damn whether a tongue or cheek was involved. Much like Spam, it’s almost a religious experience.

I apologize if this post made you drool.

Yes Or Snow?

For days now, we Portlanders have been teased with the prospect of snow.

Keep in mind, it’s a pretty rare event here. The fact that it’s a novelty excites many of us, and also causes widespread panic and chaos the moment the flakes start falling. Those east coasters who are so skilled in bologna production no doubt chuckle over our reaction to even the threat of a little snow. Snow lover that I am, my eyes have been glued to the sky ever since Saturday night, hoping for a little bit of the fluffy white stuff. And while we’ve had snow showers for three consecutive days now, the temperature has hovered at a maddening 36 or 37 degrees the whole time, making it too warm for anything to stick. I posted on Facebook this morning that the snow reminded me of the Republican presidential field of candidates – just a bunch of big flakes not adding up to anything. And all white, too.

I can be quite the comedian when I try.

Audrey, kicking the soccer ball around in the snow yesterday.

The ironic thing is, I’ve seen more snow in Vancouver, Washington in one hour than I ever saw in Ely. Before my trip to visit Tara, I was excited over the prospect of lots and lots of snow. After all, normally by New Year’s Eve they’re measuring their snowfall in feet instead of inches. When my trip was still a couple of months away I was assured by more than one person that I’d be sick of snow by the time I left. I fretted over a lack of warm-enough winter clothing and even contemplated purchasing long johns in advance. Instead, I was treated to constant sunshine and 50 degrees. Suuurrre it was 20 below zero with 24″ of snow on the ground last December 31, honey.

So, yeah. Hoping to make up for that around here, but even twelve hours before this big storm is supposed to hit we don’t know what’s going to happen in Portland. According to the various local meteorologists we will see either:

  1. Nothing but rain.
  2. A little bit of snow turning to rain by daybreak.
  3. A lot of snow piling up all morning.

Way to nail down the forecast, guys! It’s all dependent on where this low pressure system makes landfall. Just a few miles north or south will make all the difference. The kids are already counting on a snow day tomorrow. Of course, they had the same hope for today, but woke up bitterly disappointed.

If it happens, great. If not, it’s hardly the end of the world. Besides, any snow we do get had better be all gone by Thursday evening, as Tara is flying in for another visit.

Thank god. These fourteen-days-apart-and-counting have been torture.

Again, I kid you not.

Peace out for now – and, think snow!!


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

21 thoughts on “My Bologna’s First Name Isn’t Oscar

  1. We have been light on the snow (knock wood) so far this year back East too. A few flurries here and there, and a bit of icing on the road (I fishtailed for the first time this morning on the way to work! It’s officially winter!). But overall it’s been a ridiculously mild winter so far (NOT a complaint by any means; you’re welcome to our snow if you want it).

    Well, wait. It HAS been a ridiculously mild winter… we had a ridiculous unseasonable snowstorm in the Fall. So maybe it’s mostly a wash.

    Still, you can have our snow if you want it. Please. More for you, less for us.


    1. I guess you’re making up for last year, when you guys got hammered. Right? Or was that just the east coast? In any case, I remember being jealous all winter long while we ended up with nada.


      1. Yep, you’re right. LAST YEAR we had a major snowstorm pretty much every 2-3 days from Christmas almost through to Valentine’s Day.

        Never be jealous when you don’t get THAT. Be *relieved*.


  2. And it is with both jubilation and trepidation (depending on who you talk to) that we STILL haven’t received any snow. In fact, the forecast is calling for rain, which is unheard of in January.

    After our conversation at lunch, I’ve decided to zip my lips about the snow obsession up there. Instead I will look at you lovingly, pat you on the head, give you a kiss on the cheek, and then roll my eyes as I walk away. 😉

    See you the day after tomorrow!


    1. Now THAT made me laugh out loud. For real.
      It’s bad enough that you’re not a bologna fan. But not a snow fan, either? That’s just unthinkable! Just give it a few years. After experiencing a few gray and wet but snow-free winters, you’ll be longing for the fluffy white stuff just as much as I do. Mark my words! 🙂


  3. I now want a blogna sandwich. I for one am a fan of it…I also love the show Bizzare Foods and have a very long list of very odd things I would like to try the world over. We got snow here last night, not much but enough I got to try out the 4 wheel drive in our new truck 😀 Here is hope to Mother Nature giving you plentiful snow…but not enough to affect Tara’s flight there 🙂 Hope you two have a wonderful visit and I will say I’m a bit envious as I am missing my guy like it’s nobody’s business!


    1. Andrew Zimmern is straight-up crazy!! I’ve seen some of the stuff he eats, and let’s just say a bologna sandwich would probably taste like steak and lobster compared to what he normally eats.

      Hope you get to see your guy soon!


    1. No, no, no…I never teased you! At least not on that post. I certainly don’t remember giving you a hard time about it. Then again, after you cracked your head open at the circus, the rest is all sort of a blur…

      And everybody knows salami pairs best with a nice riesling.


    1. But how do you feel about Spam?!

      I know you have snow. I’ve seen your FB posts and your pics. I’m just too jealous to even comment anymore! Which is why I’m thinking “road trip!!!” 😉


  4. I turn my nose up at the notion of bologna–and especially Spam! But it does not surprise me that you are particular about the kind of bologna you eat. I guess if you’re gonna eat the stuff, you sure as hell better be picky!


  5. Mark, I love a good bologna sandwich!

    And I hear ya about it being sliced paper thin because that’s how I like it – it’s gotta be thin. To me, when it’s sliced thick, I can’t seem to taste it as much. But then again, I like all my lunch meat sliced thin in a sandwich.

    And I had no idea about the company you mentioned in Trenton. I will head over to their website when I finish here and check it out.

    After reading this post, I’m all hungry for a bologna sandwich!

    I honestly think you and I are probably the only two adults on this planet who anticipates the coming of snow with as much excitement as we feel. However, like Portland, we’re getting pretty much the same VAGUE forecast. Apparently, if we do get it, I think they said something about this coming Saturday. The weather this winter has been FREAKY. Yesterday it was FREEZING, yet today it was in the high 60’s and so freakin’ humid I wanted to put on a thong and a tube top.

    Oy vey….I think I need a bologna sandwich!


    Here’s wishing you a HUGE snowfall this week, buddy!


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