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My memories of childhood are smells of baking bread. And sawdust. My mom made all of our bread from scratch: 8 loaves every week. Sometimes 16. My dad is a carpenter. The two smells were often intermingled; Dad coming in from the shop with sawdust clinging to him, to snack on some fresh-made buns cooling on the counter, slathered in butter (not margarine).
I remember begging Mom for “store-bought” bread, thinking it was some treat she was withholding. Then summer camp, where I was “treated” to gummy wonderbread for an entire week. It stuck to the roof of my mouth. Ugh. When I got home from camp, Mom had just finished baking a batch of bread. I sat at the table and ate slice after slice, slathered in butter, with some of her home-made strawberry jam. A powerful memory, of coming home to comfort.
Since leaving home, I have baked bread in every one the apartments, basement suites, condos and houses I have lived in (and there have been many; just ask Jim how many times he’s helped me move). There’s something about baking bread in a place that makes it home. It’s my version of burning sweetgrass, I suppose.
For bread day, I baked a whole-wheat multigrain bread. The trouble is, I did it a few days ago, before I headed to Mexico, where I am now. I emailed the pictures to myself, but not the recipe. I hope you’ll forgive me – I promise to post the recipe when I get home.
Ack! I am late! I apologise. I meant to write this up last night and then, after a long day of conferencing and travelling I succombed to the charms of a snuggly, sleep-sweaty little person who was really happy to see me and, after cuddling him back to sleep, passed out myself.
Bologna. Baloney. Bologna, Italy is a city famed for its University (the oldest one in the Western world if Wiki is to be believed) and the pasta sauce after which it is named (that would be Bolognese for those not in the know). None of this has any relation whatsoever to the American Bologna Sausage. Okay, maybe a little, or a lot – read on fair friends.
Although most of us are familiar with it in the form made by Oscar Meyer, there is maybe more to this sausage than meets the eye. People who like to make it sound more high-brow, liken it to the Italian Mortadella (a variation on head cheese really – and I’ve never been fond) and, in truth, they are definitely, distantly, related. However, the American Bologna sausage is just so much more, well, how do I say this … trashy. In a fabulous kind of a way.
When I was a little person, I lived in a community populated by true hippies (my parents’ friends) and pseudo-hippies (my parents – though, really, I am not convinced that they weren’t actual hippies – this is another discussion about which we have had frequent passionate debates and they will deny their true hippy natures to the bitter end … ). But I digress – none of this has anything much to do with bologna, except for the fact that I was NOT allowed to eat it as a child. When we moved from the country (ahem … land of hippie commune), to the “Big City” (Nelson, B.C. a tiny village in the Kootenays), all the kids in my school seemed to have bologna sandwiches packed in their lunches. Bologna sandwiches that I wasn’t allowed to have. Bologna sandwiches with fakes cheese slices, white (wonder)bread and yellow mustard. Oh my. My lack of bologna sandwich in my lunch bag was just another factor in the long list of things that marked me as “different” from my classmates and made it hard for me to fit in. I craved those sandwiches. I begged for those sandwiches. I just knew that if I could have a bologna sandwich, my entire social world would be vastly improved.
Suffice to say, from my jaded perspective, this was grand high cuisine and I was being denied! In fact, I did not eat a bologna sandwich until I was a teenager. At which point, I decided it was possibly a better treat than McDonald’s. This is Very High Praise coming from a 14 year old.
I would be lying if I said that a part of me doesn’t still consider a bologna sandwich Comfort Food along the same lines as Kraft Dinner, or Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Tomato Soup. But I won’t eat it – not even for this blog. At least not today. Didn’t have time to go the grocery store, if I’m being honest.
I will leave you with this, which was my most favorite quote that I could find about Bologna Sausage:
“Bologna sausages labour under the calumnious imputation of being made of asses’ flesh”. Follow this link to the Old Foodie for more brilliant prose on the topic.
On National Good and Plenty Day – those are the little licorice candies that look a bit like extra long tic tacs. I hate them. Won’t eat ’em. Can’t make me. Some people love ’em. Here’s a picture and words to the theme song.
Ah … the fluffernutter. What, you ask, is a fluffernutter? That’s what I was asking when I discovered that I would be responsible for this post. I did a little digging, a little research, a little sleuthing, if you will, and discovered that a fluffernutter is a sandwich. A sandwich made with white bread, peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff®. Yuck!
Well, that was my first reaction.
That was my second reaction.
Truth be told, I was kind of dreading this day. But I am a dutiful soldier, so I added the necessary ingredients to the shopping list and conducted a little research.
It turns out that there is just too much to say about the fluffernutter for the tiny little space allowed me here. A search on Google came up with 78,000 hits in 0.25 seconds! There has long been a lobby to make the fluffernutter the state sandwich of Massachussetts and a corresponding lobby to ban it from the State schools. Fluffernutters, apparently, provoke strong reactions in people. It may even have provoked a war! I stumbled across a video of the fluffernutter song. And the history of the FN is kinda interesting.
Marshmallow Fluff® is the original stuff, hence the “fluff” in the “fluffer, but all we could get was the Kraft version which is called JetPuffed (does that make it a puffernutter?). It doesn’t really matter what kind of peanut butter you use to be the “nutter”. I tried Kraft Light and Kraft Unsalted Unsweetened (for the ‘healthy’ version). Then I spread liberal amounts of each on slices of wonderbread (the white stuff – who buys whole wheat wonderbread – what’s even the point?).
Did I mention that I was a doubter?
Oh. My. God.
Ooey, gooey, disgusting, can’t-stop-eating-it-now-I-get-why-some-people-want-to-canonize-it!!!
But it doesn’t work out well as finger sandwiches.