JEFF TIEDEMAN: Bologna or sausage?Call it what you like, this meat is one of the most versatile around.
Do you know what the difference is between sausage and bologna?
I’d never thought about it until a couple of years ago, when three of us from the Herald were invited to help judge the Harvey Avenue Saloon’s Annual Bologna Cook-Off in Minto, N.D.
I came away from the fun-filled event quite content (trying dozens of samples will do that to a person) but a little confused about what distinguishes one from the other.
I would have called what we were eating sausage, since it’s similar to what some of us make each winter (we’re doing ours this Sunday) with the elk and venison that we’ve harvested in the fall. But the locals who entered the contest insist what they make is bologna.
Actually, we both are right. According to Wikipedia and other online dictionaries and encyclopedias, “bologna sausage is an American sausage derived from and somewhat similar to the Italian mortadella (a finely hashed/ground pork sausage containing cubes of lard that originated in the Italian city of Bologna).” Wiki goes on to say, “it is commonly called baloney/boloney or more formally, bologna. … U.S. government regulations require American bologna to be finely ground and without visible pieces of lard. Bologna can alternatively be made out of chicken, turkey, beef, pork, or venison.”
I’ll get a chance to share this info and debate the topic Friday with the good folks of Minto and the surrounding area at “A Quarter Century of Bologna: The 25th Annual Bologna Cook-Off” in the Walsh County town’s community center.
The contest — a fundraiser for local charities — is being held in the center instead of the bar because it’s the event’s silver anniversary. The cook-off averages 92 entries, but organizer Chris Misialek thinks there are going to be more than 100 for this edition. (Last year’s contest was won by Delinda Long of Minto. The Oslo Hog Farm holds the record with six wins.)
The contest will be the highlight of a daylong celebration, which starts at 8:30 a.m., when Joel Heitkamp of KFGO Radio (790 on the AM dial) will broadcast his morning show live from the center. A lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. will feature, among other things, Polish sausage stew, sauerkraut and sausage and scalloped potatoes (freewill offering).
Judging and sampling for the contest will begin at 7 p.m., and around the outer perimeter of the event, there will be food and alcohol venues, including stands featuring Nicki’s Salsa (a local enterprise), Country Smokehouse meats from Grafton, N.D., Mancave products and bean bag games sponsored by Budweiser.
If that isn’t enough, there will be the humorous cracker-chewing, whistle-blowing contest at 9 p.m., and Kenny and Classics will play music from 8 p.m. to midnight. (Contest prizes will be awarded at about 10 p.m.)
“We are going to do it up right for a quarter century of bologna,” Misialek said.
Regardless of what you call it, I’ve found sausage or bologna to be one of the most versatile meats around. We like to grill our sausage as well as boil it, put it in several varieties of soup as well as in casseroles such as the one featured (Penne with Smoked Bologna) among today’s recipes.
That’s no baloney!
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.