Today’s food holiday is a bunch of bologna. Or ham…or salami…or turkey. It’s National Cold Cuts Day! It’s also mulled wine day, but it was lunchtime and we were hungry, so cold cuts it was!
Cold cuts refer to any sliced, precooked or cured meat, and are typically sold in glass delicatessen counters or prepackaged, and are popular in grocery stores and delicatessens. These meats tend to be high in nitrates, fat, and sodium. Which is what makes them so darn good! Just ask Jared, the spokesman for Subway, the most popular sandwich chain in America. If it weren’t for cold cuts, you might end up with a sandwich that was halfway decent, nutrition-wise. (If you’re worried about your health, buy your cold cuts sliced to order; the pre-sliced variety has more preservatives because there is a larger exposed surface. And whatever you do, avoid buying cold cuts in the UK, as theirs are often made with mechanically reclaimed meat and offal. How awful). Cold cuts may get a bad rap, but they’re wildly popular in both sandwiches and party trays. Hey, somebody is buying all that processed meat! In addition to the most common varieties named above, there are a number of, ahem, “exotic” cold cuts, as well. Products like liverwurst and head cheese and tongue loaf. Trust me, bologna ain’t half bad compared with what you could find staring back at you between two slices of bread.
Funny, we’re supposed to be celebrating cold cuts today, but I feel like I’m bashing them. And I enjoy them! Growing up, a fried bologna sandwich with ketchup was one of my faves.
What can I say? I was a weird kid.
Cold cuts have been around since…well, since there were dead animals and cold, I suppose. Oscar F. Mayer was a German immigrant in Chicago who had the wurst job imaginable. Literally: he worked in a meat market that sold liverwurst, bratwurst, and weisswurst. They were one of the sponsors of the Chicago world’s fair in 1893, and by 1900, had 43 employees working for them. Oscar Mayer had a way with b-o-l-o-g-n-a, and by 1904 began branding his meats. Not literally, of course. The company became so popular that, in 1936, they built the first Wienermobile and toured the country with it. They remained a family-owned corporation until 1981, when stockholders elected to sell the company to General Foods. They remain a major player in the cold cuts market to this day. And lest you think consuming luncheon meat isn’t good for your health, consider this: Oscar F. Mayer lived to the ripe old age of 96. Hmm. Pass the salami, please!
Tara and I celebrated with club sandwiches for lunch.
- National Cold Cuts Day (foodimentary.com)
- Subway Franchise Owner Says Cold-Cut Sizes Have Been Reduced By 25% (businessinsider.com)