Being in newspapers, I am expert on baloney. You may interpret that as you will. But some fellow left a good-natured voicemail last week or the week before – I lose track of time working for two newspapers – taking polite issue with my declaration that Carolina Pride, which is made in Greenwood, S.C., is the best baloney in the world. And it is.
However, this unintentional philistine said North Carolina-based Jesse Jones baloney is the best baloney in the world. I have never had Jesse Jones baloney on purpose, though I may have had it when I was stationed at Fort Bragg 100 years ago. There were lunchroom meats there which sort of defied easy description, as a good lunch meat maybe should.
“What’s that taste?”
“I dunno. Squid? Possum? Frog?”
“Can’t tell. Want more?”
Now, I freely admit there are entire days when I don’t know my you know what from a hole in the ground, but in the past I have based my assertion Carolina Pride is the best baloney – or bologna, for you English police – on personal preference. From now on I’m going to defend it with cold hard science, also known as the internet.
In this case, I turned to eater.com, which is a scary sounding website, and learned some stories about baloney are just way too long to read, so forget science.
You ever hear of baloney cups? Fried baloney? Grilled baloney? I’ve tried it all, sometimes voluntarily, sometimes forced by circumstances beyond my control, like lunchroom ladies named Moe.
In any case, here’s a Cliff Notes version about the history of baloney: Baloney was invented in Bologna, Italy back in the 1600s. It was called something else. It became really popular in America in the 1960s and goes with just about anything except grits as far as I’m concerned, though that sounds good. Speaking of grits, fried catfish has always gone good with grits, but not as good as crumbled up sausage and bacon with some scrambled eggs and cheese and sausage gravy in the mix, and some hot sauce (I prefer Tabasco or Trappey’s or Louisiana brand) and pepper and butter on top of everything else.
I miss Poole’s Deli and those old breakfasts in a cup. Since I’m writing this for two newspapers, Pooles was in downtown Hinesville over where something else is now. I forget when it closed, but it was sure a sad day in Hinesville when Pooles’ Deli shut the doors. Note what I did with the apostrophes.
By the way, according to a website, eating baloney is one of the worst things you can do to your body, which I say is fake news. One Wisconsin newspaper – the Times Journal – says baloney is made out of things nobody else wanted, like organs and lips and snouts and cellulite and things, and you know those pickled toads you dissected in sophomore biology class?
Yep. They didn’t just throw them away.
I grilled a baloney chub once, and left it on the grill too long due to an excess of cold beer and it was so bad my neighbor’s yard dog wouldn’t eat it, and he’ll eat anything that doesn’t eat him first. That was not Carolina Pride baloney, the history of which began sometime in the 1920s in Greenwood, S.C., when someone decided to make some meat and it was good.
Stay tuned. More on this milestone in history later.