So why Bologna to Bolognese? Well now there's a story to that. It actually begins with those little supermarket cash register cookbooks. You know the ones, published by Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and Kraft? Well my mother has always loved those and I have fond memories of perusing the contents and picking out the best looking recipes with her. Well one night I was home alone and decided to surprise my mom by cooking something ... from one of those booklets. I really wish I had the original recipe to check but here's what I remember. I picked a recipe for Bologna Burgers (mind you I was only 12 or so and couldn't go buy ingredients so it had to be something we had in the house). I chopped up the bologna, added the mayonnaise and mustard it called for, made it into patties and cooked it. When she came home I proudly drug her into the kitchen and presented her with my Bologna Burger! ... In retrospect I think she over reacted a bit... however the end result was less than stellar. Imagine a greasy glutinous mass on a soggy piece of bread topped with a "flourish of ketchup to add a festive touch of color". Maybe she didn't overreact... Anyhoo it was a less than auspicious beginning to my cooking career.
Years later in college after a particularly dull round of dieting I was introduced to the fantastic world of herbs and spices! Ahh sweet deliverance. Suddenly a broiled chicken breast held some interest (drenched in lemon juice, garlic and pepper). So I went back to my mother's cookbooks and I read. I bought my own and I read. I dug out recipes I'd learned as an exchange student to Finland and I tried them. I had TONS of failures, but every time my mother rolled her eyes at another disaster I got more determined to do it right. Needless to say, with time and practice, I improved.
So what's with the Bolognese? Well a Bolognese is really just a grown up way of saying spaghetti sauce with meat isn't it. I mean that's what it is, I know it's more complicated than that, but that's the point. My cooking journey has been an adventure that began with bologna and has grown to a point where I think nothing of coming home from work and whipping up a Bolognese sauce to go with handmade pasta. What's more, it's a continuing journey.