We don’t have too many holiday traditions in our house. It’s not that we don’t like the holidays, we love them, it’s just that because of our lifestyles and personalities it’s hard to decide on one specific set of things that we do year after year. In other words, the traditions that we do have (as few as they may be) are really special and have significant meaning. . . . like fried bologna sandwiches.
First I suppose I might as well explain the tradition. It’s quite simple, but it’s a good one nonetheless. Each year on either Christmas or Christmas Eve we have a meal in which the main course is a fried bologna and cheese sandwich. Originally this was our Christmas dinner but we decided to do Japanese style fried chicken for Christmas dinner and so bologna was then moved to Christmas Eve dinner. That being said I am sure you are wondering why on Earth someone would choose to have bologna as a main dish of any meal during the Christmas holiday. It’s actually a pretty fun story.
It was about 8 years ago and my husband and I were celebrating our first Christmas in Japan. This was not our first Christmas together but it was our first Christmas without family so we naturally wanted to make it special. We had gone out and got the fixings for a nice Christmas dinner with chicken as a main course. I had spent the entire day cooking all of the sides and of course pies (a specialty of mine having grown up in the family bakery). Finally it was time to take the chicken out and put it in the oven. It wouldn’t take very long to cook so I figured I would do it last because I wanted the chicken to be juicy and everything else would be fine to heat up in the microwave after the fact. I took the chicken out, opened it up and noticed. . . . . there was something wrong with the chicken. To this day I do not know what was wrong with it but it was white spotted with red blotches. . . . not something I was about to eat all right.
Needless to say the chicken was on the express route into the trash can. Now what to do? It was almost dinner time and we were not yet familiar with the ins and outs of local grocery stores or aware that Christmas Chicken was a thing at local fast food joints. The worst part? All we had in the house was cheese, a few slices of bologna and bread. We had been planning to enjoy some leftovers for the next few days so there wasn’t much in the fridge.
I am a bit foggy on the details of what happened next. I remember being so upset that we were not going to have a “good” meal for Christmas dinner and then our sense of humor and resourcefulness kicked in and we decided that the main course could be bologna and cheese sandwiches. Of course they would have to be fried also. The logic behind this is because you can’t have a cold main course with warm side dishes. Fry the sandwiches and the problem is solved.
Christmas dinner (which consisted of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, corn and bologna and cheese sandwiches) turned out to be absolutely wonderful. While we were eating my husband said to me “We need to make sure we do this every year” and we haven’t gone without it since!
I love this story because it’s a lot of fun, but at the same time it’s a reminder to those out there (especially those who are far from home) that the holidays don’t always have to be “typical” to be perfect. Sometimes your chicken goes bad. . . . sometimes you’ve got to eat bologna and cheese sandwiches as your main dish. . . . either way it’s all about what you make of it.
Have a happy holiday season everyone!