You may remember that earlier this year I wrote posts about how Mexican bologna was being smuggled into the United States, much of it through New Mexico. U.S. Customs officials said smuggled bologna was a threat to all Americans and said it was “not funny” that people were making jokes about it.
I mean really, bologna as contraband? Stuffing a spare tire full of bologna to avoid detection? Smelling up neighborhoods in southern Dona Ana County by burning contraband bologna to protect us from ourselves?
I found it amusing immediately launched an in -depth investigation into why the processed meat from Mexico was suddenly such a hot commodity.
Through stealthy investigation, I located a store in Las Cruces which sold it out of a back room, purchased some, and drove home while fully expecting flashing red lights and sirens to chase me down. Once home, I conducted scientific taste tests and came up with these startling conclusions: 1. It tasted pretty much like Oscar Mayer bologna that you can buy at your local Albertson’s. 2. It was a little bit drier. 3. It was a little more expensive than the American-made stuff. 4. Chester, our dog, seemed to like it. 5. I did not die or develop any gastronomic malady from consuming it.
Then after my story broke, National Public Radio broadcast an episode of “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” which featured people chuckling about the absurdity of smuggled Mexican bologna.
But wait!!! Just this month, the magazine Texas Monthly published an article entitled “Why Are Border Smugglers Trafficking Bologna?” The article by Madeleine Aggeler was very well done and pretty clever. She spent a lot more time in her pursuit of “why Mexican bologna” than I did.
She concluded that for one thing, smuggling bologna from Mexico is highly profitable. For example, a nine-pound roll of bologna that costs $10 to $15 in Mexico can be sold in the United States for up to $120.
“The quantities of intercepted bologna are so large that it’s hard to believe that there are any pigs left in the world,” the author Aggeler muses.
She also quips that when first encountering a confiscated tube of bologna, it was like “holding the hull of a Boeing 727 but made entirely of flesh.”
The reporter for Texas Monthly says residents of Mexico think the Mexican variety of bologna is richer and “more porky” — a subtlety that escaped me in my scientific taste test.
But mostly, for Mexicans in the United States, it’s a taste of home — kind of like Vegemite in Australia or Spam in Hawaii.
Below is a link to the Texas Monthly article if you want to read it. But remember, you heard about it first in my post on at Aero-Cordero.com!