At the Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum, we have found that the key to keeping people happy at an event and coming back for others, is to provide good food and drink as well as quality programming. As mentioned in previous blogs, MCARLM is lucky enough to be hosting the Smithsonian traveling exhibition, Bittersweet Harvest The Bracero Program 1942-1964 from now until July 28, 2013. Planning the grand opening for this special exhibit, we booked a great speaker, contacted and scheduled our local politician and nailed down a special evening for our members and special guests. The last piece to the puzzle was to talk with a local caterer and plan a menu that would compliment the exhibit and the evening we had planned. Delicious Chili Verde Burritos, Taquitos and guacamole, a fresh fruit salad, chips, salsa and Bologna sandwiches. What? Bologna Sandwiches?
For many Braceros, the noon time meal provided by the farmers consisted of a sandwich comprised of yellow cheese, bologna and white bread. These quick and easy meals could be made and distributed in mass. Touching into this aspect of the Exhibit, our talented caterer made a tray full of ‘fancy bologna sandwiches’ with the addition of mayo, lettuce and red onion. We set up the main part of the meal down in another building, where we were holding the lecture and presentation, and set up the tray of sandwiches by itself with some wonderful wines in the gallery that is housing the exhibit. Now taking into mind that we were hosting a group of local VIP’s including the area Supervisor and town mayor, the nerves set in. Our guests have become used to fun, educational events with delicious food and lots of beverages. How would they react to an appetizer of home spun bologna sandwiches and a glass of wine? Does wine even complement bologna sandwiches?
To my relief and surprise, the sandwiches were received with delight and for many, nostalgia. The appetizer brought back memories of camping trips, youth and were just plain delicious! Before transitioning from the gallery to the presentation tent for yet more food, the tray was just about empty. Thinking outside the proverbial chaffing dish and serving a non traditional treat not only tied in the exhibit to the menu, but also added a fun touch to the evenings meal. Now to answer the question posed, does wine complement bologna sandwiches? To that I answer, a good wine complements everything!