On Thursday, we took the train to Bologna and sampled two dishes that featured Bolognese sauce. They were great, naturally. The waiter brought us a couple of sample slices of mortadella, also a local favorite, which I’ve read is what our U.S. “bologna” is based on. It’s a deli meat, made of pork and (this is almost too gross to write), little cubes of pig fat. By law, at least 15% of the product has to be pig fat, and mortadella is thought to date back as far as 1376 in Bologna. In Spain and Portugal, they apparently add olives to their mortadella. It was actually pretty good, and did taste like a better version of the Oscar Mayer product that was peddled for years with the song, “My bologna has a first name…”. Steve wouldn’t touch it.

In the interest of fairness and full disclosure, I will admit that I had the same reaction to the Florentine local favorite sandwich “meat.” Lampredotto is apparently only made and served in Florence. It’s a street food and people here go nuts for it. If you thought mortadella sounded dubious, then don’t read any further. Seriously. Consider this a trigger warning and proceed at your own risk.

Miei amici, lampredotto is the boiled fourth stomach of a cow. To add insult to already grievous injury, it’s named after the lamprey eels that apparently slithered around in the Arno back in the day. Evidently the “meat” resembles the eels. We ordered it in the form of “meatballs” in a restaurant here in Florence. I tried one bite, and while it didn’t taste bad, it didn’t taste good enough to overcome my gag reflex and overwhelming, visceral (see what I did there?) revulsion.