CAPE ST. GEORGE — To say Kevin Phillips is full of bologna might be a fairly accurate statement.
He chuckled at the suggestion recently during a telephone interview from his Oakville, Ont. home.
That’s probably especially even more true now that the former Cape St. George resident is working on a cookbook of recipes that will have 365-plus-one recipes, to coincide with leap year, all containing bologna and all requiring test tasting.
While there are an array of the retired military officer’s bologna meal recipes already available on his website, saltjunk.com, he is now in the process of going through them all and tweaking where needed, plus creating many more.
Phillips is currently busy attending George Brown College in Toronto doing a course on preserving and canning, which is part of his overall baking certificate course he will complete in October.
He’s also working on completing his culinary management diploma course at Liaison College on Oakville and a course in food photography.
Phillips is now in the process of doing a number of recipes that will use ground bologna and said by utilizing it that way, the possibilities for recipes are endless. But he also has recipes for bologna soups, sandwiches, stew, burger, casserole, spreads, grilled, with potatoes, rice and the list goes on.
He said the love affair between Newfoundland and bologna goes back many generations. The product was easily available, inexpensive and was of excellent quality and could be consumed at anytime of the day.
It was served up in sandwiches, stews, casseroles, baked, fried, boiled, barbecued, or as an accompaniment to a main dish.
During rough times, when money was scarce, bologna was one of the main staples at the kitchen table. Some of the bologna recipes were pretty standard, yet moms and dads with their creative minds came up with meals fit for royalty.
Phillips remembers when his dad, Ozzie Phillips, ran his general store at Cape St. George in the early 1950s and sold more bologna than any other meat. Each week he would bring in bologna by the thousands of pounds.
Philips believes that at one time, Newfoundland purchased more bologna per capita than any other province.
“Today this magnificent sausage is part of our culture and is coined ‘Newfoundland Steak,’ a name that was forced on us back then, but now one which we willingly accept with pride,” he said.
Phillips has been offered a deal with Flanker Press, a Newfoundland publishing company, to do his bologna recipe book and he’s looking at a print date in 2014.
But while his current project focuses on bologna recipes, his love of cooking extends well beyond just that one product, and that’s why his website saltjunk.com is dedicated to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians at home and abroad, and to other folks who simply enjoy Newfoundland and Labrador cuisine and its traditions.
His website’s purpose is to add new Newfoundland and Labrador recipes to the existing culinary library and revisit some of the older ones and fine-tune them using today’s techniques.
One of his aims is to preserve some of the older and forgotten recipes that have been lost with time.
After his bologna recipe book is completed, his next recipe book will feature all kinds of Newfoundland recipes, including many that were passed down.
“I plan to work on these recipes scientifically and put together the book with recipes that are tried and true and will work,” Phillips said.
He plans on visiting outport communities in Newfoundland, collect recipes and compile them with others he has already has in his library.