Today marks the fifth anniversary of Salami Day, a day to celebrate this underdog of deli meats by helping yourself to a healthy serving of salami. Salami Day was created by the Salami Appreciation Society (SAS) in Henrico, Virginia, not far from the birthplace of the Year of Living Unofficially. Whether you prefer it on a sandwich, wrap, crackers, with cheese, or all by itself, on September 7th the SAS encourages people everywhere to enjoy a salami.
Salami (which comes from the Italian verb salar, meaning “to salt”) is a cured sausage fermented and air-dried. During the curing process humid conditions encourage the growth of bacteria which aid in the fermentation process, but are also responsible for much of the taste and quality of the salami. Once dried, a white covering of mold or flour is added to the casing. Because salami can be stored at room temperature for many months, throughout history it has been popular among European peasants who used it to supplement an inconsistent food supply.
I’ve always loved pepperoni, but I didn’t come around to other forms of salami until my late teens. As a kid there were several meats I just couldn’t stomach, including roast beef, bologna, sausage, and salami. If I wanted a sandwich it was something simple like ham and cheese or peanut butter and jelly. But that all changed when I started dating. My high school boyfriend, Matt, used to visit his father in San Francisco once or twice a year and he always brought home a few sticks of delicious salami. It was just greasy enough without being too greasy, and perfectly cured so a few salty pieces left your lips puckered. Every time I go to Wegman’s and see the store’s huge array of salami varieties I swear I’m going to Facebook Matt to find out what that salami was!
And with that huge array of salami varieties Wegman’s seemed like the natural place to go while preparing for Salami Day. Last weekend while we were grocery shopping we made sure to stop by the deli and grab a half pound of the butcher’s recommended salami. Instead of a skinny roll like pizza pepporoni, the salami we purchased, Citterio hard salami, was sliced from a large casing, just the right size for adding to crackers or sandwiches.