01/31/2011 12:23 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

'Anti-Artisanal': Lunch Meat Has Its Moment

Prosciutto di parma and jamón ibérico might hog all the porkcentric attention, but what some chefs are really excited about these days is a bit more déclassé. Mystery meats like pork roll and Spam are making somewhat subversive inroads on inventive menus around town, spurred on by both the quest for novelty and a nostalgic embrace of regional-American roots. "Bologna just occurred to me one day," says No. 7's Tyler Kord, the René Magritte of surrealist sandwiches. "I'd forgotten about it for so long it was like discovering a new ingredient." Here, a breakdown of three lowbrow lunch meats and where to find them, plus a shout-out to mortadella, the original bologna, from Bologna--Oscar Mayer's aristocratic ancestor.

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