Oscar Mayer's New Cold Cuts Are Really Spicy and That's No Bologna

Two of the new line of "Bold" deli meats from Oscar Mayer
Two of the new line of "Bold" deli meats from Oscar Mayer
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

"That's some spicy sliced turkey," is not a phrase I ever anticipated coming out of my mouth. But, then, I also didn't anticipate really liking a sandwich involving cold cuts. While I'm a big fan of Italian deli meats, I've never really latched onto to the standard American sliced turkey, ham, etc. I generally find them rather bland, salty but not savory, with a texture akin to damp felt.

Knowing I am perpetually interested in new supermarket products, a friend of mine alerted me to the introduction of a new line of "bold" cold cuts from Oscar Mayer. I was dubious, but embracing the mantra "everything is worth trying once," I sampled the Cajun Style Turkey Breast, Chipotle Seasoned Chicken Breast, and the Cracked Pepper Turkey Breast.

All are made with no artificial flavors and colors. Good thing, as I shudder to think we are living in a world where manufacturers and consumers prefer to use fake cracked pepper.

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A simple-looking sandwich with lots of flavor.
A simple-looking sandwich with lots of flavor.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

When constructing a sandwich, I take bread selection very seriously and usually I pick some artisan baguette or multigrain or foccaccia depending on the sandwich's contents. In this case, however, I wanted the bread to serve only as an architectural implement not as a contributor of competing flavors and textures. So, I chose plain white sliced bread. Yes, that stuff that has little to no nutritional value but is wonderful for providing a medium for "bold" toppings to shine.

In the spirit of a sort of lunchbox platter, I made a number of half sandwiches with different meats, cheeses, and condiments. In the cracked pepper turkey breast sandwich, for example, I interspersed sliced tomatoes, dijon mustard, and slices of overripe avocado. The cajun chicken breast sandwich was treated with pesto mayonnaise, lettuce, and sliced mozzarella.

"These are cold cuts for grownups," I concluded after trying all three varieties in different styles of sandwiches. (Ignore this generalization if your kids are among the youngsters who love spicy food.) The ambiguously titled "cajun-style" turkey boasted clear notes of cayenne pepper, oregano, and paprika and provided a latent heat that made me think it might pair extremely well with a soft mild cheese such as goat's milk feta. In turn, the cracked pepper turkey tickled my tongue and almost almost made me sneeze after a few bites, though granted, I also took the liberty of taking a few sniffs way up close.

My favorite of the three flavors I tried was the chipotle chicken, whose spritely pepper kick was reminiscent of that found in old-school Tex-Mex gravy. Although I was more than happy to have layered on some cheddar cheese and eaten the sandwich cold, in the future I will try it toasted with the addition of soy chorizo (less grease than the regular kind).

So, sopressata and salami fans, take a chance on some bold (no quotes needed this time) domestic deli meats courtesy of Oscar Mayer. It's all in the name of diverse lunches.

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