Yeah, if you have some class, you might spell it "balogna" sandwich, but I hail from a solid hillbilly background, so I go with "baloney" sandwich. When I was a kid, Aunt Wilma often babysat me and my sisters and lunch was almost always a baloney sandwich on Wonder Bread topped off with Heinz ketchup. The baloney was Oscar Mayer. We're talking cheap nutrition.
Wonder Bread became the running joke of the hippie era, for good reason. This product is the epitome of empty calorie processed food. All the nutrition of the wheat germ has been stripped away, discarded or resold for animal feed, and what is left is a sort of foam with none of the crunch (or crust) associated with good whole grain bread.
Of course, kids love it. I did when I was a kid. The bland flavor is easy on the taste buds. Salt is the primary flavor conveyed to the palette. And heavy crust just slowed down the action.
My hillbilly family loved heavily processed convenience foods. Veterans brought this food preference home from the battlefield rations of WWII. Processed convenience food was the women's liberation of the 1950s. Mom was liberated from the kitchen! No need to spend hours prepping natural, whole foods and cooking them!
Two or three slices of baloney between two slices of Wonder Bread and you've got a quick sandwich that a child can throw together.
The packaging in the pic above seems quite different from the packaging I remember from the 50s. Processed meats, and processed foods in general, were thought to be superior to what we now call "natural" foods. Despite what you've been told via feminist ideology, women were already moving en masse out of the domestic sphere into the working world in the 50s.
So, processed foods and TV dinners were thought of (and advertised) as wonderful "time saving" devices that freed women from domestic labor.
Ketchup as the condiment for a baloney sandwich seems to be a controversial subject. In the world of the Jewish immigrant in New York City, the dominant condiment in the deli was mustard. Of course, the tangy, funky flavors of the deli... sauerkraut, mustard, kosher pickles and meats marinated in brines... were completely foreign to the hillbilly tongue. The blander, sweeter, saltier taste of ketchup also appealed more to kids.
The baloney sandwich with ketchup was daily fare throughout my childhood and adolescence. I'm not complaining. It was filling, cheap and easy to put together. My mother was somewhere between an adequate and lousy cook, depending on whether she wanted to put forth the effort.
The hippie era ushered in an obsession with whole, unprocessed foods. When I moved to San Francisco, I frequented the great food markets and learned how to cook with whole, unprocessed foods, and I'm glad I did.
Haven't eaten a baloney sandwich on Wonder Break with ketchup for decades. I'll have to give it a try one day to see what I think of it.