By DAVID GREEN
Fayette native Dick Lukens can’t shake the memory of some very good bologna from his childhood.
He sent a letter last week about Fayette Bologna once made at Fidler’s Meat Market and he’s hoping to get the recipe.
Some Fayette residents can tell you that just isn’t going to happen.
“They made a homemade bologna which we called ‘Fayette Bologna’. It was the best you ever ate,” Dick wrote. “I am wondering if anyone around town knows the recipe that they used to make it, or perhaps a local meat processing place might make it or know about the recipe.”
Dick, who graduated from Fayette in 1950, now lives in St. Joseph, Mo. He’s acquainted with a butcher there who might make a batch of Fayette Bologna—if only he had the recipe.
“If Ross Hall were still living, we’d probably have it,” said Gene Beaverson who fondly remembers the local treat.
John Bacon doesn’t think so.
“They never gave the recipe out,” he said. “Nobody got it.”
He wishes someone did have it, because it was deliciously different.
John said the bologna was first made at the Tule and Heckman meat market.
“On the day they were making it, people would rush in to buy it,” he said. “You could smell it all over town.”
So it was pretty good stuff?
“You ain’t a-kiddin’,” said Mick Schaffner enthusiastically. “It was out of this world. They sold more of that bologna. People used to come from all over, even Detroit.”
Nobody knows the recipe, Mick said, but he claims to know one thing: Only bulls were used for the beef. It gave the bologna a coarser texture.
“Gene Rossman tried to make it a few years ago in Wauseon, but it wasn’t the same,” Mick said.
Tule and Heckman’s place eventually became known as Fidler’s Meat Market, owned by Lowell “Debby” and Leonard Fidler.
As Mick was told, Debby Fidler was trying to get someone to take over the place. He promised to help them get going and he would give them the secret recipe. But he died before that ever happened.
It doesn’t sound good for Dick Lukens.
“I don’t think he’ll ever get it,” Mick said.
Karen Fackler drives the final nail into the bologna recipe’s coffin. She’s related to the Fidlers; she has connections, and she’s still without the recipe.
“After Uncle Debby left, Uncle Leonard still ran the store,” she said, noting there were six Fidler boys in town. “But the recipe is dead. I tried to get it.”
Karen believes that her Aunt Della, Leonard’s wife, was the last one with the knowledge of how to make the famous Fayette Bologna.
“The recipe died when she died,” Karen said.
She remembers spending time with her uncles.
“They did their own butchering and had their own slaughterhouse. They cooked the meat themselves, too.”
But even the Fidlers were having some problems with the recipe before they gave up and sold the market to the Oxenders.
“They got a lot of spices from overseas and they were having trouble getting them,” Karen said.
Sorry, Dick, but that’s the only hint to go by. Fayette Bologna is going to remain a delicious memory.