Monday, May 24, 2010

Ode to Bacon

If I were a poet or songwriter this would probably come out in verse, but since I'm neither it will just be a mish-mash of all the wonderful things that I've learned about bacon!

If you are a vegetarian just skip this, ok and most of my blogs and practically all meals in my house, not that I don't like ya, just that I don't get ya.

So on to the fine attributes and uses of bacon:

Bacon needs to be cooked slowly - you can rush it if you must, but often it ends up burned and it never renders up it's full flavor, nor the full amount of bacon grease that can be used for so many other things.

Bacon is yummy all by itself but it adds a richness and depth of flavor to so many other dishes that it's a shame to only ever eat it solo.

Bacon comes in versions, Proscuitto etc, but really I have found that good old American bacon fits beautifully in any recipe from any country, from Chinese food to Italian all of it is better with American bacon.

American bacon all tastes different, but that's because even though the process of making it is the same, each maker has his own twist, his own wood, or timing or spices. The best bacon we have found comes from small independent processors, like Patchwork Farms in Columbia that is getting hogs from family growers that are growing a few pigs here and there and then processing them mostly by hand. It's certainly more expensive bacon, but bacon like chocolate and shoes is often reflective of the price paid for it. If you haven't found a bacon you love, you just need to try more bacon!

Bacon needs not come in huge quantity to make a huge impact. Because we buy relatively expensive bacon on a pastor's salary we tend to stretch it as far as we can. A few pieces of bacon cut into lardons can flavor an entire dish, and the fat that was rendered from it can either add more flavor to that dish or flavor a whole other dish.

Bacon shouldn't just be used in the traditional places. Everybody in America (normal people) knows that bacon is good with eggs, muffins or biscuits, it's breakfast fare for sure. Bits of bacon (or nasty little soy flavored ones) go on salads and strips of it onto cheeseburgers, or other sandwiches. But bacon makes an awesome pizza, adds notes to mac & cheese and other white pasta dishes that bring them up the scale of yumminess by miles, adds richness and depth to any dish that has an onion or tomato in it and well basically there just is no bad place to have bacon! If you're cooking something and it just seems to be lacking flavor, depth, or a certain you-can't-quite-put-your-finger-on-it add bacon, if it doesn't fix it, it will still have been worth the experiment. Here is even a recipe for bacon ice cream which I haven't personally tried but is on our list.

So I guess my whole point here is bacon is amazing, in a culinary sense it can go anywhere, do anything, and it just makes everything better. Even dishes where it's not up front and center you can always tell there's a little yummy bacon in the background making everything better.

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