Bacon. This seemingly insignificant slice of meat that has one of the highest fat to meat ratios (2/3 fat is ideal) out of just about everything we consider meat.
Maybe it’s just me but I feel as though in recent months this “meat candy,” as the boyfriend, Matt, calls it, has been making a comeback – and in full force. Like the ultimate seductress, bacon has infiltrated our lives in some pretty unconventional ways, pulling us in with reasonable prices and recipes you just can’t resist.
What could be better? Nothing, that’s what I thought.
Though its older fans, those who may fall into the same generation as my parents still have a place in their heart for bacon, this savory slab of meat has really targeted itself at my generation. My roommate, Edith, stands by her statement that “bacon is the new Toms.” You know those shoes that just about everyone had. I mean everyone since for every pair you bought another pair was sent to someone in need.
Bacon wrapped chicken, yes please.
I must say, until a few months ago I really hadn’t noticed our culture’s fascination with bacon. When Matt and I first met I was 4 ½ years strong in my no red meat phase, so perhaps because this phenomenon didn’t pertain to me I took no notice. The first time I went over to his house he proudly showed me his house’s bacon grease reserves, when I just stared at the grease in disbelief he proceeded to explain to me that bacon was the gateway meat for vegetarians and non-red meat eaters alike. It was in his experience that the first thing no-meaties ate when they “saw the light” and got back with the program was bacon. I flat out didn’t think I would never fall victim to the gateway meat.
For those days you don’t have time for real bacon grease to permeate your clothes, bacon soap comes to the rescue to permeate your skin with “the sweet perfume of bacon.”
Oh how wrong I was. Just a few months after that I was home and cooking the Christmas feast with my mom. We decided to spice things up and try a new recipe from our favorite butter addict Paula Deen, another role model of mine. My mom always says how when she is old and grey she wants her hair to look as nice as Paula’s. Quite frankly I agree, because damn does that lady has some luscious locks.
Anyway, the recipe was for brussels sprouts sautéed in bacon grease and chicken stock with bacon crumbled on top. My mom, perhaps in some cruel attempt to let the recovering meat addict relapse gave me the task of cooking the bacon. As I watched the meat sizzle and turn from long flat pieces into crisp wavy strips reminiscent of that popular crimped hair look from the 1920’s I knew I was in trouble.
I was doomed to eat the meat! With no witnesses in sight I knew what I had to do. I took my tongs and skillfully removed the most succulent piece of meat in the pan. I dropped it onto a paper towel for a moment to cool and drain at least some of the excess fat and then I popped that thing into my mouth.
My accomplice, the tongs.
Jesus. It was everything I was expecting and more. I quickly repeated this process a few times, it really was like a drug to me.
Since then I have made an effort to make up for the 4 ½ years going without by eating bacon at every chance I can. Recently, I conducted an interview with Bi-Rite Market (more on that later) after I was done picking the marketing managers brain I perused the stores selection of chocolate. That’s when I saw it. Bacon flavored chocolate. Two things I adore wrapped into one?! I was shocked. I was taken aback. But mostly I just wanted to crack open the packaging right then and there and devour what I could only imagine would be the best thing of my life. I refrained. I was in public after all.
Behold Mo’s Bacon Bar
Fast-forward a few hours. Once I was in the privacy of my own home, Matt and I opened the Holy Grail. Maybe I was expecting too much by assuming this would taste like the fresh bacon I was used to. Because let me tell you, it tasted more like those dog treats Beggin’ Strips than a delicious slice of bacon smothered in chocolate. Like a child who wakes up on Christmas to no presents, I was on the verge of tears. I was a champ though and held it together. While I was beyond disappointed I suppose because the chocolate isn’t being refrigerated certain steps had to be taken to prevent the bacon from going bad. Regardless, I won’t be buying it again.
I’m thinking I may just have to attempt this recipe myself. Thoughts?
And for those of you who don’t believe me that bacon is wonderful, delicious and pretty much God’s gift, than please listen to my mentor King Curtis.