A weekend without bacon

November 20, 2007

What a terrible weekend it would be. At least if you ask me. It wouldn’t even really be a weekend.

Cooking brunch has become a routine of mine. Every Saturday and most Sundays, I’ll wake up between ten and noon, roll out of bed, hop into some pajama pants, and start warming up a frying pan over our gas range. It’s not long before a faint bacony smell reaches my nostrils – this pan is my bacon-cooking pan, and no matter how hard I scrub, there’s always an after aroma that gets released just before a fresh bacon batch gets thrown on. Then there’s the immediate sizzle once the meat hits the pan, which fades into crackles as grease slowly spreads over the surface… even eating aside, cooking bacon is a truly aesthetic experience that intensely engages all of the senses. The smell lingers in the kitchen for hours afterwards.

That bacon tastes heavenly should go without saying. The variety doesn’t matter. Applewood smoked, maple, thick-cut – they’re all good (though I am partial to Arkansas-made Petit Jean peppered). Beyond that, four strips of protein-packed and uber-satisfying bacon, if properly fried and paper towel dabbed, has less than three hundred calories. Naysayers point out the high nitrite, saturated fat, and cholesterol content of even the crispiest bacon, but I say nay on them. I’m under no delusion that bacon is anywhere close to a health food. Still, like most other good things in life, it won’t kill you if enjoyed in moderation. Or in excess, on occasion (even moderation should be practiced in moderation, after all).

I came dangerously close a few weekends ago to consuming no bacon whatsoever. Saturday brunch was spent with a friend at a restaurant where the filet eggs benedict was just too good to pass up, and Sunday called me into the office for most of the day. Thankfully, after my friend and I finished brunch, we visited a nearby wine shop where I made a most wonderful discovery: fine chocolate maker Vosges has an offering combining bacon and chocolate – the Mo’s Bacon Bar. Could I resist? Hells no.

Bacon’s continued existence guarantees that, irrespective of whatever qualms I may have with the modern meat industry at present or moral changes I undergo in the future, I could never completely give up meat. If God wanted us all to be vegetarians, why did He make animals so darn tasty?

The always-hilarious Jim Gaffigan delivers his own tribute to bacon on Conan. Some say he and I bear resemblance – I’ll admit that it’s true, insofar as we both appreciate bacon’s eternal greatness.

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