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Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Bacon, Bacon, Bacon

Let us now sing the praises of bacon. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love, love, love bacon. It's got just about every taste sensation I crave--sweet, salty, and smoky. And then the texture, crisp, crunchy, and chewy all at the same time. Succulent with flavor and the richness of fat! I know it's not politically correct, but it's heavenly stuff. It just seems like it must be in our genes to savor the stuff and salivate at the very smell of it cooking.

The other night we had a spinach salad for dinner. It was hot and neither of us were all that hungry. Now I enjoy salad, but the truth is if I had to live without it I could. Easily. The trick to making salad irresistible is to add all sorts of can't-live-without goodies. In this case I used crumbled Gorgonzola, croutons and bacon. Spinach loves bacon. I added a creamy Vidalia onion dressing and voila! a salad you don't want to skip.

When I was growing up there were very few choices of brands of bacon. And as I recall it was way too salty. Now there are tons of "artisan bacons" with lots of subtle differences. Made by folks who choose the woods for smoking, the seasoning and who raise the pork with great care for the final product. If you haven't tried any in a while, do yourself a favor and try some. I suggest starting out with thick-cut applewood smoked bacon. A good butcher counter should carry a few types at least. What to do with it? I'm crazy about bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches. But you can have yours with eggs or on top of a salad. Often I will start a spaghetti sauce or stew by sauteing some bacon to flavor the dish.

Believe it or not, there is a Bacon-of-the-Month club. I think bacon would be the perfect gift for just about anyone, anyone who loves bacon that is.