In Saveur magazine’s February issue, homage is rightly paid to ’The Best Food in the World’, and that food is bacon. I thought I’d take a little time to convey some of my own views on these slices of epicurean heaven.
There are few foods that can so consistently satisfy me and offer so much delicious love in return for so little effort. Few foods can draw my attention completely to the act of savoring their flavor and texture without any adornment. At a diner, a fancy restaurant, or my own kitchen, bacon can be an exultant experience with equal aplomb. It can be thick or thin cut, applewood or hickory smoked, cured, pre-cooked, pan-fried or microwaved. It’s all delicious.
Don’t get me wrong, bacon can be done badly, but the best part is that one person’s badly done bacon is another’s perfectly prepared. Take, for example, the culinary experiment we (myself, Alisa, Becca, and Brian) conducted last week, using a recipe from Saveur. Our copy isn’t around for me to get the specifics from, but it’s essentially bacon coated in brown sugar and cooked in the oven, until the sugar melts over the crisp* bacon. Observe our process:
1) Get delicious bacon.
2) Get delicious brown sugar.
3) Coat bacon by pushing into sugar.
4) Cook bacon…for a few minutes too long. ::cough::
There’s apparently a ’tipping point’ for this kind of bacon, and we missed it by a few minutes. But even as fused obsidian shards we ate them and enjoyed them (some of us more than others). And that’s the beauty of bacon.
Anyway, the rest of the meal was great as well (and didn’t turn to coal). Here’s a picture of the chicken before it was cooked (it was good):
Oh, and the ’Fat Bastard Chardonnay’.
*Let me take a moment here to relay a personal theory on proper bacon terminology. When I ask someone for bacon, there are four ways I can get it: floppy, crispy, crunchy, burnt. I like my bacon crispy, since that’s the best way, and that means flexible, with a bit of resistance and firmness. The bacon should be hard but not brittle. If I want the damn things to shatter like plate glass under my fork, I’ll ask for crunchy. If I want them stretchy like a gummy worm, I’ll ask for floppy. If I want bacon, I shouldn’t even have to ask for crispy. Crispy is the default. Know this.