Friday, July 3, 2009

An ode to bacon

I just fried up a pound of bacon.

The house is now in the swoon of a heady bacon orgasm. It is altogether comforting, decadent, and wholly satisfying unlike anything else that comes out of the kitchen in the mornings. Just the act of standing over a hot frying pan watching those strips of smoke-cured pork belly brown, sizzle, and curl up into little strips of brown heaven is absolutely awesome. Since you really can't and shouldn't eat bacon every day cooking it is a rare, almost exotic while at the same time completely domesticated act. I love every part of it: the sizzle and pop as the meat renders the fat and browns; the smell that pervades the air, filling the whole house; the occasional pop of the grease that smarts my hand; even the film of spattered grease over the lenses of my glasses.

But cooking it is only a small part of the fun. With a mug of hot coffee in one hand a fork in the other who can resist taking one of the first pieces out of the pan after you've added the next set into the pan. The combination of slightly sweet, salty and greasy that wraps itself up in the intoxicating umami that just sits there on the back of your tongue.

I've started saving bacon grease like my mother used to, saving it for some yet unknown southern, cracker delicacy. I have a cookbook that I got for my birthday called The Cracker Kitchen that is filled with all kinds of recipes that call for bacon drippings, so many of them reminiscent of my childhood and the dishes my mom used to make us. And I guess there is also where part of the appeal of bacon lies: it is something that has survived the transition from my childhood into my adult life. It brings me as much pleasure now as it did then; it hasn't been diminished with the passing years.

I love bacon.

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