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Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Wish Everyone Would Get This Passionate About, Say, The Proper Use Of The Apostrophe...

Let's just go ahead and stipulate that I watch an inordinate amount of television/read a great deal of information regarding Food. It's one of my interests, along with Politics and Shoes. (And Cows. Let's not forget Cows.) Having said all of that--and digressing shamefully, as is my wont--I've become increasingly aware of downright ridiculous fawning over a particular food lately. It's completely absurd.

It's not like this is a trendy, foreign, newish food, either, like sushi, although sushi is all of a sudden a bigass deal too, even among teenagers in Podunk, Ohio, where I live. No, this is a humble, everyday food that most of us grew up with and ate at least once a week here in the Midwest. But now it's a Celebrated Star in the Culinary Galaxy. It is swooned over, idolized, and has even been called a danger to certain groups because of its incredible, sexy allure. What is this mighty foodstuff, you ask?

It's bacon.

I know, right?

But everyone I know waxes poetic about bacon. Hell, one of comedian Jim Gaffigan's most popular bits on You Tube, with over a million hits, is the one about bacon, in which he calls it the "most beautiful thing on earth." "Even the frying of bacon," he points out with the air of interpreting prophecy, "sounds like applause."

Vegetarians everywhere are on High Alert around it! And well they should be, for bacon is The Gateway Meat for vegetarians. Scientist Johan Lundstrom, who once had a girlfriend who eschewed her own vegetarianism thanks to bacon, posits that bacon's double whammy of "odor and emotion, and odor and memory"...is the culprit. "When you pair that with the social atmosphere of weekend breakfast and hunger, bacon is in the perfect position to take advantage of how the brain is wired." Bacon is one-third to two-thirds fat and contains protein; it speaks to our evolutionary needs. We are, in short, powerless against it.

With this in mind, certainly, this website was born. Who doesn't need "Daily News On The World Of Sweet, Sweet Bacon"? Or Bacon Events, Bacon News, Bacon Recipes, Bacon Reviews, Bacon Desserts, and heaven help us, Bacon Books. (I searched in vain for any of Sir Francis' writings, but found instead a mildly humorous warning against reading A Day no Pigs Would Die.) Noteworthy, I think, is the article at the bottom of the site: Headline reads "People in Canada Choose Bacon Over Sex." (Note to self: Google birthrate stats in Canada, also per capita consumption of bacon, also email friends in Canada for info on same.) Next to the Popular Articles are Hot Bacony Deals. If you are Hot for Bacon Lip Balm, though, too bad. Baconfreak.com is sold out!

But never let it be said that the Dept. of Nance is not here for you! Thanks to the 2011 Ubiquity Of Bacon, we have Options. Just look! Have you ever seen so much Bacon Shit in your Whole Damn Life? And I'm even behind the curve on bacon: Back in October 2010 in NYC, a bunch of hightoned society types threw an autism fundraiser called Bacon-Palooza. Bacon was chosen as the theme of this three-day gala because not only did they believe it was "the hippest food", but that it "crossed all social lines. If there's one thing that everyone can agree on, it's bacon."

Okay, but...no.

And I'm not even going to "go there" with regard to the obvious PETA or vegan/vegetarian issues, neither of which are my personal concerns.
I just...don't get excited about bacon.

As a matter of fact, I don't care if I never eat bacon again. Bacon is...overrated. Except for the occasional BLT in the summertime, I assiduously avoid bacon. It's too overpowering. Once you put bacon on something, it's over. That food has been BACONIZED. You can't taste anything else but BACON. Why ruin a perfectly lovely cheeseburger with bacon? Why put bacon on a chicken sandwich? It has now become a BACON sandwich. If you wanted a bacon sandwich to begin with, then you should have made/ordered it.

Bacon is bossy and obnoxious. It shows up and takes all the credit. It's the kid in the class who hogs (sigh, a pun) the discussion. It's the John Hancock on the Declaration of Independence. It's the "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" part of the Beatles song. (Do you even know there are any other lyrics? Do you??) It's just too much. I don't like the over-the-top flavor of it. It's not interesting or complex to me. Bacon just doesn't have a lot going on for me. It's too in-your-face smoky and strong. It tastes like my livingroom fireplace when Rick can't get it to draw right away and the trails and puffs of woodsmoke start escaping into the room and I have to worry about the smoke alarm going off and the kittens getting upset. I don't like that.

And I don't like bacon.

19 comments:

  1. I bought bacon -flavored lip balm for our faculty Christmas White Elephant gift exchange. It did not taste good.

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  2. I LOVE bacon - but only if it's really crispy & not very greasy. But I agree about hamburgers & chicken sandwiches - I don't want bacon on there. Bacon is for my fried egg sandwich. Yum!

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  3. You don't like bacon? Yay! More for me! I love bacon on a burger, on a chicken sandwich, with eggs, wherever. I also saw that article about vegetarians losing it all for bacon. I even considered a blog post because of it, but didn't do it.

    My friend likes chocolate chip cookies with bacon in them. I'm afraid to try it.

    My sister in law likes bacon dipped in chocolate. You can buy the 'candy bars' of this, but I have been scared to try. There's a place I saw on TV in NYC that is supposed to have amazing chocolate bacon. I'd try it if I were there.

    My husband and daughter are with you, however. Not big bacon fans. Maya will eat the occasional BLT, and Ted likes a bit as a garnish on a bowl of corn chowder, but that's about it for them. Again, more for me!

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  4. Mikey G.8:44 PM

    I enjoy the hell out of Bacon, but people have been doing that for a long time, and there's no reason it needs to be so trendy now.

    My favorite bacon memory was when I was living in the co-op in Berkeley and my friend Caitlin and I were cooking dinner for 30 people every Wednesday. One day I showed up to cook and the food order was never delivered. I picked through the fridge and found bacon, chicken, and sharp cheddar cheese. I wrapped that all together and baked it, and the meat eaters were thrilled out of their minds. It was a happy day. I think Caitlin cooked some vegetables, but who remembers the rest of the meal?

    My favorite has always been garlic. I love roasting garlic and putting it in lots of things. But the best has to be a burger that I get at this place in San Francisco that has cloves of sauteed garlic on the top, cooked long enough so that they're not too strong. It's heaven. It's a damned good thing I don't live anywhere near that restaurant.

    You know, though, those chocolate bars with bacon in them aren't too bad ;-)

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  5. My mother-in-law declared once that cooking bacon was way too work-y for what you got.

    I disagree. I love it.

    I have a scar on the back of my right wrist from bacon grease.

    Still love it!

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  6. J.--I am not a fan of what one has to go through to cook bacon, either. And, like fish, the aroma lingers in the house for days. (Was there bacon room spray on one of those websites that I linked to? If not, I should market that idea! Or not...!)

    Mikey G--That's sort of a variation on chicken cordon bleu! And you're right, I'm not picking at bacon, per se, I'm just wondering why everyone is so swoony over it all of a sudden. Or acting like it is a seasonal, rare food, like corn on the cob or heirloom tomatoes. Holy crap, next thing you know, foodies will be gaga over white bread and baloney.

    j.@jj.com--I remember when our local Iron Chef, Michael Symon was (briefly) the star of FN's 'Dinner Impossible' several years ago. He made chocolate covered bacon as a dessert course for a bunch of employees at Coney Island (I think). I remember staring at the tv and saying, "That is the goofiest thing ever, but I bet it tastes good." The people who ate it raved over it. Now, it's an offering at a couple of local chocolatiers, esp for Fathers' Day.

    The bug--Oh, I know I am in a distinct minority. I'd venture to say that probably 80% of the non-vegetarian population of the US--at least--is pro-bacon. I think my antipathy toward it is a holdover from a longterm illness years ago when I couldn't stand any strongly-flavored foods. The bacon prejudice was the one that hung on.

    aplo--you must have gotten one of the last ones!

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  7. Anonymous12:32 PM

    I would love a kitten update, Nance. To see how piper and Marlowe are these days.

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  8. Anonymous--Aren't you kind! If you check the sidebar each time I post, you'll at least see a picture. I added a "Dept. Of Kittens" feature there and toss up a little picture of one or both of them. Aside from that, I can tell you now that they're fine and still a joy in my life. I'm concerned about Piper being a fatty: He has what I call a Flabknot. His tummy is quite pronounced, and this on only a cup of plain old cat chow a day. I feed he and Marlowe in a shared dish twice a day, 1 cup total each time. No wet food, and skinny cat treats maybe twice a week (the treats are only 2 calories each). He's just such a Zen Cat--he plays very little. He prefers watching Marlowe, who plays fetch, stalks and attacks various things, and is extremely athletic. His whole attitude is, "Wow. That...is a lot of moving around that you are doing." Then he wanders over to me, climbs into my lap, lies on his back, and snuggles in for a nap. Marlowe is still her gorgeous, diva self who gives us a thrill every now and then by allowing us to hold her and pet her. She purposely breaks the "no cats on tables/counters" rule and then snarks at us when we reprimand her. It is she who informs me when I have missed Dish Filling Times or have left the laundry room door open. She heartily disapproves of me most of the time and, like most women, adores Rick. They recently met Sam's new kitten, Madden, and it was a disaster. Piper was okay about it until Marlowe weighed in with her first hiss ever. She was growling and evil and scared Piper so badly that he felt threatened as well. Needless to say, Madden has not been back and probably won't be. Thanks for asking!

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  9. Firstly, I DO know someone who is almost as passionate about the apostrophe. Secondly, I have a student who likes to find outrageous recipes on the Internet, taste-test them, then write about them in the student newspaper. His latest find? Chocolate chip cookies that contain - wait for it - bacon. I refused to take one from the platter he brought to class. BTW, he's also the kid who ADORES the "burgizza." That's a cheeseburger served between two personal pan pizzas (the pizzas serve, in this case, as the "bun"). Ick. Boys!

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  10. Melissa B, I have to know if the other kids in class liked the cookies!

    Nance, while I adore bacon, and am still hoping that your dislike for it in the larger scheme of things will mean more for me, I agree that it's odd how popular it has suddenly become. I do think we should watch and see if bologna and mayo sandwiches on white bread become the next IT thing. (Though I don't care for such a sandwich, I loved them when I was 10.)

    Regarding your cats, metabolism is a crazy thing. My dog is 35 lbs (OK, probably 40), and barely keeps from gaining weight on 1 cup of food a day. Poor thing goes around licking the cabinets and floors. Then again, that's Proper Dog Behavior, so she doesn't care. She has become more sedentary since she went blind (understandably), and I dread her next vet visit, when they will surely tell us to put her on a diet. Sigh.

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  11. j.@jj.com--it was you who first mentioned the bacon chocolate chip cookies in comments, wasn't it? I probably would try one, no problem. There are very few new foods I won't at least try. As to Fat Pets...sigh. I've already started to decrease their food just a little at each feeding. Marlowe isn't really fat, but she's not skinny, either. But she is pretty bigmouthed about her dish being empty when it's close to feeding time. Like you, I hate the idea of my pet(s) feeling hungry and not understanding why I'm not putting food down to take care of it. And in your case, Gen already has enough of a challenge, bless her.

    Melissa B.--As Language Persons, you and I are automatically passionate about apostrophes, among other things, so we are Givens. Did you see the Truly Hideous Chocolate-Covered Oreo Topped With Bacon Crumbles on the one page I linked to in this post? I think that really makes a bacon chocolate-chip cookie look mild by comparison. Of course, it is probably Many A Guy's Dream Cookie.

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  12. I love bacon. And interestingly enough I was asking a co-worker (who is a Vegetarian) if she ever has her "weak moments." And sure as I'm sitting here, she said yes, only when she smells bacon cooking!!!

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  13. *That second "And" was supposed to be "As..." sigh.

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  14. Nance,

    I ate a bacon sandwich today with relish.

    Then, I ate another one with
    lettuce,tomato and mayo and that was better.

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  15. Nancy--I eat hotdogs with relish, but I don't particularly enjoy them. Sigh.;-)

    Tera--Dialectically speaking, the first one read just fine.
    Bacon is Dangerous!

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  16. Nancy1:39 PM

    Hot dogs are only good with bacon wrapped around them and eaten with gusto!

    We had a new restaurant and bar opening near us and they advertised FOOD,AlE,AND MIRTH.

    My husband couldn't wait for the place to open because he said his mouth was watering for some mirth.

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  17. i feel like this is a personal attack against me in an effort to exact revenge for past wrongs. bacon, simply put, is perfect. it smells amazing, its easy to cook, it tastes wonderful, its versatile, it can be used to wrap other foods, it can go on top of other foods. nachos? perfect. nachos + bacon = perfecter. it can be used for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and nobody ever says "im havign breakfast for dinner!" when they have bacon with, at, or for dinner.

    without bacon, my existence would not be worth living. not even a little bit. and while im at it...fuck turkey bacon. if youre going to eat bacon...EAT THE BACON!

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  18. Nancy7:28 PM

    Sorry to stray so far from the fascinating subject that you have chosen,BUT..

    Are you watching "Hot In Cleveland"? If so, what do you think of it? If not, take a look and let us know if you enjoyed it.

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  19. Nancy--I happened to catch an episode of HiC completely by accident. Naturally, the area's media have gone nuts over this show,but are slightly miffed that they haven't done more to use real touchstones in it, such as actual names of restaurants, etc. The Plain Dealer did a column or two regarding the authenticity of a few things and the writer was contacted by the show. Anyway, I thought the show was okay for what it was--another sitcom for laughs. It's kind of on the level of Two And A Half Men for me, just before TaaHM got unwatchable, which is what it is now. I don't watch HiC, so it's either on at a time when one of my Major Shows is, or I just wasn't impressed enough to continue, which is saying something, considering Betty White is in it. (Gotta love her!)

    JPD--If I were going to exact revenge upon you for All Wrongs You Have Perpetrated Against Me, a post about bacon would not even begin to cover the 15 hours of hardcore labor you forced me to endure to even bring you forth into the world. Nor would it ameliorate the topography of stretch marks that make my torso look like an electrician's schema for a rock band's laserlight show. And do not even entertain one scintilla of an idea that this single post could possibly make me feel the least bit better about any of the times I had to clean up the barf in or around your bed (and I'm talking about childhood barf, not hangover barf, just to be clear).

    PS--What if you're having eggs, pancakes, and bacon for dinner? What would you call that? Three words B...for D.....?? Just sayin'.

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