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Bacon

Thursday, February 17th, 2005

Nothing says “I love you” like bacon

My mom sent me four packages of bacon from the Grateful Palate for Valentine’s! The bacon arrived in Seattle today but wasn’t delivered, so I had to rescue it from the UPS distribution center. When I got home I opened up the box to find a shiny metallic bubble-wrap package. I opened that up to the intense smell of hickory-smoked bacon which nearly knocked me off my feet. The ice pack had completely melted and the bacon was on the verge of getting warm, so I had saved it just in time. Whew.

I had already eaten dinner so I put the bacon in the fridge. After a few minutes, I padded back into the kitchen to check on my bacon. Yep, still in the fridge, right where I left it. After a few more minutes, I got out my Grateful Palate handbook so that I could read the description for each bacon. Then I decided I needed to take pictures of my bacon. Finally I just gave up and cut open every package and reverently removed a slice from each.

Then I did something I’d never thought I’d do. I decided to microwave it. Now before anyone starts yelling about how wrong microwaving bacon is, let me just tell you why. I didn’t want to pan fry them all together because I wanted the integrity of each flavor to stay intact and not commingle. Plus I wanted each slice to be ready at the same time so I could compare and contrast. And using four pans to cook four pieces of bacon seemed ridiculous, even for me.

So I microwaved. I know people swear by this method, but I really do think it’s awful. It smelled like burnt paper towels and smoke. Plus you can’t save the bacon grease for frying other things because it gets embedded in the paper towels and turns into a nasty mess. I’ll never microwave bacon again, but for the purpose of my experiment it worked out well. The slices were nicely browned and somewhat crisp.

I carefully laid the bacon on my plate so that I could tell which was which. I ate half a slice of bacon from top to bottom, then I went back and ate the second half in the reverse order, taking notes along the way.

Meacham Old Fashioned Maple Cured Bacon (MOFMCB)
1st bite: Wow. This is what REAL bacon tastes like. It’s incredibly flavorful. And Juicy.

Burger’s Sugar Cured Bacon (BSCB)
2nd bite: Smoky, but not very sweet.

New Braunfels Comal Country Bacon (NBCCB)
3rd bite: Kind of boring tasting, but good crunch.

Gatton Farms “Dan Phillips Secret Special Cure” (GFDPSSC)
4th bite: Holy crap! This is way too smoky.

GFDPSSC
5th bite: Still smoky, but now I’m catching overtones of chemicals.
Overall impression: My least favorite. It tasted too smoky and had a gasoline-like aftertaste. Blech.

NBCCB
6th bite: This is really good bacon.
Overall impression: The least smoky of the bunch, not too sweet with a really good texture. My second favorite.

BSCB
7th bite: I like the thinness and delicacy of this bacon.
Overall impression: Good bacon flavor, smoky with just a hint of sweet. Thin and crisp.

MOFMCB
8th bite: Yeah, this is definitely my favorite.
Overall impression: Sweet and smoky with a strong spice that I couldn’t quite place.

I am looking forward to conducting many more bacon taste-tests in the future.

I LOVE YOU MOM!

Monday, January 24th, 2005

A Kitchen Table

My new kitchen table has arrived and I am happy as can be! My mom and dad bought it for me for Christmas and it’s the perfect gift.

I had been making do with a folding card table for the past three years. It only seated four and had a bad leg that would collapse if you touched it—which made for tense dinner parties on my end. I was always yelling “NO! I’ll sit there!” and startling my dinner guests.

My new table seats six very comfortably and has a leaf extension that allows seating for eight or maybe even ten if my kitchen was big enough to hold that many people. I may have to wait until I move to use the extension.

I am so so happy with my new kitchen table and am already setting dates for dinner parties that I have been waiting to have. Every time I walk into my kitchen, I smile.

Thank you mom and dad… you are too good to me! And yes, this means you have drop-in dining privileges at any time.

Thursday, January 20th, 2005

I want to put on my my my my my… bacon shoes!

A friend just sent me a link to the most awesome footwear ever: Dave’s Quality Meat Bacon Nike Air Max 90.

My favorite part? ”… the front toe of each shoe is different cuz the have these scuff marks which represents the fat deposits that’s on bacon… So no 2 are alike and everyone who has them are special.” (Another friend pointed out that this interview has the worst editing ever.)

The bad part? It looks like you can only get them in New York and according to the website: “WE DO NOT SHIP. DON’T ASK.” Lucky for me, my brother lives in Brooklyn…

Oh shoot. I just checked the site again and it looks like they sold out while I was writing this. Damn.

Monday, January 17th, 2005

The Saveur 100

I just received the latest Saveur, which was a special issue with their top 100 favorite “foods, restaurants, recipes, people, places & things”. This is what caught my eye:

#1 Apparently, cooking in the fireplace is the new hot thing—although, this is most certainly not going to happen in my apartment

#4 Pepperidge Farm Bread—I’ve always seen this bread recommended in recipes, but I’ve never seen it in the store…

#9 Best substitute for Pizza? Okonomiyaki! I am lucky that Zach cooks really delicious ones.

#12 Certified Humane Raised and Handled Products

#21 Furikake! This is on my top 100 list as well, but I would have rated it higher.

#25 Most irresistible aroma: frying bacon. Again, on my list, but more like #2, right after eating bacon.

#49 Old South Tomolives—the latest martini garnish

#55 Senapata—a delicious sounding quince paste with a touch of mustard

#72 For those of you lucky people with fireplaces, check out spitjack

#74 Del Norte raw flour tortillas

#96 Best sliced bread since sliced bread: Shokupan

Yumm!

Tuesday, January 11th, 2005

Morton Thompson’s Turkey

Today I had lunch over at Ballet and had some delicious Pho (I decided that it’s better than Than Brothers). I was reading my book and came across a brief description of Morton Thompson’s Turkey. It sounded strange and amazing; coated with a crust that turns black, but seals in the moisture and basically steam roasts the Turkey. It looks really labor intensive, but I think I want to try it out sometime this year.

Wednesday, December 8th, 2004

Shop Blue

After reading Consumer Whore’s article on the ShitBegone™ economic embargo against red states, my friend did some research on where to shop blue and sent me this handy link: http://freenortheast.com/thelist.php.

So in summary, these companies are GOOD:
American Rice
Ben & Jerry’s
Campbell Soup
Costco
King Arthur Flour
Trader Joe’s
Whole Foods

And these companies should be avoided:
7-Eleven
Applebee’s
California Pizza Kitchen
Domino’s brands
General Mills Inc. (yes, this includes Pillsbury, Cheerios, Yoplait, Betty Crocker and Haagen-Dazs)
Goya Foods, Inc
H. J. Heinz Company (what?!)
Hershey Foods
Krispy Kreme
Kroger / QFC
McDonalds
McIlhenny Company (put down that Tabasco!)
Nestle Purina (no more Friskies for Dylan… poor kitty)
Olive Garden
Outback Steakhouse
Papa John’s
Safeway
TGI Friday’s
Wendy’s
White Castle
YUM brands (which includes KFC, Pizza Hut & Taco Bell—more like YUK)

You can also go to the site and get a blue-friendly grocery list for stores in your state. Speak with your dollars!

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

Christmas has arrived early

The day I anticipate all year came last night when I found the latest Grateful Palate catalog in my mailbox. Dan Philips, a.k.a Captain Bacon, is the genius behind the Bacon of the Month Club. The guy that travels all over the country to bring us the finest specimens of bacon. His Grateful Palate catalog is beautifully designed and the mouthwatering descriptions of the bacon offerings are as sophisticated as wine tasting notes.

I urge everyone who isn’t already on their mailing list to sign up (the new catalog site doesn’t look like it’s up yet, but check back—it’s worth it).

Captain Bacon also co-hosts Aphrodisiac Bacon Dinners for those lucky enough to live in Washington DC. Maybe I should move there. It would be like Christmas once a month.