I was searching the web the other day for ideas for my blog. One idea that caught my eye was BACON. Yep. The internet suggested a blog post about bacon. Seriously?
But the more I thought about it, the more it didn’t seem so crazy. Bacon is an important part of my life. One of my favorite memories from my formative years is smelling bacon cooking in the little house in which I was reared as my mother cooked Sunday morning breakfast. (By the way, I hate using the word reared to describe being brought up by my parents. I prefer raised, but every time I try to say someone was raised, I hear the voice of the man who was my boss for nearly 20 years — and who had a master’s degree in journalism from Stanford — telling me “cattle are raised; humans are reared.) The smell of coffee brewing and bacon cooking scream BREAKFAST to me.
In my opinion, the United States of America rocks when it comes to bacon. I have had bacon in several foreign countries, and while all kinds of bacon were good, the fatty strips that we cook and eat in the United States is the best. U-S-A! U.S.A.! U.S.A!
The famed English breakfast often doesn’t even feature bacon. You’ll get a couple of eggs, a couple of sausages, some crisp toast that you butter yourself, a tomato, some pork-and-beans, and blood sausage. And let me tell you a bit about blood sausage. Here’s how Wikipedia describes blood sausage: A blood sausage is a sausage filled with blood that is cooked or dried and mixed with a filler until it is thick enough to solidify when cooled. Doesn’t that sound scrumptious. It looks like a scab…..
Despite the fact that I’m certain my grandparents ate blood sausage, I never paid a bit of attention to it. So the first time we were in England and saw a few pieces on our breakfast plate, I asked the owner of the bed-and-breakfast about it. He told me it was blood sausage. “It’s like summer sausage in America,” he told me. Almost always game, I took a bite. No. Just no. It bore absolutely no resemblance to summer sausage, which is made with MEAT and which is also delicious. Both Bill and I always gave our blood sausage to Allen, who was traveling with us and would eat anything that was offered to him for free.
I like Italy’s version of bacon, which is called pancetta. Pancetta isn’t smoked like American bacon, but it’s very good. It’s especially good when served as part of Spaghetti Carbonara, particularly because it’s complimented with cheese, eggs, and wine. How could you go wrong. Tradition says the Italians starting serving Spaghetti Carbonara to American soldiers who were missing their mother’s bacon-and-egg breakfasts.
Canadian bacon is good, but it can’t compete with American bacon. Of course, it’s considerably healthier, but who wants healthy bacon? If you live in America, you transform Canadian bacon into an Egg McMuffin. Don’t get me wrong. I buy and eat Canadian bacon. But like turkey bacon, it tastes fine but don’t try to convince me it’s bacon.
Everyone says it, but they say it because it’s true: bacon makes everything taste better. You can eat a spinach salad that has red onions, mushrooms, hard-boiled egg, but it isn’t until you add the bacon that it becomes that spinach salad that we all love. Have you ever put bacon in your potato salad? It’s delicious. Here’s my favorite potato salad for two (but actually serves three or four) from Zona Cooks. Bacon is a key ingredient, and takes regular potato salad up a notch or two.
And if you are a tried-and-true bacon lover, try the Bacon of the Month Club. Hand to God.
I’m proud to be an American.