Sunday, June 30, 2013
Bring Home The Bacon... Please!
Bacon. I could end this post with just that one word and nothing else would have to be said to get my point across. But since I love it so, I will go on. The taste... the texture... the smell... the sound of the sizzle... nothing puts a smile on my face quite like a nice medium-cooked piece of bacon, which is my preference over crispy... and maybe in a nice applewood or mesquite smoked flavor. And in the convenient one pound serving size (let's face it, after you make bacon, there are no leftovers)... YUM!
Having breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite things to do and is most certainly 'bucking the system' and I feel like I'm cheating, just as in the health-conscious world that we live in, eating bacon is like shoving the middle finger in the face of everything healthy and holy. The word 'bacon' comes from the Old High German bacho, meaning 'buttock'. It comes from the pork belly of the pig mostly, at least in the U.S. where we love everything fatty, although less fatty cuts can be found in the back and shoulder. There is actually quite a bit of science behind why we like it so much, having to do with the Maillard Reaction which occurs when sugars in fat and amino acids are broken down with heat. The same reaction occurs in chocolate, roasted coffee and caramel. The bacon and egg breakfast was popularized by Sigmund Freud when he conveyed the importance of a hearty breakfast to his nephew, Edward Bernays, who eventually got a job in a P.R. company and one of his first customers was the bacon industry. After surveying doctors, it was deemed healthy and the bacon mania began. It's a comfort food, through and through.
The phrase 'bring home the bacon', widely popularized by the Enjoli perfume commercial of the 80's ("I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you're a man... 'cause I'm a woman... Enjoli"), actually originated in the boxing ring near the end of the last century. Bacon was considered a valued prize, and for that reason, Joe Gans' mother, before his fight said "Joe, the eyes of the world are on you and everybody says you ought to win, so bring home the bacon". To 'live high off the hog' is a phrase used to mean living a rich, prosperous lifestyle. The general belief is that the less fatty, or better, cuts of bacon are on the upper flank which is literally high up on the hog. In the 60's and 70's, police officers were referred to as 'pigs', and the phrase 'I smell bacon', means that the police are in the area.
Today, you can get so many things bacon flavored. The other day, I had a hamburger at a local restaurant that had bacon-wrapped grilled bananas and chunky peanut butter. At another restaurant, a hunk of grilled bacon with cheese and French fries on thick Italian bread. At the local donut shop, warm donuts dipped in a maple glaze adorned with fresh bacon bits on top. I'm not one for shrimp, but our local Chinese buffet wraps them in bacon, and I can eat them. I've had bacon-infused vodka, vanilla ice cream with bacon bits in it and, at the candy store, there are all kinds of things bacon flavored now, including bacon gum and taffy and chocolate-covered bacon strips. For a less fattening type, there's even turkey bacon. And for my vegan friends (that ran out of the room in the beginning), I believe there's a tofu version. I'm sorry, there just isn't anything that bacon doesn't go with. To me, bacon ranks right up there with the orgasm and chocolate. I wait with slobbering mouth and a whole lot of impatience for that sizzling piece of goodness.