originally published April 11, 2012
I have written about a lot of subjects this year. 101, though if you count the hundred topics from two days ago and the dozens I scraped up for my haiku experiment, the number is closer to 300. Some subjects (the 1715 Jacobite Uprising, the Subservient Chicken) I have been passionate about, others (President John Tyler) have failed to move me.
Today I will write from my heart. I will write with passion, with the viscous goo of magma-hot inspiration spewing from my nostrils and down my shirt. For today, I write about bacon.
“But Marty,” you say, assuming you are both brazen enough to do so and that you know my name, “aren’t Jews forbidden to eat bacon?” Yes. But when it comes to bacon, my Jewiness goes on a high, dusty shelf. Come to think of it, my Jewiness doesn’t usually come off that shelf, except when I’m flipping through my Woody Allen DVDs or dreaming of visiting the Catskills in the 1950s
And so I present my letter. To bacon.
Your salty scent and savory crunch have coaxed me into buildings, distorted my perception of satisfactory portion sizes, and pinched my most base sense of temptation. While your sodium and fat content may lure me to a premature traffic jam of goop in my arteries, you remain an irresistible force.
Were I imprisoned in a fantasy-scape of hardboiled fiction, you would be my femme fatale. My meat fatale.
You are a complete thought, an understanding between myself and the greater universe. When my grandmother asks why I don’t keep kosher, you are my sole justification. “Because, bacon.” Had she ever experienced your essence, she would understand.
I have been asked by fellow bacon enthusiasts (or, right-minded gourmands, as I call us) if Canadian bacon is the norm up here. In reply I ask, how could such a second-rate cut of pork inspire the same devotion as genuine bacon?
I grant you, a fine Canadian bacon can be a pristine purveyance of porcine pleasure, but it isn’t the same. We call it ‘peameal bacon’ because it used to be rolled in dried yellow peas (why???). Now they roll it in cornmeal. It’s nice, but it’s “ham” nice. It’s not you.
I know, they call back bacon ‘bacon’ in England, but what do they do in England that isn’t backwards anyway? In Ireland, back bacon slices are called ‘back rashers’, probably because it’s easy to pronounce when you’re drunk. But I’m not here to rattle on about your competition.
So much has been created in your honor. No longer are you condemned to wallow with ham slices and sausages as an optional companion for hashbrowns beside a Moons Over My-Hammy. You have been liberated from L. and T., your sandwich friends; you’ve been removed from your burger and whistle-dog prisons, and idolized throughout western society.
As it was meant to be.
I’ve sprinkled your bits on salad (I apologize if that sounds naughty), singled you out as the only valid ingredient in baked potato soup, and even indulged in a wild gustatory ménage-a-trois with you and chocolate.
I have sampled your dalliance with mayonnaise, and while I find the name ‘Baconnaise’ to be a frothy tickle upon my tongue, I cannot keep this product in my home for fear that I’d disappear into a cupboard with but the jar and a soup-spoon.
Someone told me once about Bacon Grill and I nearly wept. Leave it to those crazy Dutch to turn you into a Spam-like glob. Honestly, that is a crime against more than humanity – it is a crime against baconity.
The ingredients for this abomination include “mechanically recovered pork” and “mechanically recovered chicken”. Not only does my mind boggle at the inclusion of poultry into the holy sanctity of your realm, but I can’t help but wonder from whence these meats have been recovered.
Turkey bacon and tofu bacon will come no nearer to my lips than Bacon Grill. Bacon needs no modifiers to bring it to life. It is life, in fact, that needs modifiers. The modification of bacony goodness.
First and most logically are the joyous beverages your bounty can provide. A bacon martini (also called a bacontini or a Pig On The Rocks) features bacon-infused vodka. To get straight to the point on a Friday eve, I might prefer the Mitch Morgan: a shot of whiskey with a bacon garnish.
I confess, my affections are pure. While I appreciate the mountains of tributes to you in the form of various non-food products, I prefer to indulge in your essence solely by your presence. Things get a little weird when people try to baconize the rest of the world.
I have sampled bacon gum and bacon mints, and they taste like bacon might in a darker, more wretched dimension. The bacon air fresheners that may adequately proclaim one’s love for you visually, fail to capture the glory of your olfactory delight. To be honest, some of these products may not even be real:
Bacon bandages. I have used them, and not only is their adhesive quality sub-par when compared to Band-Aid brand, they simply make me hungry.
Bacon baby formula. I agree completely with this product’s intention: to indoctrinate young taste buds into the holy benefits of a bacon lifestyle.
Bacon-flavored Diet Coke. I know this isn’t real, but I just love the picture.
Bacon hot sauce. Absolutely. Why settle for making food spicier, when you can make food both spicier and baconier?
Bacon toothpaste. Sure, some people may shy away from this concept, and it may be because the product actually tastes extremely unpleasant (which I imagine it does). But no true devotee to the sweet bosom of bacony bliss would refuse to try it. Just once.
Bacon luggage. This one is probably fake. It would be a great way to confuse drug-sniffing dogs though.
A bacon-themed coffin. I suppose once you’ve sampled every other bacon product on Earth, this would be your last stop on the tasty train.
Bacon personal lubricant. Ummm… this might be a bit much.
Dear, sweet bacon, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my cholesterol count for the many hours of gourmet goodness you have provided. While someday you may be the cause of my ultimate demise, I will savor my journey to that great beyond, one thick-cut, extra-crispy slice at a time.