Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bacon Apple Pie

Jane sent along another bit of bacon - a photo of Bacon Apple Pie from Flickr

I can imagine it being pretty tasty, but you never know until you try, eh?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bacon and Banana Pepper flatbread pizza

I'm currently visiting my folks in DC, and last night, we hit the Kennedy Center to see the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in action (conclusion: very modern. Maybe a little too modern.). We decided to grab dinner at the Kennedy Center cafeteria, which is probably the poshest cafeteria ever. And it was there that I first experienced bacon on pizza.

I'm not generally wild about flatbread pizza (Chicago deep dish all the way baby), but this was pretty effin' tasty. The combination of bacon and banana peppers was genius, and nicely offset with some parmesan (the menu claimed it was mozzarella, but I really don't think so). All in all, a tasty flavor experience, and one I intend to repeat and tinker with in my own kitchen sometime.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bacon Cheese Roll

This kind of blows my mind.

It's so simple, so elegant... and my god, I'll bet it tastes amazing. 

(thanks to Jane for passing it on)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chicken, Bacon, Wine

I've long been into the idea of trying to make coque au vin sometime, but it requires... effort. So, that time has not yet come. But I did end up making this chicken dinner that was vaguely in the spirit of coque au vin, in the sense that it involved chicken, bacon, and wine. So it was about as similar to the original as, shall we say, Thumper is to Pepe le Pew. But hey, it was ridiculously simple to make, and very tasty. Especially for something that was basically thrown together from what I had around the kitchen.

It's not the prettiest dinner I've ever made, I know.

One needs:

5 strips bacon
Chicken - I had a bunch of tenderloins, but a breast or two would work too?
2 onions
1 cup red wine  (I used the rest of the TJ's zin)
1 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic
thyme, oregano, rosemary, salt, pepper

In a large pan that'll hold a cup or two of liquid, fry the bacon. As it cooks, chop up the onion. When the bacon is almost done, pull it out, leaving the grease (of course), and throw in the onion and chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides. As it cooks, crush in the garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once it's well browned, crumble the bacon into it, and add the wine, chicken broth, and herbs - I added just a bit of rosemary, a shake of oregano, and a hefty shake of thyme. Cover and saute over medium-low heat for approximately 20 minutes, or until the chicken is wholly cooked and most of the liquid has reduced. 

I completed it by cooking some egg noodles and throwing them in at the end, but potatoes could work too. Coque au vin it ain't, but it's pretty good anyhow.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Asparagus with Bacon Vinaigrette

This was quite possibly the most fantastic dinner I have ever made for myself.

On the way home today I stopped off at the store and bought myself a 1.3 pound steak. Because I'm worth it. To do it justice, I decided to try something I've been intrigued by for awhile, namely, a bacon vinaigrette - I figured it'd be gorgeous on asparagus. How very right I was. Combined with a glass of Trader Joe's Reserve 2006 Sonoma County Zinfandel, it's nothing short of bliss. And took a mere 10 minutes to make!

One needs:

a big ol' steak
1/2 bunch of asparagus (I tried the frozen kind for the first time - not as good as fresh, to be sure, but really not bad!)
3 strips of bacon
1 shallot
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
garlic salt
lemon pepper
some olive oil

Open the wine and pour yourself a glass.

Preheat the oven to 450. Chop the bacon up fine and fry it. Lay the asparagus out on a baking sheet and drizzle the newly acquired bacon grease over it, reserving the bacon. Stick the asparagus in the oven. As it roasts (approximately 8 minutes), chop the shallot, add it and a splash of olive oil to the bacon. Saute over low heat for a minute or so, then add the vinegar, water, salt and pepper, and stir.  

Next, sprinkle salt and pepper over your steak. Melt some butter (and, for a real treat, a spoon or two of bacon grease) in a pan. Sear the steak on both sides, and lay it on a plate. 

Pull the asparagus out of the oven, toss with the vinaigrette, add to your plate. Briefly set aside.

Cut a thick slice of good bread and use it to mop up the drippings in the steak pan as an appetizer. 

Set your glass and plate down on the table. Give yourself a round of applause for preparing such a tremendous meal. Eat, savoring every wonderful bite. Cut another thick slice of bread and clean off your plate. Lean back, take a sip of wine, and light yourself a cigarette. Could life be any better?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Maple Bacon Cupcake

So I'm hanging out on my man's couch the other night and he suddenly says "Oh yeah! I have something for you!" and whips out a big box. Inside this box was a cupcake. Resting on top of this cupcake were a few specks of bacon. omg.

I love bacon, but I really love cupcakes. Me and cupcakes go way back. One of the requirements at my superhippy preschool was that each child's parents had to bring in food for all the kids (once a year? I dunno). My parents, not being versed in the ways of American hippies, bought a crapload of Hostess chocolate cupcakes. So first off, vegans are not down with chocolate cupcakes. Second off, nobody in charge of a preschool is into the idea of feeding a herd of 3 year olds a bunch of sugary chocolate goodness right before naptime. So the offering was denied, and I had to eat them all by myself. Years later, when I was in elementary school, it was expected of parents to bring in the treat for their child's birthday. So my mom and I made chocolate cupcakes. By some strange calculation, we made about 80 of them. So I spent the next week eating pretty much nothing else. Oh, what bliss it was. Long story short, I love cupcakes, and I've eaten an awful lot of 'em in my day.

It's not a preference, it's a passion.

Uh... anyways. 

Chicago has been participating happily in the cupcake craze sweeping the nation - there are not at least 3 places that do nothing but cupcakes - but honestly, I haven't really looked into it. Partly because I'm lazy, partly because I'm poor, and partly because buying cupcakes is so much less pleasing to me than eating homemade ones at parties and such. So I had not actually been to More Cupcakes (1 E Delaware Place, between State and Wabash, Chicago, IL 60611). Their website is basically a long obnoxious ad (have you ever wanted... more?) and gives you absolutely no information, so I don't see the point in linking to it. But apparently they have a lot of bacon options - I hear tell of a BLT cupcake. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but hey, I'm open to the possibility that it could be tasty.

Anyhow, Tone got me a bacon maple cupcake.

So, first off, while I am a great lover of cupcakes, I have to say, this whole 1/2 inch thick pile of frosting on top is just not comme il faut. It's a common thing to see, particularly in the fancy pants yuppy cupcakes so popular these days, because the frosting is where you get to show off a bit, and cupcakes don't have a lot of surface area, so you've gotta go with volume. But the problem with that is, when you stack it so high, it's no longer possible to take a bite of the cupcake from top to bottom, so you basically end up eating the frosting and then the cake. Now, some people like to lick off all the frosting first, and that's fine, but here, the task is a bit arduous. That's a lot of frosting, son. And it's super rich. It's hard work - and this is coming from a person who enjoys eating bowls of whipped cream. Anyhow, point being, boo on the frosting to cake ratio (though I should note, mounds of frosting doesn't necessarily disqualify a cupcake from greatness in my mind. CakeLove packs a pretty massive amount of frosting onto their cupcakes, and they're still amazing. But then, everything at CakeLove is amazing.).

That said, the frosting was delicious. Buttery maple goodness - very nice, even if it was a bit overwhelming.

The cake part, on the other hand, was a bit of a let-down. Props for the fact that it's riddled with bacon. It's like chips ahoy! betcha get a chip in every bite, except with pork. But first off, the bacon is not so amazing. It's super salty and kinda chewy and tastes strangely artificial. Secondly, the cake itself is just not suited to it. It's sweet and salty and tastes vaguely of cornmeal, but not really in a good way. It tastes indecisive rather than complex - as though the creator couldn't really decide what kind of flavor s/he was going for a just kinda mishmashed a bunch of em. Sweet? Salty? Savoury? Meh, why not a little of everything.

Ultimately, kind of a disappointment. Maybe I'll give one of More Cupcakes' more traditional offerings a try someday, perhaps they're better with the basics.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Another fabulous concoction from Maura Laverty's Feasting Galore (see also: Haggerty), this is apparently a traditional Saturday night supper, and is guaranteed to prevent a hangover. I scaled it down from the original recipe (my version serves one hungry me), which called for a pound of bacon and half a pound of pork sausages, and I omitted the tablespoon of parsley because I didn't have any (and pretty much never do - I have very little respect for parsley), but what I made was pretty fabulous. Though I did overdo it a bit on the salt - the bacon and sausage are pretty salty on their own, so really, easy does it. But this is a fantastic, simple meal, and a pretty damn wonderful way to celebrate the first snowfall (yay! snow!).


1 polish sausage
3 strips bacon
2 small onions
8 baby potatoes
salt, pepper

Chop the bacon and sausage into small bits. Blanch for 6 minutes in boiling water (so far as I know, blanch pretty much means cook... the point being, throw em in a pot, boil some water in a kettle and pour it over the meatses and cook for 6 minutes). Meanwhile, chop the onions and potatoes into bite-size chunks. When the 6 minutes are up, drain the water from the blanching, throw in the potatoes and onions, add salt (this might not even be necessary. In any case, you definitely don't need much of it.) and pepper and cold water. Laverty says to just barely cover it in cold water and simmer for 45 minutes, and that the potatoes ought to be mushy, and the result should be more potage than stew. I covered 'em in water and then added maybe a cup or so more for good measure and cooked it at high heat for maybe half an hour? You've gotta be careful towards the end that it doesn't burn. Basically, after half an hour, listen to the pot sing - when it starts to hiss a bit, you're almost out of water, and the food is ready. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I received a very nice email this morning from a guy named Guy (!)* at Alltop informing me that Bacon the Blog (as I call this) has been added to their update feed, and asking if I'd return the favor. Though, given that he mentions that one can display a badge of the site, and that they "serve over 250,000 badges a day" (what does it mean????**), they probably don't really need me to promote them. There's also a twitter option, if you're hip to that sort of thing. No, I am not on Twitter, and I doubt I ever will be. I find it repugnant as a concept. I have this thing called privacy, and I treasure it. ANYWAYS. Alltop is a one-stop shop for RSS Feeds on a given topic, and they've got one devoted to bacon. Linky linky linky. Good stuff.

*Apologies Guy, you probably hear lame crap like that all the time. 

**I just watched Pineapple Express, so my first thought was of Seth Rogan in a strange costume brandishing a large ham. I dunno. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chi-Town Bacon Opportunities

This article intrigues me.

The country fried bacon at the Risque Cafe sounds amazing, but the all-you-can-eat Monday night bacon at Chinaski's, well. Well! I love bacon AND Bukowski! Count me in!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Canned/Precooked Bacon face-off

Ligaya* alerts me to another installment in the Onion AV Club's journey to bacon bliss. This one is a taste test of canned bacon and precooked bacon. Big surprise - can bacon seems to be exactly as disgusting as you'd expect. And the precooked bacon just makes me sad. You save a few minutes, sure. And you take a major hit in taste and mountains of added chemical nonsense. 

*Ligaya didn't request a specific link, but she works with this organization and I wanted to give it a shout-out. I met a lot of the people working there when I was in China last winter, and they're absolute rock stars. Plus, the organization is grass-roots local empowerment at its best, supporting people rather than rolling in with piles of money and running their world for them. It's an amazing organization.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bacon mayo in the NYTimes

And my dear friend Katie sent me a link to this article in the NYTimes about their competition for the best use of bacon mayo (original recipe for bacon mayo can be found here). I'm not into mayonnaise myself, but I endorse the general sentiment.

Meanwhile, dear readers, the weather in Chicago is turning crispy and autumnal, which means it's time to start working on my winter coat, ie, eat more bacon. So more updates soon.

In the meantime, thanks for the contributions!


Dan from Porkopolis sends the following email:

Hi culture_vulture,

In this age, the lack of proper support and funding for bacon research is shameful. Your efforts at rooting on through the wastelands of healthful, low fat and meatless menus is commendable. Bravo!! I'd like to suggest a few bacon related items I thought you might like to include at Theories of Bacon:

I just added a new poem to my collection in the Porkopolis Library.
"Bacon" by the cowboy poet Badger Clark:
there is also "Song of Bacon" by Roy Blount, Jr.:

Salvador Dali's "Soft Self-portrait with Grilled Bacon" is in the Art Museum:

And finally, I found this advertising image of Bacon Love at The Museum of Mid-Century Illustration.
What a fun image. Maybe you can develop a blog entry around it? We'll always have bacon...

All of the site is available for you to use for bacon research.
I'd appreciate a credit link if any ideas are spawned.

Root on,

Thanks so much Dan! Keep up the good work!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Its so true

Thanks to the folks at Married to the Sea for the wisdom. And the great comics.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Spaghetti Carbonara

It's not a very appealing picture, and the idea of semi-cooked eggs might make you a bit squeamish, but really, it's so simple to make, and quite tasty.

Spaghetti Carbonara

2-3 strips bacon
1-2 eggs

Boil water for pasta. Add salt. Coarsely chop the bacon. When the water is boiling, add pasta. Then put the bacon in a frying pan over medium-low heat. As those are in process, grate a handful or two of good parmesan into a bowl. Crack an egg or two into the bowl, and beat with a fork. Add a hefty amount of freshly ground pepper. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and dump in the bowl, tossing it like mad to coat it evenly with egg. The bacon should be nice and crispy at this point, so fold it in as well - though you probably wanna use a slotted spoon or some such device to remove it from the pan, because otherwise your pasta will be ridiculously greasy. 
Ideally, the final result is a somewhat gooey and creamy pasta, with the egg partly cooked and the parmesan partly melted, accentuated by the ground pepper and crispy bacon. 

All in all, it takes less than 10 minutes to make, and is pretty basic. A lot of carbonara recipes involve cream, but I find that it becomes much too heavy that way - the cheese, egg and bacon is already pretty rich. All the same, it's a fairly simple dish, and I'm still trying to think of ways to spice it up a bit. Please to leave comments with any ideas. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I got the recipe for this from Maura Laverty's marvelous cookbook, Feasting Galore Irish Style, which has more bacon recipes than you can shake a stick at, not to mention a lovely style riddled with anecdotes. It comes across very much as a cookbook full of recipes that someone mostly wrote down from memory, perhaps in a bit of a hurry, while also reminiscing lovingly about various occasions in which these dishes were cooked. This sometimes requires you to improvise - in this case, for instance, the recipe never actually said what to do with the cheddar cheese - but it's wonderful nonetheless. What follows is my version of the dish:


3 medium sized potatoes
1 onion
a couple slices of bacon
some bacon grease
some cheddar

Slice the potatoes and onion paper thin. Chop up the bacon and fry it in a medium sized pan. Once it's done, remove the bacon, set it aside, and leave the grease. Throw another spoon or so of bacon grease into the pan. Then, put in a layer of potatoes, followed by a layer of onion. Sprinkle some cheddar on. Repeat. When you get to the middle, put the bacon in with the cheddar. Also, work it such that the top layer is potato. Oh! and sprinkle some salt and pepper in there*. Drop a few spots of bacon grease onto the top potato layer. Cook until the bottom has gotten nice and crispy, then carefully slide it only a plate, then return it to the pan bottom side up. Or flip it in the pan, if you have that much faith in yourself. As you can discern from the photo, I managed to botch this part a bit. Cover and cook until it's done - if you've sliced the potatoes thin enough, the whole thing shouldn't take more than 20 minutes or so. Slice into wedges and serve.

*I forgot the salt and pepper and just added it at the end. It came out ok, but I think it would have been better if I'd integrated it into the cooking process.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Irish Bacon

There's a new law in town. Irish bacon may have spoiled me, I dunno. American bacon is just never gonna be as good anymore.

Unlike yer everyday American bacon, which comes in thin strips streaked with fat, Irish bacon, aka rashers, are big ol' slabs of thick cut pork, so lean that you can't even fry eggs in the grease left in the pan after 'em. But it looks so gorgeous as its frying, it curls up and ripples, swelling with goodness.

My friend Simon and I acquired some after I found out that he'd never eaten a grilled bacon and cheese and tomato sammich, but we saved the rest for breakfast. I made the bacon, he made some lovely fried eggs with a glorious Irish cheddar, and we ate it all with toast and tea. A wonderful way to start the day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

bacon potato chips

Bacon is a fairly popular potato chip (ahem, crisp) flavor (ahem, flavour) here in Ireland, but unfortunately, the chips don't really taste all that much like bacon. I sampled two varieties, Taytos and Rancheros.

Despite their adorable name, the Taytos were totally unremarkable. Greasy pathetic flattened salty discs with a hint of something more like bbq flavor. 

Is it just me or does that potato look like Mr Peanut? Also, isn't a little weird to have an anthropomorphized 
potato man gracing the front of a bag that contains his shredded deep-fried brethren?

The Rancheros, on the other hand, have a totally kickass package, and are delicious. They don't really taste like bacon. Potato chip flavors never taste like their inspiration. But whatever, they taste like delicious potato chip. Also, they have a very pleasing shape, 3 dimensional rectangles, perhaps meant to vaguely approximate a bacon strip? I guess the shape is about as similar as the flavor, so hey. In any case, a satisfying snack.

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be potato chips.

At the end of the day though, nothing really matches the sleazy goodness of Hunky Dory's Buffalo flavor chips. Or, for that matter, the lyricism of their self description:

Buffalo are here! You've seen buffalo grazing the plains of North America in countless Westerns, but would you believe that these mighty animals which can weigh up to two tonnes now graze the plains of... Co. Meath. Yes, Ireland has a buffalo ranch. But don't expect to heard beating drums or see smoke signals in the vicinity of these buffalo. These hairy giants are farmed in much the same way as conventional cattle (except for the much stronger fences). So now thanks to Hunky Dorys, you can saddle up and try a taste of the Wild West.

I am resisting the temptation to say more about that. It's especially difficult, because I'm actually attending a lecture series on the Irish and Native Americans. 
Instead, I'll just say that oh man, Buffalo is scrumptious. 

the bacon briefcase

Forwarded to me by Alexis.
I have no idea.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

some truly fantastic bacon

I love bacon, but I generally just buy the Boar's Head stuff at the corner store - it's a step above, say, Oscar Meyer, but all the same, it's not exactly amazing. But just the other day, my friend Dan came over for breakfast and brought some absolutely fantastic bacon with him. Oh my goodness. Check it out y'all.

You see how thick those slices are? I fried 'em up on low heat so as to get a nice even cook, and oh man, they were delicious. They took longer to cook, due to the thickness, but wow they were tasty. It was like biting into a very thinly sliced pork chop. It was marvelous. I fried up some more for lunch, and then brought the remainder over to Kelly's for dinner, where she used it to make bacon fried rice. It had initially seemed like a pity to me to do anything but eat it straight but actually, the chopped chunks really highlighted the thick cut and fantastic flavor of it.

I dunno where Dan got it, but if you see the stuff around, treat yourself.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bacon Fried Rice

I know, I know, you're dubious. This seems like taking it too far. I was skeptical too, but my friend Kelly told me her parents used to make it for her all the time when she was a kid, and she had no notion that someone might find it unappealing until she got older and told other people about it. So I gave it a try, and you know? It's delicious! It's really not all that different from the bbq pork one finds in fried rice on occasion. And it strikes me as a surprisingly versatile dish, suitable for any meal of the day. If you think of the rice as doing potato duty for the day, it works well for breakfast, especially if you do like I did and throw some grated cheddar and hot sauce into it, otherwise it makes a great lunch or sleazy dinner (especially if you get creative and throw in some more vegetables, I imagine). I'm not sure that I made it the way Kelly and her family do, but here's what I came up with:

Bacon Fried Rice

2 strips bacon
Cooked Rice - it was half of what you get when you start with 1 cup of uncooked rice. Um. How much does rice expand when you cook it? Anyhow, proportions are obviously somewhat flexible
1/2 onion
1 egg
soy sauce
grated cheddar and some hot sauce 

Coarsely chop the bacon and throw into a pan over medium heat. As it cooks, chop the onion and add it to the pan. Let cook for a minute or two, or until the bacon is mostly cooked, then add the rice. Beat up the egg with some soy sauce and pour over the top. Turn the heat to high and stir-fry until the rice is crispy and the egg is cooked. If you're going with the breakfast-y variant, grate in some cheddar, stir until melted, and then serve, adding the hot sauce as desired. 

It sounds somewhat odd, I know, but you'll be surprised at how normal it tastes. Also - it's really not that greasy - no more so than normal fried rice. Actually, less so, it seemed to me. Two strips of bacon generate just enough fat to coat the pan - it's not the kind of meal that leaves your mouth all shiny. Honestly, it seems downright healthy.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Chicken Epire

So the other day I was walking along when it occurred to me that I couldn't remember having eaten anything green in at least a week. This seemed like maybe not such a good thing, so I dutifully purchased a bag of spinach at the store on the way home. Unfortunately, other than submerging it momentarily in boiling water and tossing it with sesame oil, soy sauce and sriracha, I don't have many ideas for what to do with spinach (feel free to email me some). So I poked around on the internet for inspiration and combined the results with a recipe for chicken and bacon that my dear friend Dunx sent me awhile ago, and voila, Chicken Epire. Because half the fun of discovery is naming. So it's eh-pee-RAY, and y'all better be rollin' them Rs to keep it sounding classy. Seriously though, this is delicious.

Chicken Epire

1 chicken breast
3 strips bacon
Some spinach
1 shallot (because I happened to have one...)
some bread crumbs
some parmesan
some (fresh) rosemary
some white wine*

*A note about cooking with white wine. I have learned the hard way that while you can get away with using bottom-of-the-barrel red wine when cooking and still come out scrumptious, cheap-ass white wine is gross. It will not taste good. Chicken Epire was made with Chateau D'Epire Savennieres 2003. It's a lovely wine, with the curious feature of smelling quite sweet and fruity, but possessing a mellow, subtle, and almost dry flavor. Thanks to Gregory Fulham at Binny's for introducing me to this one, it's fantastic.

To make:

Fry the bacon and set aside, leaving the fat in the pan (duh).

 Slice the chicken breast into medium sized escalopes. Roll in a blend of bread crumbs, grated parmesan, black pepper, garlic salt, and chopped fresh rosemary (if you don't have a rosemary plant growing in your kitchen - get one. Fresh rosemary is marvelous.). Finely chop the shallot. Place the shallot and chicken in the bacon greased pan and fry over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through. Toss in the handfuls of spinach. Pour some white wine over the top (maybe a glass worth? Probably less?) and cover. Let cook for a minute or two, or until the spinach has wilted. Remove from heat, put it onto your serving dish and crumble the bacon over the top.

I put it over pasta. I tried to arrange it so as to look pretty for y'all, so I carefully laid down the spinach, then the chicken. Then in a flash of inspiration, I sprinkled a 6 italian cheese blend on that, and then crumbled the bacon on top, and then poured the oh-so-amazing wine, bacon and chicken fat juice over the top. Oh my goodness, it was marvelous, and went very nicely with a glass of the wine. 

But to be totally honest, although it does make it look very pretty, you can probably ix-nay the spinach. I mean, it was nice, but not entirely necessary...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Grzana with Bacon

My dad always makes grzana for me whenever I come visit, and it's a much loved family breakfast (or lunch, or supper). I've tried making it myself, and it never comes out right, possibly because it's lacking the paternal touch, or maybe because it's actually better when you make 3 portions at a time in a big frying pan. Anyhow, feeling guilty over not updating this blog often enough (when still, there are SO many things to post), I decided to try making it with bacon. And it was awesome. The bacon really tied the whole dish together. 

Quite simply; for a single serving:

Fry up a few slices of bacon. Set aside. Fry 2 slices of bread in all that lovely grease. Layer the bread with slices of tomato. Sprinkle with salt. Put the bacon on top, breaking up the strips and arranging them for maximum coverage. Drop some butter in the pan (the bread soaks up all your grease) and fry two eggs on medium-high heat until the whites are solid but the yolks are runny. Carefully put one on each toast - if you break the yolk, it's still tasty, but it just doesn't look nice.

Eat with a fork and knife. Yummo.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Maple-bacon lollipops, take 2

My lollipops arrived in the mail with stunning alacrity. 

So first off, they're awfully small. I mean, I understand they're gourmet, but come on, if you're asking $10 for 4 of 'em...

Now, they claim to be using pure Vermont maple syrup as the base of the lollipop. That might even be the case, but you'd never know it. The taste is more akin to cotton candy - there's nary a trace of maple at all, except perhaps in a vaguely strange chemically aftertaste. So that's not ideal. I mean, it's not terrible, but it's not exactly a treat either.

Luckily there's the taste of bacon to go with it. That's actually quite good. The bacon bits in the lollipop though... I mean, I like bacon, but I generally put it in my mouth, chew and swallow. I don't suck on it like a frickin' lozenge. Once you've worked your way down a bit on the lollipop, it becomes more vulnerable, so you can crunch off chunks for mastication, which is a far more satisfying way to enjoy the bacon bits in it. But then why make a lollipop at all? Hard candies would seem somewhat more appropriate. 

Naw, at the end of the day, I'm unconvinced. Bacon-maple lollipops while they might seem like a good idea, aren't the answer.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bacon Cupcakes

I woke up this morning to find a very exciting email from my inbox. VERY exciting. 
Seems the folks over at Endless Simmer had somehow stumbled across this blog and thought I might be interested in one of their recent posts on BACON CUPCAKES. Holy crap-town. Cupcakes are probably my favoritest thing ever, so wow. The possibilities! Three of 'em! 
My nameday is tommorrow. I might just have to make a batch of these to celebrate.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Vosges Bacon Chocolate Bar

The bacon bar has made quite a name for itself, and broadened a lot of people's horizons in terms of bacon's versatility. Pleased as I am about that, I must say, the bar itself is somewhat disappointing.

The chocolate is delicious - Vosges is a first-rate chocolatier, and their goods are always wonderfully rich and luxurious. They're generally known for adventurous combinations, especially sweet-spicy or sweet-salty pairings. In my experience, however, these tend to be less exciting than one would hope, and not nearly so delicious as their more traditional offerings - my dear friend Max had a box of the caramel marshmallows sent to me when I was recovering from knee surgery, and they rocked my world. 

Anyhow, so the bacon bar. Like I said, the chocolate is marvelous, not too sweet but with a deep, lush cocoa flavor and a perfect texture - each bite snaps off with just a hint of resistance, but melts obligingly in your mouth. As it does, there's a faint, subtle flavor of bacon. Which is marvelous, but a bit too timid for me. Ultimately, what stands out isn't the bacon, it's the smoked salt, which definitely packs a punch, though not necessarily an unpleasant one. 

It's a tasty chocolate, yes, but it's not quite the bacon bar I'm looking for. Though it does make me think that a romantic picnic could be well served with bacon strips dipped in chocolate instead of those cliche strawberries.

Maple-bacon lollipops

The Onion A.V. club reviews Lollyphile's Maple-Bacon lollipops.

I haven't tried them yet, but I just ordered some, so stay tuned. 

Sunday, April 20, 2008

and another one...

Remember that rant about Orange the other day? Well, don't worry. There won't be any more of those. From now on, all my brekkies related rants can be found here, in me and Jen's new blog. Yes, I do feel kind of silly about starting another blog. But to quote Talib Kweli,

I do it for the seeds y'all, in they formative years when they need y'all
we gotta believe, in what we conceive y'all, it's deep y'all
I give them the truth, so they approach the situation, with ammunition
I keep nothing away, they hear everything, cause they know how to listen
Teach them the game, so they know they position, so they can grow
and make decisions, that change the world, and break old tradition

Or something. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Pierogi are starting to come into their own as convenient ready-made meal option. Or maybe it just seems that way because I live in Chicago. But even if you don't, I bet you can find 'em in the frozen section of your local hippy grocery store. Anyhow, if you choose to buy some frozen pierogi, please, treat yourself and cook them properly. Don't boil them into soggy dumplings. They're not won-tons. They don't belong in liquid. That's why you bought them pre-made, stupid. No no, they are meant to be fried, and served with skwarki. 

Skwarki are bits of fried bacon and onion. Your pierogi will come out best if you fry them IN the bacon grease with the onion, so they can absorb some of the amazing flavors. 

It's quite simple - chop up some bacon and some onion, drop 'em in a pan and fry them over medium heat. Drop in the (at least partly) thawed pierogi*, adding extra bacon grease if needed. Fry for 2-3 minutes, or until heated through and, you know, fried looking. Transfer to a plate or a bowl and enjoy - the skwarki are an amazing compliment to beef pierogi in particular, but are also a great compliment to the more mundane varieties, like potato. 

Burning the ever-lovin crap out of the skwarki is optional. But tasty.

*I really like the ones from Kasia's Deli, which can be found in some Chicago supermarkets (or purchased from their store on Chicago and Hoyne). Their webpage (which is kind of charming in a Mom and Pop, nothing-but-the-basics kind of way. They've posted letters from their fans. Actual pictures of the letters. And not just from famous people, either. It's great.) seems to imply that one can perhaps order them from out-of-state as well. If you can, go for it, because Kasia makes damn tasty pierogi.

The Bacon Bra

I've been a total slacker. Multiple people forwarded this to me, to the point that I thought, tcha, why even make a post, everyone knows about it. But in case you missed it, I give you... the bacon bra. It was quite a hit on the ol' internetz, like, two weeks ago. 

And no pesky underwire!

The full story can be found here

On a more contemplative note, I'm somewhat surprised by the range of reactions I've seen to this image, from amusement to desire to repulsion. Some people seem to find the idea of raw meat on bare skin distinctly unsettling. For others, it taps into some kind of primal food-sex instinct. Others just see it as an amusing gimmick. I will say there's something about the combination of naked breasts and meat that is appealing - back when I lived in Portland, OR, I was a big fan of The Acropolis (8325 SE McLoughlin Blvd, Portland. OR 97202), a strip club steakhouse. All the same though, while I do like the picture and the idea here, I'm not particularly, you know, aroused by it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Omelet Number 11.5, at Orange

Today I had breakfast at Orange (75 W Harrison, Chicago, IL 60605), which might be one of Chicago's most over-rated breakfast establishments. I got omelet #11.5. It was supposed to be chunks of bacon and sliced leeks enfolded in brie, encased in omelet, and topped with avocado cream puree. I'm not a fan of brie, so I tried to swap some other cheese in, but no. There will be none of that, apparently. You eat the goddamn brie or you get no brie, but there'll be no improvisation. (Jen: "It's the fork-napkin thing again. You don't get to be stuck-up about your brie if you're serving toast made with store-bought sliced bread." Touche!). Anyhow, perhaps the missing brie is to blame, but the omelet was unremarkable. Overly salty and somewhat dry, and the avocado topping was just... strange. I'm a fan of bacon in omelets (big surprise) but this one was decidedly disappointing. I dunno though, maybe some cheese would have really pulled it together.

Meanwhile, Orange - it's a long wait. The interior is actually fairly well designed for such things, but still, if you wait that long, you expect to be rewarded at the end. My gripes:

*Orange's menu, lauded as diverse, is mostly composed of things that may have been conceived by a demented 5 year old. I'm all for whimsy and eating outside the box, but I don't want pancakes coated in melted lollipop syrup and topped with crushed lollipop. I might love it for three bites, but when the sugar rush fades I will be CRANKY. And there's something that just pisses me off about it. I ate ice cream for breakfast from age 7 to age 9. I have no problem with dessert for breakfast. But this is ridiculous. Does anyone really want that much sugar, that early in the day? Seriously. Even their more mellow-seeming choices, like the chai-infused french toast, are just too much. It frustrates me when something that ought to be a lovely treat is just totally overdone.

*Home fries should not be a cylinder of tasteless mush. Home fries are one of the best parts of breakfast. They are capable of great things. Do not reduce them to pretentious decoration.  

*Frushi. Everyone is soooo excited about the frushi. Ok, the frushi ain't bad. It's clever, it actually looks like sushi but it's made of fruit! The fruit-infused sushi rice - it's interesting, but I don't think it's ever met a fruit. It met a bottle of flavoured syrup, they had a good conversation, it's fine, but yeah. Also - if you're gonna tout that as your specialty, make it an actual meal option. The way it works is, they have a frushi special of the day. It involves 4 pieces, of two different varieties. It's not even on the menu - you have to ask about it. Basically, it's an obscure side-order that somehow got a lot of attention. 

*Overall, there's something about the place that makes me cranky. Everything on the menu annoys me. It's all stuff that would either only be good for a few bites, or would be great if it didn't have one specific ingredient (and we now know, they aren't exactly amenable to compromise). The quirky good-natured frivolity of the place conceals a strange rigid adherence to arbitrary rules that brings out the worst in me (the build-your-own-juice feature has the same problem. You WILL pick something from these columns, or no juice for you! I understand that this is partly about logistics of juice creation. But it's also about RULES). The sugar bombed, LET'S HAVE DESSERT FOR BREAKFAST! AND RIDE BIKES!, reconnect-with-your-inner-child-now-that-you're-a-grown-up-and-can-do-it-properly feel to the place turns me into a grouch, I dunno. The ORANGE everything, sweet christ. Orange infused coffee just isn't tasty! Seriously, the place brings out the worst in me. I find myself getting annoyed about the  piece of string used to tie the silverware together (it's not elegant! it's a stupid waste of string!). 
  Because ultimately, it's like a bunch of super-rigid stuffy adults decided to go a little crazy and be like kids again. But they do it in this really obnoxious way, where they actually miss the good part of it, and do it all wrong. But you still feel like some kind of uptight jerk for not being into it. Now me, I'm kind of like a large, hyper-analytical 6 year old. So places like this ought to be right up my alley. Instead, I find myself thinking, GAWD would you please just GROW UP. 

Anyways, this has not really been a proper entry about bacon. Really, it's been a long rant that is only tangentially related to bacon, and a long overdue post, at that. Sorry. I will be better guys. I promise.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I've been somewhat skeptical of this bacon cocktail craze, but recently I found myself at Osteria via Stato (located at 620 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610), home of the famous baconcello, and of course I had to try it.

The baconcello is made with a granny smith apple and bacon infused vodka, mixed with fresh lemon juice and maple syrup. And I tell you what - it's effin' delicious.

Although online reviews claim that it features an extravagant garnish (some claim it's a crispy bacon wheel, others that it's a bacon swizzle stick), mine arrived rather bare, a pale yellow liquid in a small glass receptacle that was actually somewhat disappointingly plain. I'm generally a whiskey drinker, so I don't really expect anything fancy, but this glass seemed a bit too froofy to be so plain. If you're going for a straight drink sort of look, serve it in a more robust looking glass, eh? 

But any sense of dismay over presentation is quickly allayed by the drink's heavenly odor, which is distinctly bacon-y. The flavor is marvelous, a strong, but not overwhelming, bacon taste that's well complemented by the hint of apple. The lemon juice and maple syrup combine beautifully for a robust briskness that is neither too sweet nor too tart, and off-sets the saltiness of the bacon quite well. A rich and almost creamy texture make the drink a real pleasure. Highly recommended.

(If you're curious, the food at Osteria was good, but not incredible. We went for the Italian Dinner option, where everyone picks an entree and the shares various appetizers, with the caveat that anything you like, they'll bring more of. The appetizers were mostly lovely - the parmesan encrusted onions were especially tasty - and the entrees were good though not incredible. The weakest link, to me, was the pasta course, which was nice but rather bland, as was the veal meatball appetizer. All in all, it seemed to me that the food was good but not quite as complex, in terms of flavor, as I might have hoped, especially at the price.)

Friday, March 28, 2008


Some people like their grits with cheese. Some people like their grits with butter. I like mine with bacon. And don't skimp on the grease either! This is a breakfast to make your lips shine.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Banana Rumaki

Ok, it may seem like a strange combination of flavors, but seriously, once you try them, you'll understand. I used to make these for dinner parties and they would vanish at light speed. But I had forgotten how mind-blowingly delicious they are until I made them the other night. Alas, I ate them too quickly to take a picture. Just make 'em yourself.

8-10 slices bacon
5 bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon curry powder

Preheat oven to 350. Boil some water in a pot. Throw the bacon in for 8-10 minutes. This is called blanching, apparently. Drain and dry. Depending on the length of it, cut into halves or thirds. Peel and slice the bananas into 1 1/2 inch chunks. Wrap each chunk in bacon, securing with a toothpick. Combine brown sugar and curry powder and sprinkle over bananas.
Bake for 10 minutes.

The 'hood version, for the solitary eater who happens to be out of curry powder and is somewhat lazy:

Use 2 bananas and 3 slices of bacon. Don't bother with toothpicks. Substitute chili powder, or a combination of turmeric, garam masala, cumin and paprika, for curry powder. Sprinkle brown sugar liberally over the top. Don't measure anything. Bake in the toaster oven.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Scrambled Eggs

The way my dad makes 'em (yes, he did request that as his link). Simple and fantastic. I'm not providing amounts, because it really varies depending on how much you wanna make. Basically, let's say a few slices of bacon and a green onion or two for every three eggs or so, eh?

Green onions
Salt and Pepper

Coarsely chop the bacon into chunks. Drop it in a pan on med-low heat, no grease. As it cooks, chop up the green onions. Add them to the bacon. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a bowl. Pick out the clear white booger type thingies that cling to the yolk (the umbilical cord? I dunno the name for the in english) - I normally don't do this, but my parents always do, and their scrambled eggs come out way better than mine, so maybe it's a good idea. Sprinkle with salt and plenty of pepper. Once the green onions have softened up somewhat, add the eggs and scramble.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bacon band-aids

So, the coolest thing about these band-aids isn't really the fact that they look like strips of bacon. It's that from a distance, they look like a _really_ heinous wound. But the bacon aspect is neat too.

(Available for only $4.95 here)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Bacon grease

A word on materials, or, how I became known as a person who is really into bacon. Props to my friend Max for introducing me to this idea.

Lots of people pour off the grease from cooking bacon into some kind of receptacle, because they worry it's screw up the drain on their sink, so they drain it into some kind of container instead. However, they then THROW IT AWAY. This is a goddamn crying shame, because bacon grease is GREAT. So rather than toss it, I urge you to pour it into a bowl of some sort and stick it in the fridge. On a cold winter night, cut a thick slice of some good bread and slather on the bacon grease instead of your normal bland butter. Look, I know it makes you a little squeamish and may seem gross. But try it. Trust me on this one. It's delicious. Or smear it onto a baguette with a slice of tomato and a dash of salt and pepper. Greatness.

For a real culinary delight, grab 2 or 3 strips of bacon and chop a fourth one up fine. Fry them together with a finely chopped onion. Eat the full strips as you would regularly, and pour the grease, along with onion and bacon bits, into a bowl. Put it in the refrigerator and smear THAT on bread later - delicious.

Added bonuses of bacon grease in the fridge - first off, it keeps forever, so that's not a concern. Secondly, you can use it instead of whatever other grease you generally use when frying, and it'll add a hint of bacon flavor to your dish. Steak fried in bacon grease, for instance, is amazing, as are hash browns. And you'll be amazed to discover all the other things you can cook with it... stay tuned.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bacon Curls

Gemma just pointed out this intriguing post - bacon curls!

Apparently it began as a project to make a bacon straw, which sounds to me like the perfect vehicle for getting a bloody mary into your mouth. This, alas, proved too difficult, but in the process, bacon curls were discovered. I suppose they could be curled a bit more tightly and wrapped around a straw for a nice effect? Or just, you know, popped into your mouth.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Another great bacon blog

Bacon Unwrapped is a pretty awesome bacon blog. You should definitely check it out. This woman is committed to bacon. She's got some fantastic ideas that I might have to try out - especially bacon whiskey, which she wasn't that into, but oh man, I've gotta investigate.

Bacon and Cheese Strata

This is a great breakfast because most of the (ridiculously easy) prep work is done the night before - all you do in the morning is pop it in the oven for an hour, and bam, breakfast luxury.

6 slices bacon
A few slices of day-or-two old bread
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp salt
pepper, salt, hot sauce
1 cup grated cheddar (though mixin' it up and using a cheese combination could be quite exciting...)
1/2 bell pepper, cut into rings

Put the bacon in a 8x11 1/2 baking dish, bake at 400 degrees for approx 15 minutes, or until cooked. Take out the bacon and set aside, leaving the grease in the pan. Arrange the bread slices, slightly overlapping, in the baking dish. Crumble the bacon and scatter it over the top. 
In bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, half of the cheese and a dash of hot sauce. Sidenote - I actually didn't have milk when I last made this, so I used about 1/2 cup of cream and 1 cup water. It worked out just fine. Anyhow, whisk it all together and pour it over the bread and bacon. Sprinkle the remaining half of the cheese over the top and stick it in the refrigerator for a few hours or over night. 
In the morning, pull it out and let it get to room temperature. Place the bell pepper rings on the top in an ornamental fashion. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Let cool, then cut into big sloppy squares and serve.
When I made it, it looked like this:

Monday, February 25, 2008

Another bacon blog

It should not really come as a surprise that there are other bacon blogs out there. I just put "bacon" into google to see what would pop up, and lo and behold, the 4th hit is a fanblog. IHEARTBACON.COM hasn't been updated in over a year, but it's a damn good resource, if you're into bacon. 

Bacon Salt

Sent to me by my friend Dunx, who saw it on dailycandy. I haven't tried it, but I'm intrigued. It might be fantastic. I tend to be leery of dried ready-made bacon stuff - I've still never tried bacon bits - but I guess maybe I oughta. Anyhow, this product at least has the right idea - a touch of bacon can add that extra je sais exactement quois, c'est bacon! to any meal.

Bacon Wear

The "unsettlingly real-looking" bacon scarf is available from a seller on etsy.

I gotta admit, it's kind of awesome.

Bacon Arabiatta

Simple yet delicious, and a real breeze to make - a great dinner to throw together when you're feeling lazy - this is my take on Pasta Arabiatta. I always thought that Pasta Arabiatta was supposed to include bacon, but plenty of recipes for it online seem to leave it out, unfortunately. This recipe is sized for one, but could easily be expanded to feed more. And it smells so amazing as it cooks that people who happen to be hanging out in the kitchen will invariably develop an appetite.

3 strips bacon, chopped
1 tomato, chopped into chunks
oregano, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
pasta (I like to use fettucini for this, but other varieties could work too)

Boil some water, salt it, and add the pasta. As it cooks, fry the chopped bacon over medium heat (no need to oil the pan - the bacon will provide its own luscious grease). Right as it starts to get crispy, add the tomatoes. Sprinkle with herbs to taste - the more pepper flakes you add, the spicier it'll be, and I think it's best when it's good and fiery. Cook until the bacon is fully crisped, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta and toss it into the pan, letting it get fully coated with the various flavors and perhaps even slightly crisped. Grate some cheese over the top - parmesan works well, but mozzarella is nice too. Transfer to a bowl or plate and eat. Goes quite nicely with a nice red wine.

To Begin

I am kind of known for being a person who is "into" bacon. This is a self-perpetuating reputation, as it turns out, because once people decide that bacon is your thing, they start showering you with bacon paraphernelia, sending you links to bacon-related news items, and making a lot of jokes about your bacon lust. I've struggled with it for awhile, but as I was cooking dinner tonight, I realized that, you know, I DO like bacon. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? Furthermore, I'm coming to realize that aside from being very tasty, and suitable for pretty much any meal of the day, bacon does have a tendency to inspire a curious kind of fanaticism. For starters, most bacon-related urls on blogspot are taken. Granted, mostly by what I would call crap , but nonetheless, it's somewhat notable. 

Thus, this blog, a repository for all the bacon-related wisdom I have accrued. Recipes, schwag, folklore, analysis, who knows. It may seem strange to devote an entire blog to the topic, but hey, what is the internet if not a repository for random, somewhat bizarre yet possibly useful and/or entertaining stuff? How much can a person really say about bacon? We shall see my friends, we shall see.