Almost three weeks in and today was the first real challenge on my quest. Not that the holiday itself was hard to handle, just had a few obstacles to hurdle to get to the finish line (timely Olympic reference).
The first conundrum came with figuring out what to celebrate. It was indisputably National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day which was fine – pecan pie is one of Lola’s favorite. But I think all these sweets were taking their toll on us. The thought of digging into a sweet, chocolatey pie after just feasting on ice cream was a tough celebration to motivate for. After doing more research, I saw that some websites said today was National Bacon Lover’s Day and how could I not celebrate that? The problem was that the websites I use as my official guide did not recognize this holiday. The whole ‘National Day’ thing is not really sanctioned by an official body like Congress or Major League Baseball or the Pope, so the rules are a little loosey-goosey. Social Media adds to the confusion of these days as some sites find out a day is a holiday and runs with it, even though it may not be universally accepted as the official holiday. I’m confident President Trump will clear this all up, believe me, but until then, I will have to use my best judgment in these matters.
In the end, I figured I needed to celebrate Bacon Lover’s Day too because bacon. I did see a post on Esquire’s Facebook page about Bacon Lover’s Day and for whatever reason, that gave me the assurance that it was an official holiday. Apparently I give great credence to magazines that feature “Girls We Love on Instagram.”
The Chocolate Pecan Pie came first and I pretty much had all the ingredients I needed excepting pecans, so off to Clements I went (I think they should be a sponsor of this blog). I found a recipe from one of our original Food Network favorites Paula Deen which seemed easy to make. It took about ten minutes to toss together and then it was in the oven. It smelled delightful and I had a moment of knowing what Paula Deen’s kitchen might actually smell like: butter, sugar, bourbon and hatred. The sugar and corn syrup coat the pecans while they are cooking and they candy themselves as they bake. It looked pretty tasty when it came out of the oven.
I let it cool for a while and we decided to dig in later in the afternoon as we were watching the boys from Warwick, RI play in the Little League World Series (Go RI!). That’s when I realized my error – the pie had not fully set in the oven. It probably needed about ten minutes more cooking time, although the edges of the pie crust were already starting to burn, so it had to come out when it did. It just never got firm enough to make a nice pie slice. Instead, we had a bowl of chocolatey gooey pecan mess. It was still tasty – all the flavor was right on – it just didn’t look all that pretty. A big dollop of Cool Whip also added to the party too, as it tends to do. I thought it was a little too boozy for my taste and I am not sure if the bourbon fully cooked out, but it was good and Lola gave me the thumbs up. My first kitchen fail for the blog (I’m sure there will be more). If anyone wants a nice blob of chocolatey, pecan goodness, we have a lot leftover – just let me know.
On to bacon. While at Clements, I picked up some fresh slab bacon from the butcher. Usually they have it available right in the case, but they were down to one or two slices, so I asked if they could cut me some fresh. I am not sure if the butcher was having a bad day or if he didn’t feel like using the slicer but what I got was almost 1/4 inch thick – a bit thicker than I like. I usually cook bacon in the oven, but because it was Bacon Lover’s Day and it made us think of Lola’s Dad (an original Bacon Lover), I decided to cook it in his cast iron skillet right on the stovetop. This pan has seen it’s fair share of bacon in it’s day – it almost smiled at me when i placed the bacon in.
I decided to make BLTs – a great way to appreciate Bacon. Making a good BLT takes some time and love. First, you need fresh bacon. Ideally it’s still warm and you are pulling right off the plate that was topped with paper towels to absorb some of the grease. Then you need the right bread – nothing too thick or overwhelming. I had some sliced Italian bread on hand that was perfect – thin, but long so the sandwich didn’t have to be overcrowded. Once you get the bread, you need to slather it in mayonnaise. I am not sure why BLTs are not called BLTMs, but mayo is a key element to this sandwich. After the mayo, you carefully place fresh crisp lettuce covering one side of the bread and the freshly sliced ripe tomatoes down the other. Add your bacon (don’t overcrowd it but make sure there is bacon in every bite) and place the two halves together. Finally, and importantly, cut the sandwich in half. You want to start eating this right from the center out and slicing it allows you to do that. Lola likes hers with some fresh avocado or guacamole added and thats ok, but I am more of a purist.
Ok Bacon Lovers, lets talk about something. Do you have one of these in your freezer:
I am trying to determine if having one of these in your freezer is a universal thing or something that only our families do. Maybe I should raffle it off to whoever answers first with the correct answer as to what it is?
And with that, our celebration was complete. Today I learned that not all recipes will be perfect and that not all holidays will be official. That’s all ok. We’ll just keep celebrating because that’s what it’s all about.
Next Up: National Spumoni Day (they’re not making this easy)