There are few foods in the world that are celebrated more than bacon, and rightfully so. It’s everything you want in a meat product. Salty, fatty, crispy and oh so flavorful. It makes anything it attaches to more tasty as well. On Christmas, I served bacon covered crackers that were a big hit. But if you really look at what I served – it was essentially a cracker. Just a plain old Townhouse cracker with a little bit of cheese. What made it remarkable? Bacon. You can wrap anything in bacon and make it better. Shrimp. Water chestnuts. Potatoes. It’s pretty versatile and it will always make whatever you are eating better (ok, maybe not if you were eating Jell-O or something like that). The world knows this and cheers for bacon at every chance it gets. If you have ever checked the “Man” section at a gift store (an awful section of any store that reduces my gender to a group of bourbon drinking, sports watching, bacon eating buffoons), there’s always an area devoted to the love the of bacon. Bacon books. Bacon coozies. Bacon puns. The world knows that men love bacon and they are cashing in on it. Bacon is a holiday in and of itself.
I always have a tough time on holidays that are bigger and more widely recognized than my usual celebrations. It’s easier to celebrate a day like Pepper Pot Day because not too many people know what it is. When you celebrate something like bacon, you feel you have to come out strong and up your game. You start seeing it pop up on social media and trending and you start questioning how am I going to make my mark out there? I don’t want to let down my fans. I have to go big here. I have to make an impression. Then I realize that this is a long quest, not a one day thing. Sure I am going to celebrate bacon and I will do so happily. I just don’t have to put on the biggest celebration for it. I’ll leave that to others while I prepare for the 200 plus days left of this quest. You have to pace yourself over this journey. I need to stick to the basics and just celebrate. I don’t have to keep up with the Joneses (who are probably making bacon-wrapped waffles in bacon syrup served with bacon beer).
I was a little slow at getting to it today and I kept pushing off going to the store until later in the day and when I went, I just went up the street to the Dollar General (a noted purveyor of fine meats). My shopping list was simple: Bacon and Tortilla Chips. I was back home in five minutes (it really is up the corner). I picked up three packages of bacon and immediately started cooking them. I had some strange thought that even though I wasn’t going to make anything big, I would just make a lot of bacon – as if that would impress you. My logic was a bit twisted. In any case, I loaded up two sheet pans with bacon and then placed it in a cold oven and turned it on to 400 degrees. This is the Alton Brown method and in theory, by the time the oven is preheated, the bacon is done. It never works perfectly for me though. I always have to wait longer and spin trays around losing patience while I do it. But, it’s a good way to cook lots of bacon at once. I still had some bacon that wouldn’t fit onto a tray, so I cooked that on the stovetop in our cast iron skillet. That was a bit messier but got the job done and the bacon crispy.
Suddenly I had a plate full of three packages worth of bacon which is not an altogether terrible problem to have. It was lined with paper towels to soak up some of the grease and the kitchen was smelling pretty good too with the scent of bacon in the air (I bet you they sell bacon scented candles at the Man-porium). My plan was to make some Bacon Garlic Nachos which was pretty simple. I spread tortilla chips as a single layer on a sheet pan, sprinkled some minced garlic on top, covered in cheese, then repeated with another layer. When it was all covered in cheese, I cut up some cooked bacon and sprinkled it over the top and placed it in the oven until the cheese melted. This was a version of nachos that were on the menu where I used to work and was one of Lola’s favorites (although they usually came with tomatoes on top too, but we were fresh out of tomatoes as was the Dollar General). Garlic on nachos is a great addition especially if you are a garlic fiend like Lola is. The bacon also adds that salty bacon goodness to the nachos too. It’s a pretty good combination. We had a ripe avocado, so I made a quick guacamole and served up some salsa as well. A pretty nice little meal.
I had a few bites but with all that bacon cooked, I felt I had to do a little more, so I went for a BLT but really just had an BLC because we were still out of tomatoes but had cheese. I happened to have a fresh ciabatta roll so I used that as my bread and slathered some mayo on the bottom half. Topped it with some lettuce. Added a heaping pile of bacon to that. Usually I am more delicate about putting bacon on a sandwich. I place it deliberately so I can be sure there is bacon in every bite. That’s usually because the bacon supply is limited, but that wasn’t an issue today, so I just plopped a bunch on there. I topped it with a slice of American cheese because why not? I had my BL.
BLTs (or BLCs) are always a great sandwich. It’s just a good combination. The crispiness and saltiness of the bacon gets soaked up by the bread and then the addition of the fresh vegetables and mayo balance the whole thing out. Whoever invented it deserves a raise. He or she really elevated their bacon game.
So that was our bacon day which wasn’t a big gala or giant viral stunt, but it was a day that ended with a delicious feeding of bacon served two ways (plus I have a whole container of cooked bacon waiting for me in our fridge). Bacon will always have a special place in the heart of anyone that enjoys food. There’s probably nothing as tasty that is so readily available. It’s not like it’s a new food, but it still keeps bringing the party to the table. That’s what we celebrated today – the joy of bacon. I didn’t need an apron with a funny saying to make it. I didn’t need some bacon ice cubes in my bourbon to truly appreciate it. I didn’t need to wear my bacon suit to Clements to make the celebration worthwhile. All I needed was the Dollar General, an oven and a partner in swine (probably the worst thing I have ever called Lola). That was the celebration that best suited me and it was delicious.
Next Up: National Champagne Day