Monday, October 8, 2012

“Mmm … bacon." *

I have to admit to being a bacon freak. Ever since I was a little kid, the smell of bacon early in the morning has meant home, family, love and comfort. I think the first places I associate with bacon cooking are my grandparents' homes.

There was Grandma Giger in her big farmhouse kitchen, wearing a dress by 6 a.m. and fully aproned, turning bacon in the skillet for Grandpa and my dad when they came in from chores. She'd start a new pan of bacon for my cousins, my brothers and me as soon as we rolled out of bed, which might be as late as 8 a.m. since we were there visiting on our summer vacation. My aunts and Mom would eat with us. Maybe my uncles and my Dad would join us again. Perhaps they were like Hobbits -- having second breakfast.

At my Nana's house, there was no apron, and there was none of that 6 a.m. business. But as soon as we kids were awake enough to roll out of bed and mention being hungry, it was time for her to throw a dish towel over her shoulder and start the bacon.

Eggs, pancakes, French toast...I suppose we had all of those, too. Well, I know we did. But the smell of bacon in the house meant someone that loved us very much was up and cooking something to fill our bellies and tantalize our tastebuds.

There is still bacon in the house. Though Dad is now the chef and the microwave has replaced the cast iron skillet. When I smell bacon cooking on a Saturday or Sunday morning now, I wake up smiling and wander into the kitchen to grab a piece or to ask for a share of my own.

I'd love to be one of those bacon connoisseurs and get paid to travel around the country trying all the bacon there is to sample. But that job has already been taken. Chef Todd Fisher was the lucky son of a gun chosen for a cross-country bacon tour. The result? A three hour special called the United States of Bacon.

And yes, I know all about fat and cholesterol and how bacon isn't good for me. Surprisingly, my grandmother who probably had it every day of her life lived a long life and my Nana's health problems later in life were not due to bacon. Still, I don't have it every day...maybe a couple of times a month, if that. Doesn't mean I don't still wax nostalgic for the time when my daughter and I had either bacon or sausage with eggs almost every day for several months. Back when I was making breakfast every day and back when my cholesterol count was better than my doctor's.

Now I eat microwaved bacon at home, carefully absorbing all the grease between two layers of paper towels. I eschew the bacon bits on my baked potatoes, and I am careful with them in my potato soup. I still enjoy the occasional BLT sandwich if the tomatoes are thick cut and garden fresh. If I eat breakfast out, I will opt for bacon over sausage almost every single time...especially if I eat at Cracker Barrel, where I almost always pick breakfast for my meal of choice. Bacon, eggs, grits, biscuits. It doesn't get better than that.

But apparently I'm not alone in my love of bacon. And now bacon lovers all over the world have put their creative bacon ideas out for the public to enjoy. There are bacon sodas, bacon brownies, chocolate chip and bacon cookies, bacon toothpaste (!) and floss (!), and even bacon vodka and beer. I haven't tried any of these nor have I tried Hiway Cafe's chicken-fried bacon here in Wichita Falls. But that isn't to say I won't. I'm game for a taste of most things. I just haven't had the opportunity to try some of these things yet.

On Pinterest this past week, someone had bacon pancakes pinned up. They look awesome and I will have to give them a try if I can talk Dad away from the microwave and back to the griddle.

Goofing on the internet today, I discovered a wonderful site dedicated to bacon: If you are a lover of bacon and all things bacon-flavored and themed, you must check out It has bacon news, a bacon shop, bacon reviews, and bacon recipes.

I may be in trouble the rest of the week. It's payday soon and I have a hankering to try those bacon brownies!

Maybe Mom will smell me cooking bacon and making brownies and think, "Ah, somebody loves me is cooking something wonderful for me."

In any event, I feel some bacon coming on!

* Homer Simpson

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