donuts-and-bacon-shirtI just love the 4th of July. I wish I could say it was because I’m so patriotic. Don’t get me wrong; I’m wildly grateful to live in America and truly enjoy the freedoms that come along with that privilege, but let’s be honest:I love having a day off to barbecue and hang out at the beach. Santa Barbara may be the greatest July 4th spot in the US. Not only is it a beautiful city, generally sunny and warm (not blazing hot) in July, but there are amazing free fireworks displays at our downtown beach and in nearby Goleta. I love laying on the sand, watching the beauty overhead, feeling the pounding in my chest, and of course wiping the ashes from my face. Oh well, nothing’s perfect…this is just damn close.

So what does this have to do with bacon? Well, only that Roger Bacon is widely credited as the first European to write specific instructions for the preparation and use of black powder way back in the 1200s. Does this mean he invented fireworks? No, that was the ingenious Chinese. But he made those skills widely accessible through formal instruction, rather than by folk learning and the passing of knowledge from father to son, thereby sharing the joy of fireworks with the whole world. Incidentally, this also brought about rapid advances in warfare, so…good job? Whatever. Fireworks rule.

bacon-wrapped-chickenAnd of course since the 4th of July is America’s official BBQ holiday, bacon is going to play an important role in your day. Bacon cheeseburgers? Bacon-wrapped filet? A kebab of bacon-wrapped chicken chunks? Yes, yes please, and hell yes. So make sure that propane tank is at least as full that ice chest, and get to grilling. For those of you in counties that allow the purchase and ignition of smaller scale fireworks, be careful! Don’t blow off your fingers or start any brush fires. And for those of you in “dry” counties like mine, well…don’t drink and drive I guess. Everyone have a super 4th!

wild-turkey

I love how there are flowers and cloth napkins on the table. And also…an entire bottle of Wild Turkey 101. The perfect meal for a special occasion. Or an awesome first date.

Thanks, Todd!

bacon_artI cannot believe how much bacon art there is to be found in this wacky world of ours. This piece here was on display at Bacon Camp in San Francisco in March. Ranging from beautiful to bizarre to downright ridiculous, bacon has opened up a whole new world for artists.

Case in point: Scott Ray Randall’s open call for bacon art. This is an ongoing project, and YOU can get involved! Between now and April 2010, Scott is collecting bacon art in any form: video, still life, free-style rap…you name it, just as long as it has bacon in it.

I’ve heard ideas and seen work from many of you RBS readers, and I think you’re just the people Scott is looking for. Go to his site, submit your work, and tell us about it, too! We’d love to see your creative side and share it with the world. Seriously, don’t you just love the internet?!

Make it work. Make it bacon.

bacon-flutesI’ve been thinking all week, and I decided I just don’t have much bacon news to report from across the pond. Although we did enjoy the bacon turnovers in England a great deal, I can’t find a photo of them…Naseem probably has one in her collection. And in France, well, these bacon flutes speak for themselves. We saw lots of supposedly bacon-flavored novelties, but usually with a picture of a smoked ham on the packaging. And the one night I ordered pasta “carbonara” with “bacon” in it, those fatty little lardons just about made me loseWeight Exercise my appetite. Alls I’m sayin’ is, you don’t go to Paris for the bacon, right?

nutella-gallonRight. You go for the gallon-sized jars of Nutella. End of story.

The great thing about our vacation, however, was that we had lots of time to think about RBS and to start planning Bacon Day 2009. If you missed Bacon Day 2008, you can read here, here, here, here and here about all the frivolity and merriment. That’s right, it took five posts to cover it. So far I can tell you that this year’s party will be a brunch in a lovely Santa Barbara location, and that Bakon Vodka will be available for sampling! We may also have some surprise guests from other illustrious bacon sites, and of course there will be fun door prizes for many of you lucky baconeers. The date is Saturday, September 5. Seems like it’s far away, but don’t worry; this summer is going  to fly by. If you’d like to attend Bacon Day 2009, shoot us an email and we’ll add you to the evite list.

bacon-buttonCheerio! Royal Bacon Society is back from our European Vacation! (Naseem, by the by, has never seen European Vacation and never laughed once when I said, “Look Naseem, Big Ben. Parliament.” I started feeling kind of stupid after the 10th attempt to make that one fly.)

Anywho, it was a fabulous trip and I cannot tell you how proud I am of my English heritage. Turns out I come by my love of bacon honestly…those Brits just ADORE it! Bacon rolls, bacon turnovers, bacon on every sandwich and in half the pasties. We had an English breakfast each morning that included a big slice of very salty bacon that more closely resembled ham, but was welcome and delicious none the less. The only thing that could improve upon it was the entire teapot of English breakfast tea that I also consumed every morning. Between the two of us, we had a serious tea party. I’m officially hooked.

Paris, on the other hand, not such a bacon hot spot. Their lardons are thick little bacon nubs that always include a chunk of fat and never seem to be cooked well enough. We stuck to the amazing variety of ethnic foods and fell in love with the duck confit, but I was very happy to get home to my thick-cut Trader Joe’s bacon on Friday.

Special thanks to Paige for acting as our unofficial tour guide in London. (That big tip is on its way, I swear!) I’ll be back later this week with some of our photos, and an update about Bacon Day 2009!

I tend to get really lazy about cooking when my husband is out of town, which is good in some ways. More salads, fewer rich cream sauces, less red meat. But my husband’s gone a lot so eventually I get bored with whatever I’m doing and have the urge to cook something a little more time-consuming and artery clogging. This week I had an overwhelming desire for a baked potato smothered in butter and sour cream, so I made one. Actually, I baked two, but of course could only eat one, leaving me with a cold, baked potato. Exciting.

I thought I’d use it for making breakfast the next day, but that’s crazy talk because I almost never eat breakfast. Next I decided I’d throw it away and serves me right for being an idiot and cooking too much. But then an idea occurred to me: twice bake it!

twice-baked-shellsI started by frying two slices of bacon (I should have used at least three, maybe 4). I chopped the bacon and set aside, and hollowed out the potato skins. I rubbed the insides of the potatoes with some of the bacon grease and stuck them in a 350 degree oven to warm up. I was hoping they’d crisp up some but I didn’t leave them in long enough. Should have been 20 minutes or more.

twice-baked-fillingIn a bowl I used a potato masher to smash up the cold potato innards, then added 2 tablespoons of sour cream, an ounce of grated cheddar cheese and the chopped bacon. Really, I should have gotten the beaters out and whipped the potatoes, but they were hard to work with because they were cold. As it was it was fine, just could have been better. Also could have used a little salt.

twice-baked-beforeI over-stuffed the warmed skins with the smashed potato mixture and baked on a foil-lined pan for 30 minutes. Then I turned the broiler on for 5 minutes in an attempt to crisp the tops. They tasted really good, but there was still that lingering flavor of day-old potato, which might have been resolved by whipping the potatoes with a little cream before adding the sour cream, cheese and bacon. twice-bakedAll in all, though, I’d give this recipe a solid B with room for easy improvement.

bacon-thief

A late night snack? FIVE POUNDS of bacon?! That’s really…something.

Thanks Joelle!

As our faithful readers already know, RBS headquarters are located in Santa Barbara, home of no less than three major wildfires in the past year. It’s been scary and chaotic, but I recently had the super fun experience of having Naseem and her mini-farm stay with me while she was evacuated. Said mini-farm included two adorable baby chickens that she just got. She wondered if owning pet chickens might turn her against eating chicken. I said that was okay by me, as long as she didn’t get any pigs. A Naseem who doesn’t eat chicken is one thing. A Naseem who doesn’t eat bacon might cause a tear in the fabric of the universe, and I’m fond of my existence.

baconfishSpeaking of edible pets, Cindy from the Hamburgerpanda Etsy shop sent me a link to a creation that I’ve long wished for: The Baconfish. Seriously, I’ve Googled Baconfish more times than you can imagine, just hoping that something like this would appear. And now it is a reality, at least in someone else’s head besides my own. I love that it looks like a puffer fish, one of my favorite species to find when I’m diving.

You can get this stylish design in both hangable and wearable artforms. Thanks, Cindy, for making just one of my bacon dreams come true!