hug-from-godFaithful reader Chrissy recently sent me a link to an etsy artist with a healthy appreciation for food, including our favorite meat. As you can see here, Nicodemusgreen thinks “bacon is like a little hug from god.” For me, it’s a gentle reminder to be thankful for the simple pleasures in life, and I couldn’t agree more. I often think of the wonder of living in America in this day and age, when I have access to nearly every type of food from every region of the world. Unlike past (and a number of present tribal) cultures, I am not restricted to those foods I can hunt, gather or grow. It’s almost ridiculous how easy it is for me to access exotic produce, or meat I didn’t have to slaughter with my own hands. I don’t even have a garden! And don’t get me started on the water that I have delivered to my home. It makes me feel like a bad person.

So thanks to Nicodemusgreen for helping me to keep things in perspective, whether he meant to or not. You can find some other appreciative pieces at his site, like “hummus is like a little hug from allah,” and “jamon serrano makes the world go round.”

Art makes me hungry.

my-consWhen my husband is out of town (which is often) I get lazy about a lot of things. For instance, all the shoes I wear in about a 2 week period end up in the living room because I can’t possibly expend the energy to put them away. Apparently they end up in train formations. Man, I need to update my fashion; I’ve been wearing low-top Cons for about 20 years now.

raw-baconAnyhow, I also have a hard time cooking anything of interest unless I invite friends over for dinner. Which, clearly, I am too lazy to do. So Friday night I cut a chicken breast into strips and wrapped them in bacon, just because I couldn’t stand the idea of another plain baked chicken breast. I threw those puppies in a frying pan and browned them on one side, then turned them and stuck them in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. (I took these photos with my iPhone because I simply couldn’t muster the gumption to find a real camera.)

fried-bacon-chickenAnyhow, not surprisingly, they were delicious. I didn’t even salt or pepper the chicken, but let it be flavored entirely by the bacon. They were tender and juicy and I will totally make these again. I mean, it can’t be any worse for me than batter-dipping and deep-frying them, right? Served alongside a green salad, this dinner felt downright healthy! Well, okay, whatever…at least it was better than fast food.

A couple of my friends like to joke about becoming “Crazy Cat Lady,” that old woman who has 2 dozen cats roaming her home with names like Mittens and Uncle Albert, and little bowls of milk all over the floor, piano and stairs. My mom is another form of cat lady — the kind who constantly gets cat-related gifts because she likes cats. Every birthday, Mother’s Day and Christmas she gets a new book, calendar, figurine or card featuring cats, whether she wants it or not. I myself am guilty; I bought her Dewey for Christmas, but only because I really thought she’d enjoy the read. She’s a reader, that one.

dsc_0004Anyhow, what does this have to do with bacon? Only that I think I’m becoming Bacon Lady, the friend who you buy little bacon-related gifts for because, hey! She likes bacon! I’m not complaining. I recently received a box of gummy bacon, some bacon floss, and my personal favorite, the bacon mints. The gummy bacon tastes like strawberry gummy anythings, and I liked it. I’m a sucker for gummy. The floss was weird; when I first opened the package and sniffed, it reminded me of a big, meaty dentist hand. I know that sounds strange, but the mixture of rubber gloves and whatever antiseptic soap dentists use…well, it smells like bacon floss. I couldn’t really taste the bacon in the floss, but the more I used it, the more I could smell that smoky, dentisty smell. I vote no on bacon floss.

To my great surprise, I liked the bacon mints. The smell when you open the tin is similar to the smell of the bacon floss, except that the container is a metal tin rather than a plastic box, so it’s kind of metallic with a backwash of liquid smoke. When you put it in your mouth there’s an instant of smoked meat flavor, but then you mostly just taste mint. The weird thing, though, is that you continue to smell the smoke, almost like you’re smelling it with your mouth. It’s hard to describe, but the essence of smoke remains sort of ethereal throughout. So I give the mints at least one thumb up. If you’re curious about any of these bacon delights, you can find these and much, much more at Archie McPhee.

Big thanks to Todd, Kerby and Lorraine for thinking of me when you see anything bacon. I hope someone thinks of me next time they see a gourmet bacon of the month club!

sweet-potato-soupI don’t know what the weather’s like where you are, but in Santa Barbara we’re having an actual winter! Rain! Temperatures in the 50s! I know that sounds mild to lots of people, but I swear I’ve never been so cold for so long since moving here. If you are from one of the even more wintery places in the world, here’s a great cozy soup recipe to warm you up!

Sweet Potato, Paprika and Bacon Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 8�slices bacon, diced (reserve about 2 slices, finely diced, for garnish)
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cans chicken or vegetable stock
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Sour cream or creme fraiche (optional)

1.�� Pre-heat the oven to 400� F

2. Toss the sweet potato with 2 tbsp olive oil, season and roast in the oven for�20-30 minutes or until golden brown and soft.

3.�� Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan. Add the bacon and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until brown and crispy.

4. Add the garlic and paprika and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the onion and cook gently for 10 minutes, until softened but not browned.

5.�� Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and gently add the roasted sweet potatoes, cook for 5 minutes.

6.�� Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth, and return to the pan.

7. Squeeze in the lemon juice and season to taste. Top with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche and a sprinkling of diced, cooked bacon�for an extra kick.

Enjoy!

If a kitty and an itty-bitty piglet can get along, then there’s hope for all of us. Happy almost-Valentine’s Day!

kitty-bacon

Thanks, Holly, for this adorable find.

bacon-plateDo you love bacon? Really? Are you sure? Because if you’re not wearing a t-shirt or in some way physically sporting your devotion, I’m not sure I can buy it. That’s why I’m so proud of our reader, Nick, who is clearly determined to show us all up with his bacon license plate. Assuming it’s really his…Nick, is this really your plate? Anyway, Nick or some New Yorker is cruising around, showing the world how he feels, and I’m super jealous. I wonder if this plate is already taken for California.

the-pigletIn other news, the folks at SOT have done it again. Acme sent me this response to the Bacon Explosion. At first I was all, “so it’s a bacon explosion with an extra bacon mat, right?” Wrong. After baking this double-wrapped porkfest, they topped it with what appears to be American cheese and BBQ sauce, and surrounded it with link sausage and pepperoni. Really DSnipe? Couldn’t fit it all inside? Come on! I feel a challenge in your future. May I suggest, at very least, throwing some string cheese in middle?

I have a feeling that the ripple affect of the Bacon Explosion is going to go on for years. Thanks again, BBQ Addicts!

bacon-knitI can’t tell you how often I almost start my posts with the word “wow.” I write it and then erase it thinking, “you can’t say that every day.” And yet while adventuring through the world of bacon, I often think it…WOW! Yesterday was no different. Naseem sent me a link to The Bacon Knit, a crazy piece of handicraft accomplished with chopsticks. This is taking the bacon scarf to a whole new level. Its creator, Wing, is clearly a genius of either the creative or evil variety, I can’t tell which…

So this was what I was trying to write about a week ago when my world crashed around me. And maybe you’ve already heard it, but I still call it news.

AP ON TV MYSTERYFor those of you out there who are Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans, you’ll be thrilled to know that Mike Nelson, human star of the series, is one of us. Yes, he’s a bacon freak who’s willing to go the extra mile. How will he do that, you ask? By eating NOTHING BUT BACON FOR A MONTH. Did I say that loudly enough? Because I was mentally shouting at you to convey just how crazy this idea is. Beginning on February 1, Mike vowed to consume no other foods but the holiest of meats. I wonder if he ever saw Super Size Me.

In addition to this feat of strength, Mike has a number of other stories and posts about bacon, apparently one of his favorite subjects. In fact, he’s been blogging about bacon longer than we have. What do you think, shall we make him an honorary member of the society?

Big thanks to Chris for dropping this knowledge on us.