Faster than the speed of bacon…

Do I smell bacon?

Do I smell bacon?

I’ve always thought that bacon was a highly valuable commodity. My entire life I’ve been hearing about pork belly futures, and honestly, nothing works better as a bribe to get people out of bed. So I wasn’t too surprised to learn that even at a hippiefest like Burning Man, bacon holds it value like gold.

According to this anecdotal tale from Noelle Carter in the LA Times blogs section, bacon is king if you find yourself in a bartering situation. And speaking of the Times, they’ve been on a serious bacon high lately. The Daily Dish has been hooking up one article after another with tons of great bacon recipes. In fact, Noelle is currently in the process of compiling a list of 1,001 things to do with bacon. Ambitious! I like it! In addition to her regular updates, you can find lots of handy bacon ideas in the comments section of her articles.

The festive bacontini

The festive bacontini

Posting will be light in the coming weeks as RBS is taking a highly-anticipated holiday break. Don’t worry, we’ll be out eating lots of bacon and documenting any zany bacon gifts that happen to be left in our stockings. While we’re gone, keep looking for tattoo ideas, and try to get a little rest. New Year’s resolutions are just around the corner and you’ll be needing all your energy.

So my husband is a real sport. He’s got many tattoos, most of them on a nautical theme as he is, himself, a nautical man. However, in the spirit of supporting me and Naseem and our blogging endeavor, he has volunteered to get a bacon tattoo. This came as a surprise since he is not, in general, a “joke tattoo” kind of guy. Okay, he kidded once about getting a fingerstache, but I never believed he’d actually do it. And so it occurs to me that he may be just as serious about bacon as we are. And honestly, aside from Naseem, I’ve never seen anyone love a breakfast burrito as much as that man.

So here’s where you come in: this is going to be a Royal Bacon Society contest, done in two phases.

Phase One- Send in your favorite bacon images for consideration. Naseem, Husband and I will sort through these along with images of our own to create a short list, probably three of the best for potential tattoo art. But please send us your submissions by January 31to royalbaconsociety [at] gmail.com.

Phase Two – We’ll present you with our final choices and you, the RBS readers, get to vote for which bacon tattoo will be my life-long reminder of how important bacon is to me and mine.

Sound fun? Well then get to work! (I’m looking at you, reddit kids!!) We can’t do this one by ourselves, and someone around here is just dying to add to his art collection.

In the current climate of economic FREAKOUT, everyone is looking for ways to cut back, stretch their dollar a little further, maybe get creative with classic low-budget foods like ramen and iceberg lettuce. (Believe me, I’ve been there. When we first moved to Santa Barbara and had negative dollar figures in our financial picture, I once came home to find my husband eating salad topped with rice.) Couple the ever-more-frightening global economy with our addiction to holiday spending and you’ve got one heck of a Merry Christmas!

Thankfully, today there are amazing innovators out there, looking for ways to cut costs while still indulging in the things we love. Los Angeles’ Moe Berg found wildly affordable bacon at Whole Foods, of all places. I’m talking like two cents per slice of fresh-cooked, high quality bacon, people. Go check out his detailed (and hilarious) instructions here. If you live in a city with a Whole Foods, I beg you to go test this method, before the deli manager catches on and raises the price!

When I was a kid, I tried countless times to make potato pancakes with leftover mashed potatoes. My problem was that there was no internet or Food Network when I was a kid, and I never found a real recipe. So, I would just shape a handful of mashed potatoes into a patty, dust it in flour, and fry it in butter or oil. As you can imagine, this recipe failed again and again, turning into a lump of warm mashed potatoes with a few crispy spots that mostly stuck to the pan. And yet I kept doing it. I was determined to have potato pancakes, even if they sucked.

Well, I say it to myself almost daily: The internet rules. It answers every fleeting question, helps me stalk my favorite celebrities, and has turned my cooking hobby into a full-blown obsession. And today, I have a brand-new recipe for potato pancakes that makes MUCH more sense than just potatoes coated in flour. Courtesy of the Aga Range website, I give you the recipe that is going to transform my weekend brunches and make leftovers sexy again.

Ingredients:

8 oz freshly cooked, mashed potatoes
2 tbsp milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp self-rising flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 slices Irish Cheddar cheese
8 slices streaky bacon
Place the mashed potatoes into a bowl and add the milk, eggs and flour. Season with salt and pepper. Beat until you have a thick but pourable batter, adding more milk if needed. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Pour in a ladleful of the batter mix and cook until browned underneath. Flip over and cook on the other side. Transfer to a warmed platter and reserve, keeping the pancakes warm.

At the same time cook the bacon in a non-stick pan until crispy. Drain on paper towel.

Top the potato pancakes with slices of cheese and place under hot broiler to melt. Serve with crisp bacon on top. Serves 4.

We all know that bacon is a delight to smell, to eat, to look at. Along with coffee and baking cookies, it’s a feast for the senses that makes me feel instantly warm and happy, not to mention hungry. What I failed to notice all these years was the beauty of bacon’s sound. In a 2006 interview with Pitchfork magazine, the iconic Tom Waits had this to say:

Pitchfork: Do you have a favorite sound?

Tom Waits: Bacon. In a frying pan. If you record the sound of bacon in a frying pan and play it back it sounds like the pops and cracks on an old 33 1/3 recording. Almost exactly like that. You could substitute it for that sound.

I was all impressed with the Foo Fighters for raving about bacon in their rider and on Bravo’s Top Chef, but leave it to the inventiveness of Tom Waits to turn it into music. You absolutely have to love that man.

Earlier this year, I decided to stop eating wheat products. Which, although it has made me feel 10 times more healthy, was at first an incredibly difficult transition because I love carbs. Maybe more than I love bacon. And topping my list of carbohydrated favorites? Pasta. Oh, how I love pasta, preferably in the longest formats possible: Spaghetti, cappelini, and my personal favorite, pappardelle. Naseem and I love this restaurant called Ca’Dario here in Santa Barbara, which makes the best Pappardelle with Bolognese on the planet. No exaggeration. I would call it my #1 favorite meal of all time. (Sorry, Mom!)

Now you’re saying to yourself, so what? There are plenty of other carbs out there: potatoes, rice, beans, corn. And this is all true, and I love all these things. Strangely though, once I gave up the wheat, my motivation for other carbs lessened tremendously. I’m certainly not 100% carb-free, and I even treat myself to pizza from time to time. But when my husband’s not around, I don’t feel the need to make a carb-based side dish with dinner. And that’s been a real blessing.

That said, the next time I feel the need to indulge in a gluten-packed meal, this is what I’m making. Pam from Sidewalk Shoes has managed to wrap three of my favorite foods into one delectable dish. Go check out the recipe. I’m pretty sure this one will be worth the consequences.

Have you heard of Wordle? This is exactly the kind of silly internet program that just tickles me to no end. All you do is go to Wordle and enter in some content, or even just your website’s url, and Wordle uses your content to make a cool image of your most used words. Our big word, no surprise, is bacon. For a larger view of this image, go here.

Once your wordle is designed, you can change the color palette and font, customizing it to your personal aesthetic. You could use this for anything…as a fancy cover for an essay! (Professors just love that kind of crap, right?) Or submit a poem you’ve written and see it transformed into a visual piece. The possibilities are huge. And totally fun. You have to go try this.