I think there are people out there who consider coffee to be their morning fuel. Can’t get started without it. Must have caffeine to function. I’m fortunate not to be in this classification. I no longer drink coffee every day and, in fact, sometimes go weeks without a cup. But when I do drink it, it’s usually just to delight my senses and treat myself. It’s given me a deep appreciation for the coffee or espresso drinks that I enjoy, and allows me to go all out when I do indulge.

This lovely Maple Bacon Morning blend from Boca Java intrigues me. Will it have the very present aroma of maple and bacon like vanilla and hazelnut coffees do? Will I sense smoke as well as sweetness? Most of the reviews it received were very positive, and people expressed surprise that it did indeed deliver on the syrup and bacon aroma. In fact, one person suggested this is the best coffee for a camping trip, and I can see that perfectly. My husband and I plan to do some winter camping, and I’m anxious to give this suggestion a try. Look for my personal review in the coming months.

If you don’t know the work of Dan Goodsell yet, then you are in for a world of goodness. An Imaginary World, no less. In the Imaginary World, you can follow the adventures of Mr. Toast and his many friends. Like Lemonhead. And an egg. And a strip of bacon. Check out the archive of comics, especially the many holiday themed features. Super fun. Today we’re celebrating the harvest season with this friendly reminder of our Native American friends who made survival in the New World possible.

One fall semester many moons ago, I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. I got pretty angry about the lies and omissions I had been fed for years about America’s treatment of the natives, and especially about the Thanksgiving myths I’d been taught since Kindergarten. That year I protested the celebration of Thanksgiving by refusing to take part in my family’s holiday traditions. Eventually I came to terms with this ugly part of our past and made the holiday my own with a more personal take on giving thanks. But I still like to take the time to reflect on the kindness and unflagging trust that the Native Americans showed to those who arrived on their shores, and to give special thanks for those people who extend a hand of kindness to me each and every day. Despite its historic roots, the idea of a holiday to give thanks is a wonderful thing, something I’d like to celebrate every day.

When I walk down State Street during the day, it seems like 50% of the people I encounter are listening to their iPods. (Or whatever. I call every mp3 player an iPod, just like I call all colas Coke and all tissue Kleenex.) If all those people are like me, their iPods are getting scratched and dinged and losing that beautiful, clean white look that makes Apple products so visually appealing. Whatever will we do?

BACONATE IT! Wrap your iPod in the warm embrace of bacon-print felt and it will feel warm and cozy all winter long. Yeah, I know this is really for the iPhone, but I’m not as cool as my husband so I’m still rockin’ the Blackjack. So okay, wrap your iPhone in bacon for all I care. You’ll probably still be listening to music on it as you walk down the main drag and that, my friend, makes it an iPod.

I know what you’re thinking now. “Marianne, where do I get this modern marvel?!” Well kids, you’ll have to order it from Germany at a rate of 27 Euros (including shipping). At today’s very reasonable exchange rate, I think that’s about $35 American dollars. Sound steep for a felt phone case? Well allow me to remind you: It looks like bacon! Need I say more?

Thank you, Sean, for being such a technogeek.

We are getting very close to Thanksgiving…just 10 days to go! I can’t wait to go shopping for all the necessary ingredients, and sit down and create my cooking schedule. I usually do my pies the night before, start making rolls first thing in the morning, and then get all veggies prepped in advance. I make stuffing while the oven is pre-heating for the turkey, and get to relax during most of the turkey-baking time. It’s a decent system, although it wouldn’t kill me to learn to delegate. That’s my best piece of Thanksgiving advice: let your guests help if they offer! One of these days I’ll learn how to do that.

I’m one of the few people I know who cooks my turkey with a lid. About 10 years ago, my husband took on the turkey chef duties when I was out of town. In honor of his beautiful citrus-stuffed bird, our friend Jeffrey gave him a big, lidded roasting pan for his birthday. We have used it ever since, and it makes for a perfect, juicy, tender turkey, including the breast. It’s the same principle as those roasting bags, which I also highly recommend. Keeping the moisture locked in is the key, ain’t no doubt about it.

If you don’t own a roaster with a lid, and are averse to the roasting bag, there are numerous other ways to hold in that critical moisture. One tip is to brine your turkey for at least 24 hours prior to roasting. You can buy brining mixes at most stores these days, or you can make your own with salt, water, any herbs you like…even bourbon if you’re in the mood. Another option is to cover the breast with moistened cheese cloth or tent the turkey with foil, ala Martha Stewart.

Finally, and the option we’re really here to talk about, wrap your turkey in bacon. Not only will the bacon seal in all those wonderful juices, it will also add its own fat and flavor to both your turkey and your gravy. This recipe from chow.com pairs your savory turkey with sweet and succulent pears and cider. Seriously, how delicious does that sound? Chow.com also has a number of other tips for turkey preparation, and the one that I cannot stress enough is this: make sure your turkey is completely thawed before cooking. After thawing, make sure it gets to the sink in enough time for even the giblets inside to come to room temperature. This will ensure that the turkey cooks evenly, and that you don’t get any “squeaky” meat. My worst poultry nightmare.

I’m thinking of looking for a new stuffing recipe this year…I got a great one from a reader named Marie a couple weeks back. Any more ideas?

I know what you’re thinking: A fairy who comes through your window at night and leaves bacon under your pillow, right? But no, this is even more strange. We have discovered a website called Gale’s Gifts, where Gale sells a wide variety of kooky knick-knacks, including Aunt Jemima salt & pepper shakers, John Deere napkin holders and ice buckets (for that bottle of Cold Duck you’ve been saving for a special occasion), and of course, Dreamcatchers. This is just the kind of website that grandmothers all over the world have been waiting for.
The most intriguing item, however, is the Bacon & Eggs Kitchen Fairy. Both cuddly and creepy, this chubby little darling can bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan, apparently without the use of any fairy dust or magic. Sadly, this item is completely sold out. I guess you’ll have to make do with the Bratwurst or the Cheeseburger Fairy for now. Or, if you’re in the mood for ethnic food, maybe the Italian Sub or Taco Fairy would suit you. I could go on and on. No, seriously, there are 79 fairies to choose from. I could list them all here, but you really ought to go see for yourself.

And voila! Christmas shopping done.

If you’ve never heard of Twinkie Chan, then I urge you to rush right over to Scene 360 and check out the interview with this yarn genius! She is absolutely amazing. Twinkie has a mind-blowing talent for creating food-inspired scarves ranging from cupcakes to green salad to pepperoni pizza. I can honestly say I’ve never been so awe-struck by something crocheted. I won’t attempt to do the interview justice here, you’ll just have to go check it out yourself. If your interest is not yet piqued, check out the bacon & eggs scarf.

You can learn more and buy Twinkie’s goods at TwinkieChan.com, or at her Etsy Shop.

At The Morning News, we found a dynamic duo of cartoon and verse: Baby’s First Internet. With images by Kean Soo and text by Kevin Fanning, this cartoon series is a charming instruction manual for surviving in the wide, wide world of web. You’ll be hooked in no time. Here’s a sampling that seemed to be poking adorable fun at RBS and the bacon blog community.

I have never in my life considered making a cheeseball. Until now. My memories of cheeseballs include unnaturally orange Wisconsin “cheddar” rolled in chopped nuts of some sort. Probably walnuts. Gross. This looked to be the same type of cheese you could find in a crock. And crock cheese is not, in my estimation, cheese at all. I love cheese, maybe more than I love bacon, so I’ve got very strong opinions on these matters.

That said, my friend Christine has once again given me reason to reconsider a classic. This holiday cheeseball recipe from the Houston Chronicle encourages you to use cheddar and blue cheese, but I feel confident I could pick any 2 of my favorite cheeses from the local cheese shop and be pretty happy about it. To make things even better, you add cream cheese and sour cream. It’s a dairy-goods heaven. And of course, the piece de resistance, you roll that bad boy in fresh crumbled bacon. Or smoked almonds, but which do you think I’m going to choose here?

The article that accompanies the recipe is great, particularly if you’re a fan of 1960′s cocktail party history. And who isn’t? Remember rumaki? That must have come from the same minds that brought us the cheeseball. Just last weekend, my sister and I ran into some fabulous 60′s cookbooks in my mom’s library and decided to make our next holiday get-together 100% retro. Turkey aspic. Deep-fried beef livers. Fondue. And now, the cheeseball with Ritz crackers.

It’s going to be a wonderful Christmas.