Overcooked: Bacon Bonanza

I didn’t think I was going to have to write this. I thought it had passed, but the bacon pairings just keep on coming. I love bacon. Really I do. A well-made BLT is one of life’s greatest pleasures. And bacon is delicious with many many things besides tomatoes and mayonnaise. Sweet things, savory things, chocolaty things, caramely things, beery things. But I’m just so tired of hearing about it. Can we go back to when bacon was bacon and bacon in something unusual was, well, unusual?

Products like bacon vodka and bacon coffee don’t even warrant a raised eyebrow any longer. As for bacon desserts, this piece details the history of bacon desserts going all the way back to 2004. Are we done yet?

So what is it that makes this trend so darn sticky and alluring?

I think it’s a potent combination of rebellion and conformity. During the height of fat phobia (remember when people were downing boxes of Snackwell’s cookies and wondering why they were still fat?) bacon and its entire ilk of delicious fatty pork products was forbidden. So even today, it still feels a little naughty to enjoy it. It’s sort of an outlaw foodie pleasure. Then came The Atkins Diet, essentially giving the finger to the fear of fat and introducing an aura of permissiveness when it comes to pork. These seemingly conflicting views on fat combined to make bacon incredibly HIP. That’s why we can’t let go of it. It helps that it’s salty, fatty, and crispy.

But it’s tired now. If you really want to be cutting edge, make your own bacon, fry it up in a pan and enjoy it with a couple of eggs and some toast.

Of course you can make your own bacon. Bloggers all over the country are doing it. Check out Charcutepalooza on Facebook and join the fun. This is a year-long project in which bloggers cook their way through Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie.

Not quite ready to take that on? Check out this recipe on Culinate. Peruse the bacon posts on Punk Domestics or go straight to Ruhlman’s recipe.

Now excuse me while I go order a few boxes of this Bacon-Chocolate Peanut Brittle. Come on, you’ve got to admit is sounds good.

I guess I will be a little sad when this trend finally dies.

Editor’s note: This is a new column by Vanessa Barrington. For the lighter side of all things foodie, read Overcooked weekly. Overcooked: helping you make the most of today’s trendiest ingredient…before it’s overdone. Be sure to catch Vanessa’s original EcoSalon column, The Green Plate, on the environmental, social, and political issues related to what and how we eat.

Image: Joelk75

Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington is a San Francisco based writer and communications consultant specializing in environmental, social, and political issues in the food system.