Inspired by Tom Robbins’ impassioned defense of beets in his 1984 novel, Jitterbug Perfume, we thought it fit to publicly endorse one of our own favorite comestibles, that is, of course, bacon. Although it very probably needs no defense, especially in light of the “bacon mania” of the past few years which has brought us everything from bacon bandages to bacon camps, here are a few reasons why good old-fashioned bacon takes the cake for us:
Above all, the versatility of bacon astounds us, day after day, year after year. Salty, smoky, or sweet; chewy, crispy, or crunchy, even burnt; deep mahogany with creamy ribbons of fat marbled through it; shiny with not-quite-paper-toweled grease; great served hot or cold, sliced thin and served raw, or cut thick and smoked, smoked twice–what can you not do with it? The Midas of meats, bacon uncannily guarantees that anything it touches will taste better.
Politely indiscriminate, too, bacon impresses us not only in dishes prepared by the very most distinguished chefs but probably also in something your six-year-old could concoct. Indeed, while new applications of it continue to give rise to whole hosts of uncharted flavors and experiences, its humblest and simplest roles have been the most enduring: I, for one, remember, like, remember my first B.L.T. And we love bacon for its unassuming nature.
The word “bacon” comes from the Old High German bacho, meaning buttock. Its star-quality is such that it magically stands out without ever taking away from its supporting ingredients; in other words, Bacon is no diva. Bacon would win an Oscar for knowing how to perform with less-well-performing others. But bacon is feisty, too. When you cook it it protests by sending out hot little splashes of grease. It has a personality, a vigor, all its own, requiring you to dance when cooking or eating it. Everyone loves bacon. I had a roommate who was a vegetarian, and even she ate bacon on occasion.