Bringing home the bacon 2015.09.10


I fried bacon for the first time in probably 40 years on Monday.

And, I must say, it was so good, I fried some more on Tuesday.

It was not just any run-of-the-mill bacon. It was Wellshire brand, dry-rubbed, preservative-free, nitrite-free, nitrate-free, artificial-ingredient-free, steroid-free, growth-hormone-free, way-too-expensive, nowhere-near-free bacon.

I’ve eaten bacon several times in the last year or so…corrupted by my daughter Rosie who fries up a mess of it for Sunday morning breakfasts. The aroma of fried bacon activates every salivary gland in your body until pools of drool all but make it impossible to resist. When we are visiting her (she lives in the South and all: Lexington, Kentucky), it seems only right to sample it. But I’ve never purchased bacon for home consumption until this past week.

I probably never would have thought to buy any, but last Thursday, 5 percent of all sales at the Lexington Whole Foods Market were earmarked to benefit Teach for America’s work in Appalachia where Rosie’s husband, Taylor, is employed. Rosie actually works part-time for Teach for America now, too, but it was Taylor’s call out on Facebook that motivated me to make a list of items Rosie could purchase for me at Whole Foods to help with the cause. 

I told her to also find things I would like and things from the clothing section that would make good presents for her, Maddie and Sarah...a little personal-shopper Christmas shopping, except she’d have to forget what she bought so she’d be surprised on Christmas.

I told her to buy some bacon for her family since I ate so much of it when visiting them with my sister a few weeks ago. And, then, just to further help out with 5% Thursday, I added a personal request for a couple pounds of bacon that she could freeze and deliver the next time she visited Morenci or that I would pick up the next time I was in Lexington. 

Our visit this Labor Day weekend was not motivated by retrieving the bacon, but it sure was nice to have it in the house Monday and Tuesday this week. My intent was really to have it on hand for the next time any of the kids came home, but we got back late Sunday night and I went to bed relatively early. I didn’t discover until 6 a.m. when I went downstairs looking for drugs for David’s sore back that I had left the frozen bacon in the cooler overnight. It had kept well, but was no longer frozen. 

I asked Rosie how long it would keep refrigerated, and even though she said a couple weeks, I figured I should probably use it up while I had the free time to cook it…especially since a couple of our nieces would be visiting Morenci on Monday.

I thought I’d be better off making a recipe of something with bacon in it rather than just plain naked bacon. So I Googled bacon and quinoa, a grain that sits in a jar on my counter as a reminder to eat it. I figured the health benefits of quinoa would neutralize any negative effects of eating bacon…even Wellshire brand, dry-rubbed, preservative-free, nitrite-free, nitrate-free, artificial-ingredient-free, steroid-free, growth-hormone-free bacon.

Up came a recipe that was actually quite good: Sweet Potato and Bacon Quinoa on even though I used onion instead of the shallots I didn’t have, balsamic vinegar instead of the lemons that had dried to the size of the marbles Mark Matthews makes at Sauder Village, and horseradish mustard in place of whole grain dijon mustard.

Because the recipe called for only half a pound of bacon and I had eaten at least two slices of that half pound once cooked, I realized on Tuesday that I had to make another dish incorporating the rest of the bacon or I would end up eating it all just plain. This time I Googled quinoa broccoli recipes and it seemed like everything that came up included cheese, which, to my mind, just doesn’t go with bacon. 

I decided to just wing it. I figured bacon would make anything taste good…even the broccoli quinoa concoction I came up with, heavily laden with curry powder, turmeric, cumin and garlic, with a healthy splash of raisins. And I was right. If it doesn’t kill me sooner, I think I’ll be cooking bacon for the next 40 years.