Five Things Not Improved By Bacon
If I'm ever interviewed for a "Meet the Blogger" feature, and the interviewer brings up food trends I wish would die, the first thing to roll off my tongue (or fingers) would be this obsession with bacon. Don't get me wrong, I love bacon, but the idea that there is no food that could not be made more perfect with the simple addition of cured, smoked pork belly is just ridiculous.
Here are but five examples of things that would be better without the bacon.
Mo's Bacon Bar was just the beginning; I blame Vosges for kick-starting this ridiculous craze. Bacon doughnuts, bacon cupcakes, bacon cake, all created by people wanting to jump too late onto the bacon craze, and rarely (if ever) do they taste good. The nadir of the genre has to be frozen chocolate-covered bacon. Occasionally--occasionally--the smokiness of bacon can be used to underline a flavor in a sweet dish, much like smoked sea salt and caramel; when it becomes a star player, it loses its panache.
Oh, I wish this were a joke. It certainly seems to have started out that way, but then I started hearing about "bacon-potato pancakes". An Irish restaurant started with "bacon boxty", and suddenly it was everywhere. It's not that bacon and potato pancakes don't go together; it's that calling them "bacon latkes" is supposed to be ironic and instead just ends up sounding stupid and insulting. Oy, Gottenyu!
3. Emeril Lagasse
Yes, pork fat is a huge boon to a cook, and yes, Emeril's particular collision of cultures (Portuguese and Creole) both make huge use of the bounty of the pig, but every time he gets his audience to shout, "PORK FAT RULES!" I want to slug my television with a baseball bat. Whatever you think of his media mini-empire, the guy is a great cook. He doesn't need the Porcine Cult of Personality thing, and it grates.
No, no, no. Bacon is a good thing, and alcohol is a good thing, but they don't go well together. Bacon-infused vodkas and whiskies confuse the palate. Bacon, the traditional breakfast meat, with alcohol, the traditional way to pass an evening? No, no, no. Besides, most mixers are sweet, and as discussed above, there is a very small group of sweet things improved by bacon. Have bacon alongside your alcohol if you must, but don't infuse it into the liquor.
5. Breakfast Cereals
I'll admit that I have crumbled bacon into pancake batter. I've even stacked bacon inside French toast and eaten it, sandwich-wise, like the sick American glutton I am. I draw the line, though, at crumbling bacon into breakfast cereal, as I saw someone do in a corporate cafeteria one morning. First of all, bacon and dairy: not a match made in heaven. Second, it gets soggy, which eliminates the point of crispy bacon in the first place. And last, it introduces a savory element into a sweet breakfast.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.