bacon. (and why you’re not using enough salt and fat)

Uncategorized

It’s fat and salt.

That’s what I keep telling myself.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m over the bacon thing. Yes, it’s great! Yes…bacon wrapped this and that. You think it’s your recipe to wrap something in bacon and call it “your way”. But really, you’re just seasoning something.

Let me explain.

I’ve cooked off pounds and pounds of bacon.

I spend most of my days scrubbing sheet pans of their bacon grease. It is one of the most perfect foods. Pork belly. Levels of fat and meat, melt down into a perfect bite of food. But don’t get all crazy. Be cool about it. Because you will become that dude who puts it with everything and people will notice. I don’t know. Maybe that’s not a bad thing.

I just read that for every piece of bacon you eat, it takes off 8 minutes of your life. I don’t really think that’s true at all, but whatever you want to believe is your prerogative.

When you cure pork belly, you’re using various salts and sugars to expel water and give it flavor. From here, people go in many directions. Most folks smoke it after curing, which I think is ideal, but if you don’t like smoke, you don’t have to.

People like bacon so much because it gives them what they crave the most.

Salt and fat. (And yes, smokey umami)

Yes, bacon is salty. It can also be very fatty.

What does this tell me?

I know, I know. I couldn't resist.

I know, I know. I couldn’t resist.

You’re probably not cooking with enough of either. Neither of which are that bad for you in healthy moderation.

“These eggs! They taste so buttery!” (It’s because I used a lot of butter and used just enough salt to give you a proper taste of egg…)

Don’t deny yourself the chance to make food taste good. Give yourself an extra knob of butter and don’t get a meatball sub from Subway. You make these choices all the time.

Butter makes food taste good. Proper salt and seasoning makes food taste good. My theory is that when people put bacon in everything, they do it because they know bacon makes it all taste better.

I think if we learned how to use fat and salt appropriately, our need for bacon’ized everything would decrease. I mean, do it for the piggies!

Remember that salt enhances a flavor. You use it to bring up the level of the food you are cooking. Fat adds richness and depth. Your body needs it to survive.

Learn how to harness the power of both, and you are well on your way to becoming the next Paula De— eh… Mario Batali!!

If you walk away from this thinking I’m against bacon, please, just hear me out. Bacon is not the enemy. What I do want to say, is that fat and salt are important to cooking. Knowing how to use them well can really step up your kitchen game.

And when people ask you, “What’s in this!?” You will know. And you will be proud. And you will listen to them talk about the bacon wrapped “whatever” they ate which was “SO GOOD I NEARLY DIED!” and you will shake your head

(just make sure they don’t discover the empty butter wrappers poking out of your trash can…)

In Defense of Paula Deen…y’all

Food

I am as deep as the next foodie in the Bourdain/Chang gang.

Funny enough, I find myself in the position, at least in my own mind, of defending Food Network hosts like Sandra Lee and Paula Deen.

Image

Why? Well, because they relate most to my people. And by my people, I mean family. I mean the people I grew up with and the blue collar cooks of the United States.

BUT…I will say I don’t agree with most of the things they cook. Semi-homemade food makes it more doable, but to be honest, pre-made food in boxes and cans is NOT good for you. It’s best, considering you are cooking at home, to REALLY cook from home. Scratch cooking is best.

As for my defense of Paula Deen, yes, she cooks food that is not healthy. She deep fries bagels and tops them with gravy and bacon and fried eggs. (Which most Portlanders would wait two hours in line to eat) She bakes sweets that’ll strip the enamel straight off your teeth. Is it a surprise that she came out as diabetic? No.

Can we learn something from all of this? Of course.

But as human beings, we have a choice as to what goes in our bodies. TV hosts who have attacked Paula Deen eat unhealthy food all the time. They’re just not promoting it as much. They eat food we wish we could handle.

And what about that McDonalds suit a while back? The one where the girl sued McD’s for making her fat? We, who have the choice and luxury as to what we eat on a daily basis, are at fault.

Now about that choice part…

Just because Paula Deen deep fries most things or [unnecessarily] adds unhealthy ingredients, we do not have to follow suit. And if you want to eat one of the things Paula cooks, then do it. But do it in moderation. I wouldn’t eat a meal purely designed of such high cholesterol intake, but maybe a party or a place where it can be spread among several, instead of straight into your own caloric allowance.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s sad that she has developed diabetes. I think it’s sad that she’s reaping major cash for being the spokesperson for the diabetes drug maker, Nova Nordisk. Sort of an odd ‘reap what you sow’ situation.

I’m an advocate for getting folks in the kitchen. If Paula or Sandra helps us to do this, than so be it. Just don’t eat their food all the time. Let it teach you how to cook for yourself. After all, if it wasn’t for food on TV, I probably wouldn’t be writing these things. I wouldn’t cook as much nor would I advocate for this kind of change.

There is a place for this food and maybe every now and then, that place is on your plate. All the others times, let’s work on making ourselves better.

Especially Miss. Dean who has the power to advocate better eating…

Y’all eat better, ya heard!?