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?
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…)