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Question: How do I cook bacon? —C.W.
Answer: ‘Buy it and fry it’ is the way most of us do it, but hours of watching the Food Channel and Fear Factor have shown me that there are a lot of better, while lesser known, ways of preparing everyone’s favorite pork-meat. So grease your backsides and batter your mitts—then have a gander at this selection of mouth-watering bacon-centric recipes.
serves 1, plus an unemployed cousin
Fry 10–12 center-cut slices of bacon in unwashed iron skillet until golden-black. Remove from heat and let sit in grease until first horseflies appear, then chill in fridge for approx. 20–30 minutes. Remove skillet from fridge when bacon forms a solid mass, then heavily season with pancake syrup. Let sit until first unemployed cousin appears asking to use the john, then slice and serve at room temperature during July in Mississippi with frosted mugs of Dr. Pepper.
Bacon a le Monde
serves 2–10, depending when the game starts
Purchase 4–5 packages of generic brand bacon. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Remove all bacon from plastic wrap and lay strips on cookie sheets. When oven reaches proper scorch, place all cookie sheets in oven and bake until golden brown, or until you just can’t stand to wait any longer. As bacon bakes, open generic brands of French, Russian, Thousand Island, and Italian salad dressing. Pour dollops of each into individual bowls. (Dixie cups will work also.) Ring Dixie cups in circle around edges of a large serving platter. (A large cardboard box top works also.) When can’t stand the smell any longer, remove each cookie sheet from oven with bare hands. Run icy water on singed fingertips, weeping as bacon strips cool. When bacon is cool enough to handle, dump entire sodden pile into middle of platter, surrounded by cups of salad dressing. Serve with chilled white domestic beer while chanting, ‘Lookit all this bacon we’re makin’, lookit all this bacon we’re makin’…’
Left Bank Bacon
serves 1 starving artist, plus
Rise from newspaper-blanketed mattress in Parisian garret around noon in dead of winter. Tie newspapers around feet and mutter for next two hours, using icy bacon strips as earmuffs. Ignore obese landlady callously pounding on the door as you revise page 934 of your collected poems. Remove one semicolon and smile—a day’s work well done. Ostensibly thawed, place bacon atop unfinished self-portrait. Let bacon slowly season with cerulean watercolor as you compose love letter to the beautiful daughter of the Duchess de Rigeur, who you met once when you accidentally passed out in her carriage house. Use icicle from outside window to rain drops of loneliness on the page, right near where you mention ‘civil suit’ regarding the beating her footmen gave you, then sign in blood. Once bacon is blue, wrap carefully around smoke-charred kerosene lamp and light wick with last remaining match. As bacon begins to semi-sizzle, compose outraged pamphlet of revolution against the monarchy, referring 32 times to the Dreyfus affair and the tyranny of Julius Caesar. Nod in a self-satisfied way as you flip the bacon. Race downstairs to invite landlady to supper, hoping she’ll have her nightly jug of rotgut in hand. Serve nearly raw, cerulean-smeared strips on hastily cleared palette or landlady’s immense bosom, depending on amount of rotgut remaining in jug. After dinner, gaze at cerulean-smeared bosoms in the winter moonlight and compose in head next letter to the beautiful daughter of the Duchess de Rigeur, who you are most definitely going to sue.
serves 1–6, depending on number of waifs in vicinity
Remove chunk of uncut bacon from broken fridge, then trim green moldy edges. Toss trimmed bacon chunk into searing, lard-filled skillet. Flame beneath skillet should be high enough to cause grease spatter over range of 10–30 feet. Spatter lessens cooking time while simultaneously keeping hungry orphans and small terriers at bay. As bacon spatters, brew fresh pot of tea from re-used tea bags and thickly slice a loaf of soda bread donated yesterday by concerned neighbor. When spatter reaches ceiling, carefully remove skillet from heat, then use tea to douse raging grease fire on wall and in dog’s fur. Toast the soda bread until begins smoking, then flip with stinging fingertips directly from toaster onto floor near kids’ feet. Allow orphans to chew burnt toast with malevolent glares as you consume entire chunk of bacon while singing ‘The Briar and the Rose.’ Serve with liberal doses of Bushmills whiskey, waifs and curs included.
Bacon in a Blanket
Remove generic-brand bacon slices from package. Lay 10–12 slices on a paper plate in microwave and cook on ‘high’ for 30 seconds. Remove underdone strips and gently lay them across a serving platter, fatty side up. Keep strips moist and pliable by occasionally spritzing with bourbon-infused BBQ sauce. Take remainder of generic bacon from package, place on paper plate in microwave, and cook on ‘high’ again for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove charred bacon and unplug sparking, fiery microwave. With a large mallet or heavy shoe, pound charred bacon to ashen bits. Sift bits in a thin layer over underdone bacon strips, then carefully roll each strip up into a log with the charred bacon inside. Keep log intact with toothpick, and then garnish each toothpick with a jalapeño-laced cheese cube at one end. Serve with an open jar of garlic pickles on kitchen counter with no refreshing beverages anywhere in sight.
Divorced Dad Blue-Plate Bacon Special
serves 3–4, excluding ex-wife, who can buy her own freaking breakfast
Wake an hour late, then pick up children an additional hour later. After promising a huge Sunday brunch, order children to wait in the truck, ‘just a second.’ Then spend close to 50 minutes asking ex-wife for loan. Once refused, storm out of the house that you, ‘goddamn fucking paid for the last ten years!’ Slam truck door and drive at high speeds toward seedy rental house four miles away. Stop once to run out of gas, ask children if they have any change on them as all three push truck to pump. Purchase 67 cents’ worth of gasoline and drive home. As children wash stack of week-old dishes, root around fridge searching for package of bacon you’re sure is in there. It isn’t, and telling children you need ‘butter from the store,’ drive to friend Mitch’s house. Catch Mitch masturbating in easy chair while watching MTV. Allow Mitch a moment to pull himself together and fetch beers. It is now 11:30 a.m. Drink your beer swiftly, then remind Mitch he owes you $20 from last night at the SeeSaw Bar and Lounge. Mitch insists he too is broke but when pressed finds $8 in pocket of jeans. Thank Mitch profusely, ask if he wants to go fishing later, then drive to ex-wife’s house to convince her to make a reconciliation. Seeing that her Toyota isn’t in the driveway, remind yourself to look into rumors she’s dating ‘that fairy music teacher’ at the high school. Drive to McDonald’s drive-thru, purchase two pancake-with-bacon breakfasts plus an extra cup of coffee. As drive home, eat half of bacon out of kids’ containers. Proudly display breakfast to starving children who’ve just finished the dishes. After breakfast, pick up Mitch and spend rest of the beautiful afternoon fishing in Cold Flat Creek near Rt. 601. The fish are jumping, and Mitch makes the kids laugh by farting.