Question of the day for a cool-but-sunny Monday: When did bacon become a joke?
Bacon, says Alton Brown, is “meat candy.” It’s certainly tasty, and has always been my favorite breakfast protein — I can barely tolerate those insipid American sausages — but only recently did I become aware that eating it is something of a comedy act. Sites like This is Why You’re Fat and “recipes” like the Bacon Explosion have turned my not-particularly-guilty pleasure into a sideshow.
What happened to two eggs, two strips and out the door? Now we have the KFC Double Down, a bacon “sandwich” between two “buns” of fried chicken breast. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight shows that even fast food can be number-crunched, and demonstrates that, while bad, the Double Down isn’t the worst thing you can order, all things considered. Urp. I prefer Sam Sifton’s digestion of the sandwich at the NYT; while I generally am game for a taste of almost anything, this is one I’ll experience entirely vicariously, especially when it gives me an excuse to read The Onion’s review:
Instead of the expected chicken filling, the Double Down sticks two different kinds of cheese—pepper jack and a mystery variety created by the devil himself to win souls and punish humanity by inciting a massive wave of gluttony-induced heart attacks—bacon (yes, bacon), and something called “The Colonel’s Sauce” between two fried, breaded chicken-breast patties. (The Colonel’s Sauce, incidentally, only sounds like a crude euphemism for ejaculate.)
Rule No. 1 of adventurous eating: Beware of all secret sauces. You really don’t want to know the secret. Although the Big Mac’s is obvious: Some sort of mayo/thousand-island-dressing mashup.
Anyway, back to bacon. I think the problems started when gluttons started adding it to cheeseburgers. You ask me, proteins can be combined in another medium — bouillabaisse is fish stew, paella a big ol’ mess of fried rice — and sometimes on a sandwich (submarine), but not on a cheeseburger. Make up your mind: Do you want a bacon sandwich or a cheeseburger? You can’t have both. But that, I think, was the tipping point. Soon bacon became a joke ingredient, the magic un-PC add-on for everything from cookies to martinis. You think I’m joking. Go ahead, click.
The NYT link above explains that food has always tolerated a certain amount of silly showmanship, mentioning the custom of putting a napkin on one’s head while eating an ortolan. (I’ve read about this. Supposedly it concentrates the exquisite aroma of the endangered French songbird. Also, it keeps God from seeing you do such a vile thing.) We all know about turduckens, and even Julia Child has a recipe for a whole boned chicken stuffed with something else, but God almighty, who goes to the trouble of boning a chicken while leaving it intact? I bet that one came out of some decadent regal kitchen seeking to impress a bored monarch. Peasant cooks — the real gastronomic pioneers — don’t have time for such silliness.
But this new bacon stunt work is just silly, the sort of thing you link and pass around Facebook, but never cook and never eat.
I stand corrected: John Scalzi ate a piece of Bacon Explosion. Someone made it for him as a joke. This may be the single best description of it I’ve ever read, and now I don’t even have to think about it anymore:
Oh, God, imagine there’s bacon on one side of my mouth and sausage on the other and they meet and have hot and angry make-up sex in the middle while a salt lick cheers them on.
As for me, I’ll stick with bacon with pancakes, with eggs, sprinkled on a salad, the occasional carbonara and your late-summer BLTs with tomatoes straight out of the garden. You take your bacon cheeseburgers, your bacon explosions, and your Double Downs right back to hell, stunt eaters of the world. You are embarrassing the pig. You should be ashamed.
In keeping with today’s sodium-heavy theme, a story about Detroit’s salt mines, and relations with the neighbors. (Not good.) I think Joe or someone else mentioned them a while back, so there you are.
On those annual get-to-know-the-freshman-class memos, the ones that college in Wisconsin prepares every year to remind the faculty that some of the kids in their classes have never even seen a typewriter, let alone used one, someone should add: The 18-year-olds of today have never known responsible Republicans. I was IM-ing with a younger friend the other day, and realized he had no idea what a Rockefeller Republican was. Jacob Weisberg asks who killed them, and fingers who else? Bill Kristol.
Oh, look: Comcast is backing RightNetwork, a new cable channel focused on “entertainment with Pro-America, Pro-Business, Pro-Military sensibilities.” Looks like Kelsey Grammer is involved. Funny how actors shouldn’t be involved in politics when it’s lefty politics, but on the right they get the Strange New Respect Award. Kelsey, once again, you can’t have it both ways. Although evidently you do.
Hello, manic Monday. Have a good one.