Monday, January 09, 2012

Because That's the Way I've Always Done It

I love bacon.

It's ingrained in my olfactory nerves to LOVE the smell of fresh bacon. Growing up we could smell bacon cooking in our house seven days a week. It is still today a main staple of my dad's diet, though he's cut back to six days a week.

But I've always been confused by one thing.

Why do they make bacon so long when it can't lay flat in a frying pan?

And really, frying pans are round, so usually you can only lie one or two pieces flat in the middle, then if you want to get four or five pieces in the pan you have to curve them around the edges, then keep moving them around as they cook and shrink in size.

It never seemed to make much sense to me.

Over the years, if I found myself in a home goods store I would occasionally browse the cookware section for a pan specially made for frying bacon. You know, a square one, with decent-sized sides to keep the grease in. I have a stove top griddle that's square, but the edges are so short that the grease would be dripping down into the burner with the amount of bacon I cook at one time.

I never did find a bacon frying pan. Huh. Well, perhaps one day somebody will invent one. Someone came up with the PedEgg, right?

And then a month or so ago I had a good friend and our neighbor over for breakfast. I LOVE cooking breakfast for people. It's such a great, casual meal. The requirement was that they arrive in their pajamas or comfy clothes -- no getting dressed crap.

So they came down, enjoyed a cup of coffee, and watched as dish after dish was set on the table. Syrup. Butter. Scrambled eggs. Buttermilk pancakes. Sausage links. And finally, bacon.

"Wow," my friend said, "I've never seen bacon so long!"

"Really?" I said in surprise, "But that's how you buy bacon."

She shrugs. "Well, I could never get mine to fit in my pan, so I've always cut mine in half before frying it."

Oh. My. God.

I am an idiot of a colossal size. It's amazing I hold down a job.

It seriously never OCCURRED to me to cut the bacon in half. It was such a great example of how our brains (or perhaps just mine in particular) hold on to tradition; I had never even thought to question how I cook bacon.

For Christmas I received a shipment of meats from my dad, and in it was a couple of packets of maple flavored bacon. I couldn't wait to cook it up for breakfast with my family.

But first, I cut it in half. Guess what, it still tastes just as good as the long pieces.

1 comment:

  1. ok Jenny...While I'm not one to really leave a ton of comments all over the place, but this blog has touched me deeply as I too have a love for BACON!

    Just a couple things to note.
    1. Since you have a gas stove. Why aren't you using a cast iron frying pan?

    2. You don't need to cut up your bacon to fry it up. Who says it needs to lay flat in the pan to cook. Just toss a bunch in and stir it around once and a while. You'll find a nice deep puddle of bacon grease (YUM!) in the bottom and they will all cook.

    3. With the puddle of bacon grease in the pan, try frying a steak in it. Words can't describe the delight your taste buds will enjoy.

    Oh...and back to your title. You're right, it's hard to change habits. Just take a different route home from work some day. It feels weird.

    Remember...Bacon makes everything better!