The unofficial “year of the pig” may be over, but the food world’s obsession with pork—particularly the fatty cuts—doesn’t show signs of flagging. Case in point: The cookbook Seduced by Bacon is now in its third printing in a little over four months. Author Joanna Pruess chalks it up to the fact that people just can’t get enough of the crispy, chewy, fatty stuff—but perhaps the book’s awesome title also has something to do with it.
I have to say that I personally have a hard time thinking of this particular meat as seductive, if only because I don’t want to Freudianize my lovely childhood memories of Dad cooking bacon on weekend mornings. But I recently went to a reading and tasting for Pruess’s book, hosted by the New York City–based Unwind with Wine club, and since then I’ve been unable to shake the memory of the scoop of pecan, brown sugar, and bacon ice cream they served for dessert (it had serious chunks of bacon in it, and the perfect balance of sweet and smoky flavors). Call it seduction if you must, but I’ve also been eating—and craving—much more bacon than usual, and experimenting with some of the tips that were shared at the event.
If you’re planning on makin’ bacon this weekend, you might be interested in trying a few new things, too:
• Cook bacon in the oven to keep your kitchen clean! Only 3 percent of people do it this way, Pruess says, but in her opinion everyone should. It’s a good way to “reduce shrinkage” and conserve more of the drippings.
• Speaking of drippings, use those every chance you get. Pruess’s husband, restaurant critic Bob Lape, who is a contributing author to the book, suggests making popcorn on the stovetop in a pot coated lightly with bacon grease. (I tried it on Super Bowl Sunday and was a little disappointed that the finished product wasn’t smokier and more bacony, so I’d say really go to town with the drippings.) Another journalist who attended the event said her Jewish grandmother in Louisiana fries leftover Matzo balls in bacon grease.
Anyone else have tips on bacon prep?