Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bacon Bit: "Bizarre" bacon products

We at BDJ are sick of bacon getting a bad rap. Top Chef winner Richard Blais declared via his Twitter status on Oct 14 that bacon is "overrated." Flippant news commentators refer to H1N1 as "bacon pox." We won't even go into how a certain parent of one BDJ lab staffer uses her Facebook page to deliver motherly grief over the bacon love. No respect.

And then there's food writers like this Kiri Tennenbaum of In her piece, she lists a bunch of bacon-laden products and terms them "bizarre." Slapping such a label on the tantalizing bacony items indicates that for a food writer, she's can't be much of a food adventurer. If she was, she wouldn't think the addition of bacon to ice cream, hot dogs, and other edibles is a mind-blowing concept. Sigh. Don't tell her about Bacon Salt's lip balm, or her head might explode.

The good news: This piece gives exposure to great products like Archie McPhee's bacon gumballs, the Mo's Bacon Bar at Vosges, Das Food's maple-bacon lollipop, and the fabulous-looking bacon ice cream pictured in the article, and above (note McPhee's Mr. Bacon lurking in the background).

We're still steamed about bacon's bad rap. It's not weird, it's not a passing trend, it's a way of LIFE, God dammit. Wake up and smell the salted pork, people!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


The subject
So agua de coco is (as the kids might say) the shit right now. Popular in Brazil, Panama, and pretty much every other tropical nation, the beverage is catching fire here, thanks to a growing latino market, and the desire of caucasian people to increase their coolness by broadening their flavor palate. Agua de coco is the liquid sloshing around inside a fresh coconut and shouldn't be confused with coconut milk (which is loaded with fat and obtained by smushing the actual coconut meat). If you're lucky enough to live near a decent latino market, you might find a cart vendor that sells fresh-out-of-the-coconut stuff; if not, you can buy in cans like we usually do. If you've never had it, we definitely recommend it--it's sweet but not overpoweringly so, surprisingly light, and provides a nice change of pace from soda (but, at about 80 calories a serving and free from icky corn syrup, much better for you).

One of the nice side benefits of agua de coco: mushy little bits of coconut floating around in the water that sink to the bottom as you drink. Not wanting to waste perfectly good coconut, we fished some out of our glass and wrapped it in bacon.

The results
Just like agua de coco itself, the bacon-wrapped coconut leavings were delightfully different, slightly sweet, and very tasty. If you were to wrap fresh or bagged, flaked coconut in bacon (which we think we might do someday), the end result might be almost overpowering in its sweetness. This, however, was just a wee bit sugary--kind of like bacon filled with low-sugar coconut pudding. Yummy.

The conclusion: Bacon + coconut leavings = Not too shabby

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Test #186: Bacon and HAM

The subject
Ham is a relatively simple food, just like bacon. However--again, just like bacon--even though it consists of just a few ingredients (pork, salt and/or sugar, maybe some spices), the quality of specimens bearing that name can vary widely. On the low end of the spectrum, there's the cheap stuff your mom used to buy for your lunchbox sandwiches every week because it was always on sale, and a brand currently found largely in small neighborhood grocery stores called, we kid you not, "Fud." On the high end, there's the fresh ham we had at Andersonville's sublime Southern-food joint Big Jones, and the Boar's Head stuff found in the deli case. Not sure what those people do to their meats, but it sure is tasty. As Cleveland Jones, deli owner on Fox's The Family Guy, once remarked, "That Boar's Head pretty much sells itself." We bought some at our neighborhood mercado and wrapped it in bacon.

Side note: The legendary Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters are a pro ball team in Japan. The name comes not from any tendency to get combative with salted pork; rather, they're owned by Nippon Ham, one of the country's largest food-processing companies. Still, the team name is one of our all-time favorites--right up there with the Lansing Lugnuts and Toledo Mudhens minor-league outfits.

The results
Was there ever a doubt? When salted pork is coupled with more salted pork, only good things happen. In fact, we foresee gracing our next holiday table with a TurDucKen-like pork-within-pork concoction. Maybe a nice tenderloin stuffed with ham and wrapped with bacon. *drool*

The conclusion: Bacon + ham = all kinds of awesome