I’ve been Seduced by Bacon by Chef Rachel
Seduced by Bacon: Recipes & Lore About American’s Favorite Indulgence by food writer Joanna Pruess with Bob Lape, her husband, a food critic, and confirmed lifelong bacon lover. “Almost every dish can be made better with bacon,” says the books jacket copy. “Our love affair with bacon is passionate and enduring,” say the book’s authors. Comedian and Bacon King Jim Gaffigan, would surely concur. Haven’t heard his skits? Check ‘em out on YouTube (after you’ve finished reading my blog post!).
Serenaded by the sound of bacon cooking? Well, even if you’re not, you might want to check out this book. If you like bacon, Seduced by Bacon offers scrumptious dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or snack time.
If you’re going to be seduced by anything (foodwise, that is!), better it be bacon than, say, cream puffs, chocolate éclairs, lasagna, or macaroni and cheese. Contrary to what you’ve heard and read through the mass media, bacon does is a healthy food that deserves an honorable place on your plate… next to a more generous serving of fresh vegetables.
Bacon is actually better for you and more heart smart than white sugar, wheat, and corn. It was framed and blamed for diseases caused by other foods (e.g., refined vegetable oils, margarine, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and refined grains! How’d it get such a bad reputation? I clever smear campaign designed to sell us cereal and soy products paired with anti-saturated fat propaganda designed to sell us refined vegetable oils, margarine, and shortening. Don’t believe me? Check out Tom Naughton’s film: Fat Head.
Back to the benefits of bacon. It adds protein and satiety inducing, blood sugar stabilizing fat to meals. It’s meat and we’re designed by nature to eat meat. It’s great at making otherwise aversive vegetables, like Brussels Sprouts, more appealing to picky eaters of all ages. There’s so much you can do with it!
Eat at least twice as much fresh vegetables or vegetables and fruit as bacon (bacon and eggs, bacon and fish, or bacon and meat) and your meal will still have a net alkaline balance, contributing to better health and ease of weight control. Even if you’re aiming to reduce your body fat, there’s room for bacon (in place of bread, pasta, rice, crackers, and other such items).
There’s so much to like about Seduced by Bacon: enticing photographs, a rundown of bacon terminology (baconology for short), bacon cooking methods beyond frying in a skillet, clearly crafted instructions, a generous smattering of bacon bits (neat stories, poems, anecdotes, history, and fun), suppliers of specialty bacon (who would have known there’s a Bacon of The Month Club? How much fun would that be? Mary & Steve are you reading this?).
Who here despised Brussels Sprouts as a child (besides me)? I now love ‘em but if you’ve not yet been converted (I was about 24 years ago), give the crucifers another chance. Married with the right flavors and enough fat or oil, you just might change your opinion of them! Go ahead, add some bacon. I enjoyed the Stir Fried Brussels Sprouts, Shitakes & Scallions on page 148. (Oyster mushrooms also work here as does low sodium, gluten-free tamari soy sauce or coconut aminos.)
I made the Warm Baby Spinach Salad with Oranges, Red Onions & Bacon (page 60). I would use scallions next time. Still, it was an enjoyable dish.
Although I rarely eat popcorn. Last time I made it was last summer when I watched The Notebook. But after reading the Bacon Bits on page 44 about Bacon Popped Pop Corn, Bob Lape convinced me to try this dish. I used multi colored organic popcorn (no GMOs for me if I can help it, which I can at home). Sprinkled with garlic powder and finely ground Celtic Sea Salt it made a great accompaniment to large green salad enriched with leftover chicken, olives, raisins, carrots, and homemade vinaigrette.
For lunch last Thursday (and Friday) I made a half batch of the Chinese Glazed Salmon (page 94). I started with wild Alaskan salmon fillets, lightly seared them in a skillet (I used Spectrum Shortening made from mechanically pressed organic palm oil), drizzled on an Asian barbecue sauce (I used homemade Hoisin Sauce, which was way easier than I thought it would be to make), sensuously draped the fillets with bacon and finished the fish under the broiler. Why make Hoisin Sauce? To avoid the high fructose corn syrup, artificial colorings and flavorings. By the way, you can omit the brown sugar in the barbecue sauce recipe (try roughly half as much honey plus 4 to 8 drops of liquid stevia).
I still want to make the Devilish Short Ribs (page 116). I love short ribs and the addition of carrots, onions, red bell peppers, ancho and jalapeno chiles, garlic, bay leaves, parsley, peppercorns, paprika, and cilantro sounds like my kind of food combination.
I picked up Seduced by Bacon from the Phoenix Public Library. I’ve enjoyed reaading it and cooking from it. Eventually I must return it. In the meantime I’m enjoying making my way through the recipes that rely on vegetables and meats and learning more about it.
Wondering what kind of bacon I used in the recipes? Pederson’s Natural Farms. They have several different flavors at the Sunflower Markets in my area. They’re mighty delicious! I’ve tried four flavors and I liked all of them. Don’t be shy, give ‘em a try!