Friday, November 15, 2013

A Brief History and Some Amazing Statistics About Bacon

I've always considered bacon an essentially American table item.  Yeah, sure the French sneak it into a quiche Lorraine and you can order bacon and eggs for breakfast anywhere in Mexico.  Ireland has "bacon" which is Canadian bacon and "streaky" bacon which is the same as ours.

But America uses the most bacon, right?  Burger King alone uses more than five million pounds of bacon a year!

I was shocked to read that the Chinese were salting and preserving pork in 1500 B.C.!  Aesop mentioned it in 550 B.C.

The countries that routinely eat bacon surprised me: 
America, Great Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal (!) Germany, Austria and Switzerland plus Hungary, Denmark and, of course, China. 

Bacon is eaten sparkingly in this house - a slice and a half each on Sundays - because even though it has no trans fat and does have vitamins, protein, niacin, potassium, zinc and selenium, it is too high in salt, total fat and cholesterol.  Bacon should be like a great treat once in awhile - you wouldn't want to live on, say Godiva chocolates, for very long.

According to  "The Bacon Cookbook," by James Villas   Wiley Publishers    275 pages   $35  bacon goes well with bananas (of all things.)

2 T lemon juice
1 T grainy, dark mustard
Pepper to taste
2 ripe and firm bananas
8 slices of hickory or applewood smoked bacon, each slice cut in half

Whisk together the lemon juice, mustard and pepper.  Cut the bananas in rounds and marinate them in the sauce. 

Meanwhile, cook the bacon to about half done, drain it on paper towels and then wrap each strip of bacon around a slice of banana and toothpick it together.  Put them on a pizza sheet or similar and broil 4 in. from the flames until the bacon is crispy - about 5 or 6 minutes.

I bet Elvis would have loved them.

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