Wednesday, December 26, 2007


The Book: James Villas: THE BACON COOKBOOK: More than 150 Recipes from Around the World for Everyone's Favorite Food. Wiley, 2007. As new.
First read: 2007
Owned since: 2007

Since I'm on the road and away from my bookshelves, posts from now until I get home will all be books I received for Christmas. Fortunately, I got several, and they're all keepers.

This one was an inspired gift from Claire, who knows my weakness. It's exactly what the title says, and includes a history of bacon and descriptions of the many different types, some of which I've never encountered. Not to worry; the book also suggests sources for the types of bacon that might be harder for Americans to find. It's a serious cookbook, with chapters on everything from canapes and appetizers to -- yes -- dessert.

The other night I tried the book's recipe for Swedish Spice Cookies, made with bacon fat instead of butter. The cookies, while certainly edible, were ... um ... interesting. They didn't taste exactly bacon-y, but had a slightly greasy mouthfeel and a kind of meaty undertone that I am not used to associating with cookies. Chefs prefer to cook with butter rather than bacon grease for a reason, and I suspect there might be a reason we don't see many Swedish restaurants, too.

Nevertheless, I'm proud of having made the experiment, and glad to have tried bacon-fat cookies. My next attempt from this book will probably be something a little more conventional, like the Alsatian bacon and onion tart. Thanks, Claire!

Five Random Songs

I got some really excellent Christmas presents this year, including an iPod Touch (thanks, Joe!) that adds a whole new dimension to the Shuffle feature. I also got new music, thanks to Chris and John ... let's see what comes up today...

"Metropolis," The Pogues. Shane MacGowan turned 50 yesterday. Amazing, he doesn't look a day over 80.

"Waiting in Vain," Bob Marley and the Wailers. "It's been three years since I'm knocking on your door/And I still can knock some more..." Sometimes it's a fine line between romantic devotion and stalking.

"If I Had a Hammer," the Weavers. Kicking it old school, for real.

"H. R. Pufnstuf," The Murmurs. From Saturday Morning Cartoons' Greatest Hits, a compilation that matched '90s alternative bands up with the themes of the cartoons I watched as a kid. H.R. Pufnstuf, in case you missed it, was a vaguely dragon-like creature who was the mayor of Living Island, where Jimmy and his magic flute were shipwrecked. I haven't seen an episode of "H.R. Pufnstuf" in many years, but he still shows up in my dreams once in a while.

"New Religion," Alice Smith. This was a free Starbucks download that a friend passed along to me (thanks, Mike), and I like it a lot. Alice Smith's voice falls between rock and soul, and every time I hear this song I think I need to go download the full album. In fact, I might do that right now.


Anonymous said...

Post Christmas ramble. I like Bacon. Bacon is addicting. Someone told me that bacon is healthier to eat than sausage. Since those were the only two foods compared, I have no context. I usually try to find uncured bacon but I did read somewhere that the nitrites used to cure bacon were flushed out with citrus juices and would be removed with the orange juice.

H.R. Puffenstuff used to bother me. He looked like a mutant panda to me. He probably was eating too much sausage


AnswerGirl said...

He DID look like a panda! A cross between a panda and a dragon, with a really annoying voice.

Lynette was talking about trying to eat more local food, and looking for local meats -- I would like to find a local source for bacon, if you know of any.

Anonymous said...

Remind me when you get back.

There are people around- Harvest Time sells some, there is a mail order place in Monroe but I don't know if the livestock is local


norby said...

I've seen this cookbook, and I've thought about owning it, except for the dessert part. I think about bacon and dessert, and my mind just balks. The two should not be brought together in my opinion.

Although I do occasionally eat peanut butter and bacon sandwiches, which many people seem to find odd, so maybe I'm wrong.

AnswerGirl said...

There's a recipe in here for grilled bacon-wrapped bananas that sounds excellent, and I've had candied bacon, which is fabulous.

It's no odder than chocolate-covered pretzels, or deep-fried ice cream...

Anonymous said...

I think this is a book my family needs to own. For Thanksgiving Owen and I made some very good bacon blue cheese puffs. Lou's in LA serves something positively addictive called "pig candy" and Mark has recently taken to popping his pop corn in bacon fat.

A great source for bacon and other smoked meats is the smoke house in Bishop California. They do mail order.

For anyone in Massachussets a great site for finding local food providers is: