This little piggy…

I don’t claim to be the best at fryin’ up bacon, but I am the best when it comes to chowin’ down on it. I LOVE bacon just as much as I love cake or even hot summer days. Though frying bacon on a hot summer day I do not love. Bacon in cake, yes please!

See, you must understand that our friend the swine is a good friend, a highly dependent friend, a little dirty, a little on the plump side, but they always clean up after themselves, despite their messiness. The pig and I have a lot in common. Our love of food, any food, really makes us the best of friends. Our relationship might be a little one sided, in that he has more to offer in our friendship than I do. I take and he gives. We’re working on that.

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Many of the other delectable parts of my swine friend deserve a blog post of their own, however, bacon is just well, the best thing since the discovery of, well, bacon.

We must really thank the English and their European counterparts for the animal and the word. Whether spelt bacoun or bacon the word and this particular cut of meat have been around since as early as the 11th century. Heck maybe it even predates the 11th century, but no one wanted to share their wondrous salty and crispy discovery. I don’t blame them.

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Our friend the little piggy, fell victim to the cogs of the Industrial Revolution. As with many other aspects of human life, the poor piggy had to leave the fresh air of the countryside where he could roam free and happily graze during the Summer and Fall months.  Come the Winter, our friend provided his life to sustain a family through those cold and harsh months. The life and death of our four footed friend was short, but sweet. He was local and sustainable. The city air did not make him free.

Unfortunately, everyone caught on to the benefits of our hog friend and he sold out. Yes, the pig went commercial and an industry was built around his assets.
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I guess I should talk about the cooking of this finely cured meat, but honestly, as long as it’s not burnt or raw, then it’s cooked perfectly. Baking bacon in the oven is less messy and super easy. Sometimes I like to sprinkle a little brown sugar on one side before I pop them in the oven. Oh yes, sweet, salty, crunchy, and chewy….

Frying bacon in a pan takes a little more focus. Make sure your pan isn’t TOO hot and that you’re not overcrowding your little piglets. You don’t need to add any oil to the pan, since the bacon will depart with its delicious fat rather quickly. I keep a mason jar next to my stove to store all the remaining fat. Yes, I cook with lard. Just make sure to strain the fat before pouring it into the jar. You don’t want to have all the little burnt bits ruining your perfect fat.

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This little piggy…

A Full Bangin’ Breakfast

Having lived in England for several years, I tend to miss certain things, especially zebra crossings, rain in the summer, EastEnders, a cuppa, Sunday roasts, pints, and the English breakfast. Bacon, bangers (sausage), eggs, baked beans, toast, tomatoes, mushrooms, and black pudding (for the northern types) all fried/grilled into a greasy mess. Curing the worst hangover, nourishing the body for a hard days work, and clogging arteries for a lifetime.

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Oh, it tasted as good as it looks.

I never stated, nor have others, that the English make good food, but they sure do make food that sustains the body. I mean beer was breakfast for many years. What we now know of as ‘The English Breakfast’, ‘fry-up’, or ‘full English’ is a fairly recent conception, consisting all of the above ingredients, really emerging as a national breakfast post WWII and getting serious in the 1960s with the help of bed and breakfast establishments. Bacon has been part of the English diet since the eighteenth century and was happily married to the egg, coining the term ‘bacon and eggs.’ A match made in breakfast heaven!

This isn’t your everyday kind of breakfast. I remember going to greasy spoons, or cafés (as they are called in the UK) and devouring a full breakfast like a champ. Always surrounded by working-class men, college students, the unemployed, and the recently hungover. Not a lot of women around, they were probably watching their figures somewhere.

Given my affinity for all things English, my ex-pat friend Martin graciously made me a full breakfast. Despite his current trend of vegetarianism, he banged it out like a true Englishman.

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Martin, my token English friend. He’s a bit confused by his shirt…
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Pre-cooking food runway
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Don’t worry friends, there was no marmite used in this meal.
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Lard, yes!
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get in my belly!
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Who doesn’t love English sausage?
A Full Bangin’ Breakfast