Slices of Life: Taking bacon to new levels
There's a saying: "Everything's better with bacon." And it's true.
Bacon is greasy and crunchy. It's chewy and salty. It's delectable and balanced. Bacon is akin to nature's perfect food.
I'd never contemplated the idea of improving bacon. I don't think many people have. Bacon is great flying solo or combined with any number of foods — both savory and sweet, from the traditional breakfast fodder to sprinkled on a luncheon salad or draped around a dinner steak. You can even dip it in chocolate for a flavor combination that's just about beyond this world.
When God created bacon, it was a good day.
So, making bacon better? It should be impossible, or nearly so. At least that's what I thought.
Then, last weekend, I made bacon.
And I was left with the dilemma most baconistas encounter: What to do with the inevitable grease?
Since the beginning of time, I've been using heat proof containers — empty soup cans, milk cartons and pickle jars — to dispose of the grease before placing it in the garbage. You aren't supposed to wash that bad boy down the sink, unless you want to clog your sink. (Reference my plumbing column from November for my views on that unneeded adventure.)
Anyhow, last Sunday Funday, it was just the two of us: me and the grease. I looked around the kitchen for an empty can or otherwise suitable vessel for discarding purposes. Seeing none, I hit upon my "eureka" moment.
Quick sidebar here: I've recently taken to making candles. As I scanned my kitchen for a suitable place to get rid of the bacon grease, I spotted an empty candle jar waiting for its wax. I knew exactly what I was going to do and where I'd pour my bacon grease.
You're right in guessing the candle jar. Yep. I made myself a little, albeit delectable, bacon grease candle. It hardened up nicely — not as hard as a regular candle, but hey, on previous occasions, the bacon grease would have been garbage. I call that nothing short of magic.
I let the candle cure for a few days before lighting the wick. It burned nicely. It didn't smell like bacon, but I never claimed this is a perfect world.
I suppose this exposes my inner weirdness. Who makes a candle out of bacon grease?
Someone not wanting to clog her sink or add unneeded garbage into her can. Someone who makes something out of nothing. Someone who sees the candle jar as half full. Someone who thinks outside the box in ways that take bacon from a great addition to breakfast to a multitasking twofer.
Bacon — it's not just for breakfast (or lunch or dinner or dessert) anymore. It's an accessory to your tablescape. It's a candle, for goodness sake. That is a "wow" in my world. (Again, inner weirdness, but when you're going for broke, you might as well go all the way.)
I could go on and on, but I probably already have.
I've since made more bacon candles. What can I say? My family likes bacon. It's a Sunday treat. Not to mention an ingredient for candles. I'll take a twofer product any day of the week.
But I'm not done. My bacon has been elevated beyond even that. It's the topic of this column. That, my friends, brings it to the trifecta level of a threefer.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.