Of course, we all know how valuable bacon would be in the case of a zombie apocalypse (the correct answer being “more valuable than gold”). This very topic was discussed at Baconfest in regards to the Tactical Bacon. Commenter Victor Tookes was quick to point out this post on How to Make Bacon Post Apocalypse.
This article is great, with some fantastic quotes:
There is no reason that the walking dead should stop humanity from enjoying it’s crowning culinary achievement.
Pigs are fantastic, magical animals, they turn vegetables into bacon.
Tell me that is not just *dying* to be put on a tee-shirt.
However, the informative bacon posts are just the beginning! It is well worth looking around the rest of the Zombie Preparedness Initiative’s website!
Hours and hours of things to read there. Important, life saving things. Keep in mind, this is the only zombie organization specifically inspired by Shaun of the Dead. And if that doesn’t make them serious enough, they have an .org extension on their webpage. They are an organization people!
An important organization with an important mission. I want all of you to study up. We’ll each have our roles to play, and we don’t have room on the team for any slackers.
Of course, the main feature of baconfest is the annual taste test. We had a nice collection of bacons this year. We didn’t get as many sort of rare or local varieties as I would have liked (especially compared to last year), but overall I thought everything was really good. It was a pretty wide range of flavors and appearances.
|Boar’s Head (Smoked)||5||Good crisp – Light|
|Sobie Meats||6||A lot more tasty fat (by tasty I mean full body) thicker cut but still a crunch.|
|Nueske’s (Wild Cherrywood Smoked)||4||All the fat was at the end instead of throughout|
|ThinkGeek Tactical Bacon||2||super thing – nice for crunch but lacked flavor|
|Trader Joe’s Black Forrest Bacon (dry rubbed)||5||very similar to #1. A good flavor, very light.|
|Boar’s Head (Smoked)||7||Sweet. Thin. I liked the crispiness|
|Sobie Meats||2||Very meaty taste is strong. Like fish.|
|Nueske’s (Wild Cherrywood Smoked)||5||Smokey & salty|
|ThinkGeek Tactical Bacon||6||Not much flavor. A good breakfast bacon.|
|Trader Joe’s Black Forrest Bacon (dry rubbed)||7||Taste is very different in a good way. I like how thin it is.|
|Boar’s Head (Smoked)||8||thin (which is nice), no overpowering flavors which is also nice|
|Sobie Meats||5||blah. has sort of a stale flavor, a little chewy|
|Nueske’s (Wild Cherrywood Smoked)||7.5||a little sweet, a little salty, tastes liek a delicious campfire|
|ThinkGeek Tactical Bacon||4||I confess to recognizing this one. Honestly, it tastes like nothing, which is better than I expected. The texture is fine|
|Trader Joe’s Black Forrest Bacon (dry rubbed)||6||Has a subtly sweet flavor. Not bad, nothing fantastic either. Also, thin in a good way.|
|Boar’s Head (Smoked)||5||average bacon, decent taste, bacon size was a little uneven|
|Sobie Meats||8||good appearance, just the right amount of fatty, good after taste, a little smokey|
|Nueske’s (Wild Cherrywood Smoked)||9||great flavor, salty, little fatty|
|ThinkGeek Tactical Bacon||2||blech|
|Trader Joe’s Black Forrest Bacon (dry rubbed)||8||good taste, a little different, more tough than I usually like, but it all came together for me|
|Boar’s Head (Smoked)||6||smiley face|
|Sobie Meats||1||frowny face|
|Nueske’s (Wild Cherrywood Smoked)||2||unsure face|
|ThinkGeek Tactical Bacon||10||smiley face|
|Trader Joe’s Black Forrest Bacon (dry rubbed)||8||smiley face|
|Brand||Average Rating||Average Rating (with Evie)|
|Boar’s Head (Smoked)||6.25||6.2|
|Nueske’s (Wild Cherrywood Smoked)||6.375||5.5|
|ThinkGeek Tactical Bacon||3.5||4.8|
|Trader Joe’s Black Forrest Bacon (dry rubbed)||6.5||6.8|
Very, very close this year. I can’t believe that Trader Joe’s bacon has won 2 out of 3 years! That’s crazy. It’s also interesting that the winner didn’t change with the inclusion of Evie’s rankings.
Ollie’s ballot was exactly what you would think Ollie’s ballet would be, each one signed with an “O” to be sure there was no hanky panky.
I would like to talk for a minute about the Tactical Bacon from ThinkGeek.
Even though it lost pretty badly, everyone was very impressed with the TacBac. This can of bacon has been sitting in my pantry for more than THREE YEARS. Sara was so disgusted by the idea of it, that she couldn’t even look at the can. And given all that, i would put it up against any of the “precooked” bacons on the market. It was remarkable, and certainly worth eating in the case of a zombie apocalypse. In fact, you’ll notice Evie gave it a full 10! I think this is probably because she doesn’t like strong tastes and it has a pretty muted flavor, but nonetheless, if anybody can give old bacon from a can a 10, I think we’ve got a winner. (Full disclosure, I did drop the slices in the bacon grease from one of the other bacons to better disguise it.)
Ah, spring is in the air, and that means a young man’s mind turns to thoughts of bacon.
Our turn to host once again, and I think the food went pretty well. I kept feeling guilty, like I didn’t spend enough time planning things out. I think this was a combination of, 1) this is year 3, so we kind of know what we’re doing, 2) I spread out a lot of the planning over the course of the last year, and 3) we did some recipes that we have made before, which shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing, since we know they are good recipes.
Bacon Taste Test
There were no heart attacks, so as far as I’m concerned, that’s a win!
The bacon can get a little overwhelming, but I didn’t think it did this year. I’m always on the lookout for “bacon related” recipes that don’t actually involve bacon, such as the “bacon and egg” pretzels and the piggy-shaped pancakes (harder to come by than you might think). Also, our recipes that did involve bacon also involved a lot of other healthy(ish) ingredients. I think this was the first year that I didn’t really feel like a bloated pig (no pun intended) at the end of the day.
The day was broken up with music class and swim class, and Oliver in particular had a hard time leaving the festivities. However, these seemed like minor distractions and didn’t take away from the hours and hours spent watching Evie’s puppet shows and plays. We didn’t have any bacon related activities this year (no Kevin Bacon movie), which is maybe kind of a bummer in retrospect, but we were pretty busy all day so I don’t know when we would have fit it in.
And not one person commented on our matching shirts while we were out and about! This is especially strange to me since I practically always get a comment when I’m wearing one of my baconfest shirts around.
I must admit that we did not actually eat the roasted chickpeas and bacon until the following day. The idea was to eat them that night while we played a couple of rounds of Pandemic, but, as usual for the evening of baconfest, nobody was hungry. So we ended up making it for lunch the next day. The good news is, we did manage to keep the swine flu from taking over the world (to say nothing of the bacteria-resistant chlamydia!). I think I’d take a game of Pandemic over watching a movie any day. Lots of fun!
Baconfest is always a fantastic time, an excellent tradition, and full of delicious, bacony goodness. Evie is absolutely convinced that it is a national holiday, right up there with Easter and Christmas. I have to admit, I probably enjoy it more than a lot of other holidays!
Some people get tired of all the stupid April Fools jokes that run around on the Internet. It seems like every company has some “joke” up their sleeve, to the point where there’s just no chance of anybody tricking you on that day.
On the other hand, I like it. April Fools day has turned into something like an Internet holiday. Wearing a green, pseudo-Irish outfit and drinking beer doesn’t make sense either, but everybody goes along with it because it’s St. Patrick’s day, and why not? Putting out a silly fake ad or doing something dumb on your website is the April 1st equivalent of wearing green. It shows you’re participating.
So, in honor of the 3rd annual baconfest this weekend, I give you Scope’s contribution this year: bacon flavored mouthwash, “for breath that sizzles”
This is the perfect example of an April fools joke. It’s a ridiculous and terrible idea, and yet it’s *just* plausible enough that a bunch of talking head idiots at a company might try to capitalize on the bacon sensation. Plus, there’s some serious production value on that commercial. It’s more enjoyable than a lot of actual commercials.
ThinkGeek, on the other hand, continues to use April Fools “pranks” as a way of beta testing perfectly good ideas to see what people actually want to buy. Seriously guys, there is an art to a good April fools joke. You have to start by making something that’s ridiculous, and then convince me, despite my skepticism, that it is a real thing. That’s a well done joke. Just showing me some products that you could make and sell, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet, is not a joke.
Scope link via Sylvain (and it should be mentioned this video came out *before* April fools, lending it credibility).
I’ve mentioned before the important, and useful ability of the common man to petition the federal government for important services. Now, unfortunately, some people have put this powerful website to silly uses, which is a shame, because it obscures the truly useful petitions. I’m referring of course, to this one: Have the USDA set a Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for bacon.
We, the undersigned, respectfully request that the USDA set a Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for bacon, so that all Americans can be guided on how best to participate in this amazing, nation building food.
Finally, something useful and important that the government could actually accomplish!
Please join me in signing this vital petition. We need 100,000 signatures by April 21st, and we have a long, long way to go.
The first Friday of the month is reserved for recipes. You can see additional First Friday Food posts here.
Now that it is starting to be fall, it is starting to be “soup season”. Sara kind of thinks soup season extends year round, so she has quite a lot of soup recipes in her arsenal, but this one is by far my favorite.
Let me start by saying, I am very anti-creamy soups. I like thin soups, like chicken noodle, french onion, etc. And this soup is as thick as it gets. The next day you can practically cut it with a knife. And yet, I love it.
Maybe it is not coincidental that it has bacon in it, which certainly doesn’t hurt.
Sooo yummy. It’s in the crock pot, so it’s not too difficult to make, but you do have to do a lot of potato chopping first which takes a long time. However, it makes a lot, so you get multiple meals out of it, making the effort more than worth it. It works fine to freeze it.
It is a very hearty soup. I recommend serving it with some fresh baked bread.
Recipe from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook
- 5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 cup half-and-half (or whole milk)
- 1/2 cup sour cream (we use our homemade plain yogurt instead)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 ounces bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled
- 6 green onions, sliced
- Put the potatoes in the slow cooker and add water to cover. Cover and cook on high until the potatoes are cooked and falling apart, about 5 hours.
- Turn the cooker to low, add the butter, half-and-half, and sour cream, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until hot, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in the crumbled bacon and green onions. Serve immediately or keep warm on low, adding water or milk to thin if necessary.
Evie, screaming from the other room: “I said put it in my room!!”
Ollie, to me: “EE’s attituding.”
::Evie hits Ollie::
Evie: “Now give me a hug.”
Ollie: “We’re having much fun, right EE?”
Poor Oliver is such an abused husband in that relationship.
::We were discussing Halloween costumes::
Sara: “Ollie, if you could dress up like anybody, who would you dress up as?”
Me: “I just opened the windows and there is a sweet breeze blowing through here.”
Sara: “Yeah, but then its not going to smell like bacon anymore.”
I think we just figured out why I married her.
The first Friday of the month is reserved for recipes. You can see additional First Friday Food posts here.
This recipe actually came from Sara’s mom, who made it for dinner one night at our house, but the reason we really picked it up and ran with it was because of all the delicious kale we have growing in our garden this year.
In fact, the best part about this recipe is that we usually have everything we need to make it on hand at any given moment. There have been many a night where we say, “We have nothing to make for supper,” and then we remember this recipe and go from having absolutely nothing to eat, to having a fantastic gourmet meal.
(Stock bacon photo…you’d be surprised at how many of these I have)
It’s hard to say whether this is a hard or easy dish to make. It’s pretty simple, but at the same time it’s sort of a pain to remove all the stems from the kale. Also, we usually make the bacon ahead of time (you’d be amazed at what you can do when you have pre-cooked bacon easily at hand). So if you already have cooked bacon and you have a sous chef to de-stem the kale, it’s a piece of cake!
I should also mention that, while you can eat it by itself, we usually serve it over rice, pasta, or quinoa. It’s plenty flavorful, and the addition lets it stretch far enough to have some leftovers for lunch the next day.
You know, when I originally put a section for “the verdict” I kind of imagined I would use these First Friday Food posts to try new things. Instead, I usually select from our cadre of favorite recipes. So I always just end up saying, “Yeah, the verdict was it’s awesome!” because otherwise I wouldn’t have put that recipe up there.
So, the verdict is, it’s awesome.
I am well on record saying I do not enjoy the combination of salty and sweet, and yet that is exactly what this is. What can I say, I am a man of many inconsistencies. The sugar combines with the balsamic vinegar, which combines with the saltiness of the bacon and makes something totally new and delicious.
I think this is the best recipe we have for kale, I like it even better than kale chips. If you have kale lying around, like we do, then this is the perfect way to use it (says me — the kids mostly just try to pick out the beans and bacon — oh well, what are you gonna do).
Recipe from Weight Watchers.
- 3 slices uncooked bacon
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1 pound uncooked kale, stemmed, roughly chopped
- 1 cup canned chicken or beef broth
- 15 oz canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar, in the raw
- Set a large, heavy pot or skillet over medium heat; add bacon and cook to desired crispness. Remove bacon from pot and set aside; leave bacon drippings in pot.
- Add onion and red pepper flakes to bacon drippings; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add garlic; cook, stirring, until garlic becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Add kale; cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to wilt, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add broth; cover and simmer over low heat until kale is just tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add beans; simmer, uncovered, until liquid is almost evaporated, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Stir in salt, vinegar and sugar; sprinkle with crumbled bacon and serve immediately.
When you publish a post, WordPress will automatically add “related post” hyperlinks at the bottom, with the idea that people might like to browse from related topic to related topic. Kind of like when you get stuck watching related videos on youtube for hours and hours.
I generally hate the idea.
The problem is that the “auto-generator” usually creates links that are barely related at best, and also tends to give the impression that I have intentionally linked in these posts, or endorsed them in some way. If I’m going to link to something, I’ll link to it. So I disabled the feature.
However, I recently got a ping-back on my Baconfest posts from Salut! Adventures, who had written an honest to goodness bacon poem. Now that’s a related link! In fact, it’s not just a bacon poem, but an awesome bacon poem, which I will now present to you. Although I didn’t write it, I wish I had. Enjoy.
The Vegan – A Baconfest Poem
Once upon a morning dreary, in my bathrobe, wan and weary,
I stood and gazed forlornly at my open icebox door.
There was no breakfast for the makin’, no smoky hardwood bacon,
And it seemed that I would soon be schlepping towards the corner store.
Schlepping sadly to the store.
But then there came a tapping, an annoying kind of rapping
On the wooden frame that stands around my humble kitchen door.
‘Twas my pink and chubby neighbor, come to ask of me a favor,
Come to borrow almond flavor that he knew I had in store.
Only this and nothing more.
“What’s the worry? Why the hubbub?” asked the portly little cherub,
As he watched me grab my house keys and walk ‘cross the kitchen floor.
I explained I had no bacon, and the toll that it was takin’
As I gave him almond extract and I showed him towards the door.
Showed him firmly towards the door.
“That’s no problem, said my neighbor, “You can get the same great flavor
From the tofu products you can buy at any health food store.
We vegans really love it, and you too will be fond of it,
Really, going without bacon is not that much of a chore.
Not too terrible a chore!”
“Ye Gods!” I spat and sputtered, and some expletives were muttered
As I wrestled with my neighbor like a warring Carnivore.
In a rage I hit and pounded , until suddenly astounded,
I saw a curly, porcine tail slip out onto the kitchen floor.
‘Twas a pig! And nothing more.
An hour later I was sated, with my bacon crave abated,
And I never even had to journey to the corner store.
My freezer now is packed with pounds of bacon, neatly stacked
Enough to last through summertime, and maybe even more.
And my neighbor? Nevermore.
The first Friday of the month is reserved for recipes. You can see additional First Friday Food posts here.
Okay, so I haven’t actually made this, which is a first for First Friday Food. So I can’t speak for how difficult it is to make, but I can speak for how awesome it is to eat!
In a day of a lot of really good recipes, this one stood out to me as the best. The bacon really added something; it was neither extraneous nor overpowering. It is sweet, but not too sweet, and it goes perfect for breakfast. There wasn’t anybody who didn’t like this (even Evie!), in fact, I don’t think there was anybody who didn’t take seconds (or thirds, or in some cases fourths).
Adapted from Smittenkitchen.com
- 1 cup Whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup dried figs (rehydrated)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup (10 slices) cooked bacon (apple wood smoked)
- 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- Cook bacon until crispy. Chop into small pieces.
- Prepare figs by chopping them into small pieces (roughly the same size as your bacon pieces). Place the pieces into the bottom of a medium bowl . Cover the fig pieces in boiling water and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Strain fig pieces.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk the flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt together.
- Cut the butter into small pieces with a knife and work the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
- Toss in the figs and bacon and mix.
- Add the ricotta and heavy cream together and stir them in to form a dough with a flexible spatula. Using your hands, gently knead dough into and even mass at the bottom of the bowl.
- Transfer the dough to a slightly floured counter. Lightly flour the top of the dough and pat it into a circle (about 7 in. in diameter) about 1 inch thick. With a large knife, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet with a spatula.
- Bake the scones for 15 mins, until lightly golden at the edges. Cool in a pan for a minute then transfer to a wire rack. Allow them to cool about 5 minutes before glazing.
- Combine the maple syrup and brown sugar. Lightly brushed over the baked scones.
Scones are best the day they are baked. However, if you wish to get a lead on them, you can make them, arrange them on the parchment-lined sheet and freeze them. If you are prepping just one day in advance, cover the tray with plastic wrap and bake them the day you need them. If you are prepping them more than one day in advance, once the scones are frozen, transfer the scones to a freezer bag or container. Bring them back to a parchment lined sheet when you are ready to bake them. Do not defrost, just throw the frozen scones in the oven and add 2-3 mins to the baking time.
We had 4 new competitors throw their hats into the ring this year:
- Willow Lake Farms (Custom Quality Meats)
- Pecatonica Valley (Madison Farmer’s Market)
- Oscar Mayer Pre-cooked (any old grocery store)
- Jim’s Double Smoked (Jim’s Market, Madison)
The focus was really on local (well, local to Madison anyway!) bacons, or at least ones you can’t just walk into the supermarket and buy. Indie bacons, if you will. Of particular note was the Willow Lake Farms’ bacon, because this is Amanda’s family’s personal bacon. For realz. They not only own the butcher shop (Custom Quality Meats), they actually raise the animals that eventually become their product. It doesn’t get any more “local” than that!
The sharp eyed among you will note that the exception, of course, being the Oscar Mayer pre-cooked “control” bacon. This was supposed to be a surprise, which necessitated that this year’s test be a blind taste test, but I saw the box in the cooler the night before. So only my brother actually knew which one was the Oscar Mayer. I knew that it was in there, but I actually forgot about it until I had recorded all of my observations. Suddenly I broke out in a cold sweat. What if I actually ranked it as the best? Oh, the disgrace!
Without further ado, here are the rankings:
|Willow Lake Farms||7||Very lean, mild flavor|
|Pecatonica Valley||8||Salty, stronger flavor, just enough fat|
|Oscar Mayer Pre-cooked||4||Super thin – not a meaty taste, salty|
|Jim’s Double Smoked||7 1/2||Thickest cut of the day, well seasoned, good amount of fat|
|Willow Lake Farms||8||Very mild flavor, perfect breakfast bacon – not smokey & not too sweet|
|Pecatonica Valley||6||pretty sweet, a little salty|
|Oscar Mayer Pre-cooked||5||looks thin, not much flavor, slightly smokey at the end|
|Jim’s Double Smoked||5||very meaty flavor – almost too much like ham, not smokey enough|
|Willow Lake Farms||7||plain, not too flavorful, versatile, not too salty|
|Pecatonica Valley||7 1/2||similar to blue circle with a slightly smoky taste|
|Oscar Mayer Pre-cooked||5||a little stale and chewy, but still bacon|
|Jim’s Double Smoked||6||thick, a little chewy, saltier than others, thick strip of fat is kind of unappetizing|
|Willow Lake Farms||6||salty, little fatty, thicker, almost tough|
|Pecatonica Valley||7||perfect texture, salty, almost oilier somehow, but not fatty, similar taste to blue, but better texture|
|Oscar Mayer Pre-cooked||5||almost brittle, not as salty, average|
|Jim’s Double Smoked||5||chewy, more piggy|
|Willow Lake Farms||7|
|Oscar Mayer Pre-cooked||4.75|
|Jim’s Double Smoked||5.875|
Overall, I felt like all the bacon was relatively similar, and therefore hard to rank. Two interesting things from the results:
- Oscar Mayer lost by a decent margin. Thank god, all is right with the world! I really forgot to pay attention to that during the test, and I really was worried I would accidentally like it. However, without knowing which bacon was which, everybody ranked it the lowest.
- Amanda’s family’s bacon did not win. However, it did miss out by only .125 measly points! That is one small margin of victory. Amanda didn’t seem upset about this, but I think she was relieved that she at least ranked it the highest. She attributed it to the fact that she always had this bacon growing up, so when she tasted it she immediately thought, “That’s what bacon is supposed to taste like!”
I can assure you, I’ve never been prouder as a dad. She obviously has a finely tuned pallet. Maybe she has a future as some kind of sommelier for bacon?
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of the year again. I present the 2nd Annual Halbach Baconfest:
This year’s Baconfest was conceptually very similar to last year’s. Bacon themed menu all day, bacon taste test, and, of course, there were shirts.
Nathan and Amanda hosted this year, so even though it was at our house, they did all the food preparation. I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome it is to have someone else do all the food preparation. Also, they did as much as they could ahead of time, which really saved us from having to cook non-stop all day, like we did last year. Good thing too, since we had a ballet recital to attend in the morning, and the afternoon was just too beautiful weather-wise to spend it indoors.
I thought the food overall was much better than last year (and not only because I didn’t have to make it). Last year everything was perfectly good, but a lot of stuff was sort of unremarkable. This year, there were a few things that weren’t particularly bacon-y, but they were still unique or interesting. Additionally, there were several things that really stood out this year, which was much improved over last year.
Halbach BaconFest 2012 Menu
Sandwich-Bacon with Scrambled Eggs
Bacon-Stuffed Crust Pizza, Two Ways
Barbecue-chicken bacon and Bacon with sautéed Onion
Bacon Taste Testing
Four distinct bacons for the discriminating bacon consumer
Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
Bacon-Stuffed Dough, Three Ways
Bacon-potato gnocchi pan seared in a bacon-butter sage sauce
Bacon wontons seared and steamed served with ginger-garlic dipping sauce
Bacon-pea pesto stuffed shells baked with bacon marinara sauce
Sweet Bacon Cheesecake with Candied Bacon Topping
I want to specifically comment on the bacon cheesecake. My gut reaction was, “Say whaaa?” The combination of bacon and cheesecake did not sound appealing at all. And yet, it was so good! But strange. I don’t think I could really explain it to you without trying it. You absolutely can taste the bacon; it’s not one of those things where there’s some token bacon just to make it a “bacon” recipe. But the bacon combines with the sweetness to make something that’s delicious and totally unique. Without question the best bacon dessert recipe I have ever had (granted, that’s a low bar, because almost every bacon dessert I have ever had has been disgusting).
The Kevin Bacon movie this year was going to be Apollo 13, but by the end of the day we opted for board games instead. Sorry, Mr. Bacon, you were there in spirit. (Side note, are there any bacon related board games? Because if not, I think we have a money maker on our hands.)
I’m already looking forward to next year; I’ve already begun work on the logo.
Best. Tradition. Ever.
Here we have yet another search term roundup, in which I ruminate about the strangest Google search terms that have lead weary Internet wanderers to my doorstep.
“Skeletor frozen in ice” – We can only hope that Heman was also frozen in ice, to be thawed to combat the future menace, a la Demolition Man.
“awesome” – I don’t know what they thought they would find googling this term, but I’m glad my website came up in the search! I’d like to think it was the first result.
“the awesomest guy ever” – Two hits on this! Two! Thank you for the recognition Google!
“is this thing on dating website” – I’m not exactly an eligible bachelor, but maybe we could set something up for single commenters? Do I have any single commenters?
“stuffed animal bacon” – The hard part is cooking it long enough to make it crispy. However, I have to admit, Oliver does have a stuffed animal bacon.
“black and asian couples” – Boy, Sara and I to a “T”, I tell you.
“word for “things were better in the old days”" – Is there such a word? If so, I’d like to know it.
“where’s oliver?” – Must be getting desperate if you’re resorting to Google searches. Well, you found him!
“famous black man” – I’m so happy to think that someone searching for famous black men, instead found Sean Connery. Or, maybe it was Sara googling to find the name “Sean Connery”, and she succeeded.
“big sticky wad” – What do you suppose they were looking for? Why do you think they found me?
“hp lovecraft dinner party” – I hope they came to my website looking for my contact information for an invitation, because that sounds awesome!
“t-rex lick people” – I don’t believe that is historically accurate.
“kale chips jokes” – That’s pretty specific. I wracked my brain trying to come up with a kale chips joke to put here, and I think it’s just not possible.
“funny threats” – I’m going to kill you with a rubber chicken! Drown you in seltzer water! Slap you in the face with a poison cream pie!
“i-like-it-salty shane” – That’s right baby. I like it salty. (I really can’t deny, I do like salty things. Salty things.)
::Ollie, gobbling bacon so fast he throws up::
Evie, witnessing this: “That reminds me! I haven’t had any bacon yet!”
::Evie sucking her belly in::
::Evie pushing her belly out::
Evie, continuing: “Innie! Outie! Innie! Outie!”
Evie: “I can’t stick my belly out any more without going poo poo in my pants!”
Me: “We’re going to…”
Evie: “Daddy! Daddy! Pretend I’m your cat! What are we going to do?”
Me: “Well, first we’re going…”
Evie: “Daddy, you know what?”
Me: “Evie, I’m trying to…”
Evie: “Daddy, what were you going to say?”
Me: “Well, sometimes you have to listen instead of…”
Evie: “Tomorrow we’re going to Never Land!”
Evie: “Daddy, what were you going to say that we were going to do?”
Me: “Evie, I’m trying to tell you, but you keep interrupt…”
Evie: ”I’m sorry. You can finish your sentence now.”
Me: “Okay, but sometimes you need to stop talking so you can hear…”
Evie: “Daddy, can we have lunch now?”
How old does your kid have to be before she stops talking? Because it’s been about 2 years now, and she hasn’t taken a breath yet!!
Well, first off, I’m not sure you need a reason for Blue Cheese Bacon Coleslaw. Blue Cheese Bacon Coleslaw IS the reason. But this recipe has always been a hit, including Grandma Butterfly’s birthday, and I might also remind you that this was the #1 recipe at baconfest.
Well, there’s not much of a journey here. I don’t really remember why we made this the first time we made it, but you could see by looking at the recipe it was going to be good. Somehow, though, it’s even better than it looks!
I’m not even that much of a coleslaw fan, but this one I can guarantee.
Awesome. Even ants love it, based on what happened when I spilled a bowl of it on our back porch and summoned every ant in a 10 block radius. They kept waiting around, hoping I would drop more, so I eventually had to poison them before they carried me back to their underground ant kingdom, to slavishly make Blue Cheese Bacon Coleslaw for the rest of my life.
Recipe originally from Bon Appetit.
- 8 bacon slices, chopped
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 16 ounces purchased coleslaw mix
- 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
Make sure the bacon is nice and crisp, and then dry it on paper towels. Whisk the mayo, vinegar, and honey in a large bowl. Stir in coleslaw, cheese, and bacon. Cover and chill.
Don’t dump the coleslaw in before whisking the other ingredients or Sara will be very mad at you.
We all know Van Gogh’s Starry Night. It’s a classic. The only thing that could make it better (you guessed it) is bacon!
Link via FailBlog.
Forget flowers for mother’s day. If you want to really impress someone, how about some bacon roses?
This seems way more practical (and way more delicious!) than actual flowers.
There is an entire tutorial at that link, with pictures of each step, so you can make your own. Basically, they poke holes in a mini-muffin tin so the grease can run out, then roll the bacon and put one in each tin. Broil the bacon to cook it, and then put it on some cheap fake rose stems.
The best part? After you eat the bacon, you can re-use the stems!
Link via Heather
Sara: “I am not sending her to Jewish school in a bacon shirt!”
Evie: “Give me the jelly beans or nobody goes inside!” – She was holding us hostage.
Evie: “I’m not shy. I like to make friends.” – Ain’t that the truth!
::Evie staring at me with a funny look on her face::
Me: “Are you okay?”
Evie: “I was just looking at you, I didn’t do anything naughty.” – Now there’s a guilty conscious!
Evie: “I like storms at night.”
Me: “You do?”
Evie: “Yes. When the lightning flashes I can see the whole room, and the thunder…well, monsters are afraid of loud noises.”
For the big bacon taste test, we had 5 competitors:
- Nueske’s – Applewood smoked, pepper coated
- Dreymiller and Kray – Hickory smoked
- Prairie Grove Farms – Applewood smoked, uncured
- Trader Joe’s – Apple smoked, uncured
- Moore Family Farm – Smoked and cured
I should add that the Moore Family Farm is not available in stores. We are part of a buying group that buys meat and eggs from a farm downstate. We’ve been out to visit the farm a few times, so I’ve probably actually met the pigs that went into that bacon!
So here is the list of our rankings, with the grand prize winners at the end. The winner may surprise you!
|Nueske’s||Applewood smoked, pepper coated||6||Dark edges due to pepper, not as salty, less flavor than I expected, little bit of pepper after-burn|
|Dreymiller and Kray||Hickory smoked||7||wider strips, good texture, a little fattier, nice to have non-applewood, very salty|
|Prairie Grove Farms||Applewood smoked, uncured||8||salty, nice appearance, very good flavor|
|Trader Joe’s||Apple smoked, uncured||8||straightest, flattest bacon, sort of factory looking, salty, good flavor, lean|
|Moore Family Farm||Smoked and cured||4||fattier, sort of chewy, not very seasoned or salty, most authentically pork tasting, maybe good for soup|
|Nueske’s||Applewood smoked, pepper coated||7||The after taste is where all the flavor is, most smokey flavor|
|Dreymiller and Kray||Hickory smoked||8||Hickory: tasted a little more flavorful because of the fat|
|Prairie Grove Farms||Applewood smoked, uncured||8||Seasoned well can’t taste the smokiness or apple wood.|
|Trader Joe’s||Apple smoked, uncured||7||Lean, flat, good flavor – hint of apple wood but not too strong|
|Moore Family Farm||Smoked and cured||5||Thicker cut, more fat, so not as crisp, but not as flavorful|
|Nueske’s||Applewood smoked, pepper coated||7||light and peppery, good to try, but wouldn’t choose on a regular basis|
|Dreymiller and Kray||Hickory smoked||6||a little saltier, would be a good topping for pizza|
|Prairie Grove Farms||Applewood smoked, uncured||8||very salty but flavor is great – also pretty flat (think BLTs)|
|Trader Joe’s||Apple smoked, uncured||10||good pig flavor, nice flat slice|
|Moore Family Farm||Smoked and cured||4||stringy and chewy, flaovr is “piggy” but texture unappealing|
|Trader Joe’s||8 1/3|
|Prairie Grove Farms||8|
|Dreymiller and Kray||7|
|Moore Family Farm||4 1/3|
I was downright stunned that the Trader Joe’s one won. First off, it was the least exotic of the bunch. Second off, it was one of the cheapest (I can’t remember if it was cheaper than Moore Family Farm or not). Third off, it was probably the least impressive looking. After these results are in, I have discovered that this particular kind of bacon from Trader Joe’s has a big following. So really, this was a fantastic result, because this is the one kind of bacon that we might reasonably buy on a regular basis.
The other interesting thing was that the Prairie Grove brand came in second. This was the one that was the “healthiest”. Of course it’s still bacon, but it was hormone free, antibiotic free, etc. So even though you still have to feel bad about it, I guess you don’t have to feel AS bad about it.
We let Evie fill an evaluation out as well, but we didn’t count her ratings into the final results. However, you’ll notice something interesting! Evie picked the same two we did.
|Nueske’s||Applewood smoked, pepper coated||1||Might want to have it again, but not sure|
|Dreymiller and Kray||Hickory smoked||1||I don’t want to have it again|
|Prairie Grove Farms||Applewood smoked, uncured||10||That one was good too|
|Trader Joe’s||Apple smoked, uncured||10||I liked it|
|Moore Family Farm||Smoked and cured||1||Maybe I might have it again|
So, while we dismissed her comments, she was actually just as good at taste testing as we were! (To be fair, she would rate something a 1 and say I don’t want to have it again, while simultaneously trying to wheedle an extra piece away from one of us).
Around November or so, Nate “Bacon” Halbach gave me a call.
“You’re never going to believe this. There is a bacon festival in Chicago. On my birthday.”
It seemed like fate. Tickets were a bit on the pricey side (V.I.P. presales were over $100), but we knew we had to be there.
“No problem. We’ll buy you a ticket for Christmas / your birthday. Pack your bags my friend.”
Nothing could stop us from going. Nothing, except for the fact that the tickets sold out in less than 10 minutes.
In the end though, this turned out to be a good thing, because it spawned an idea so awesome, so epic, that just the thought alone stunned me in my tracks. I give you the first annual Halbach Baconfest.
It took Chicago Baconfest 10 minutes to sell out their tickets, but ours sold out in 1 nanosecond. Take that Chicago Baconfest!
I knew if we were going to do this thing, we had to do it right. Planning and preparation were required. I think Nathan expected that we’d just cook some bacon and call it a day. I think he was impressed several times throughout the day at the seriousness with which we approached Halbach Baconfest.
The night before we presented him with his Halbach Baconfest tee-shirt, so he could wear it on Saturday. It should be noted that, not knowing there would be tee-shirts, he brought his own bacon attire. But we needed the official items with the official logo of course.
So Saturday morning we started the day with piggy-shaped pancakes. These didn’t have bacon in them per say, but I think they were in the spirit of baconfest, and sort of set the tone.
We didn’t actually have any bacon with breakfast, which might seem strange, but breakfast rolled immediately into the bacon taste test. So there was bacon to be had. We tried to buy fancier or more exotic bacons than you would regularly buy for your daily use (read: no Oscar Meyer). There will be more details on this portion tomorrow, but this was really the only time we had straight up bacon all day.
After the taste test, we played “Pin the Tail on the Piggy”. Evie did phenomenally, although she had a height advantage in the sense that the tail location was a little low for an adult. I guess I can’t really use that as an excuse though, since I missed the easel entirely and put my tail on the wall. I wasn’t the worst though, Nathan put his partially up the stairs (I’m not really kidding!). Evie loved it and is dying to play again. I think she also enjoyed making all the piggy tails (she did the cutting and some of the curling).
Finally, it was time for the big feast (well, I’m fast-forwarding through hours of making food, including over an hour-and-a-half of straight bacon making. 54 ounces of bacon had to be cooked!
Our feast included Blue Cheese Coleslaw, Cheddar, Bacon, and Fresh Chive Biscuits, Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese and another set with Feta and pecans inside, Bacon-Balsamic Deviled Eggs and finally a Maple Apple Bacon Cake with Maple Glaze. Overall, everything was very good, but I have to say that most of the things didn’t seem to be that improved by bacon. For example, I couldn’t help but think that the cake would have been improved by the (::gasp::) removal of bacon. Still, for Baconfest, it was a good mix of things that really went together. I think we all agreed that the Blue Cheese Coleslaw was the standout, but the dates were pretty tasty, and certainly the most interesting. The Blue Cheese Coleslaw was the one thing that we had before, so we knew that one was good.
Finally, it was time to enter into the final phase of Baconfest: Kevin Bacon. That’s right, we had a copy of Footloose and we weren’t afraid to use it. Footloose was one of a handful of movies we had on VHS when I was little, and we watched it to death. I have to say, Footloose totally holds up! It was just as good as I remember it being. Kevin Bacon is an American treasure.
Watching it as an adult though gave me a totally different perspective on the movie. Those kids were totally out of control! I don’t know whether dancing would necessarily make them act worse, but it probably wouldn’t have helped. So I guess now I’m kind of on the side of John Lithgow. His daughter man…she should have been locked up.
The plan was to have some bacon-salted popcorn while we watched the movie, but nobody had the stomach for it after the earlier bacon feast. However, we weren’t too full to do some Footloose dancing…
Everybody cut Footloose!
Evie: “You fools! You have no idea how many I have!” – I don’t even remember what this was about, but I just remember thinking, “Looks like Uncle Nathan’s plan to turn her into an evil genius are succeeding…that sounded like a line out of a movie!”
Evie, gobbling Oliver up: “Oliver, you’re just a strip of bacon!”
::Evie was talking in her sleep::
Me: “Evie, are you okay?”
Evie: “I was dream-talking on the phone!”
Evie: “Indianapolis? Indianapolis? That sounds like…apples!” – Not what I was expecting her to say.
Evie: “I like your chicken!” – This was shouted at a group of woman pouring out of the “chicken limo”, a yellow limo with a chicken on top. You definitely need to check out the website, the limo is definitely as cool as it looks. However, these ladies were not who you would have expected to be getting out of the limo, and at least some of them looked vaguely embarrassed about the whole thing. So Evie’s comment was well appreciated.