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!