Bacon No. 3: Carlton Farms Canadian-Style Bacon
Food and I have had a rough couple weeks. Late last month I attended a remarkably well-apportioned bachelor party for an old friend, and in the two nights after that I officiated at a few high-octane events for my beloved Stanford Chaparral. What was once a typical three-day bender — one which might have ended with a bit of waterskiing and a mid-morning trip to a steak restaurant in another state — put me on the rails so hard that my immune system was reduced to an unconvincing leukocyte in a dirty Superman costume. Disease after disease ravaged my body, exhausted my lungs, and diddled the dobro of my swan song. Wakefulness was agony, marked by periods of joyless work and difficult parenting.
Somewhere along the endless toilet paper ticker tape into which I blew my nose, or perhaps expectorated against some luckless street tree, rested the conjoined apparatus of my taste and smell organs. Food had no flavor, rotten items in the refrigerator had no odor. My own clothing, to which I am deeply sensitive, betrayed none of the telltale fragrances of overuse. To eat was to cough, and to think was to worry that I'd never enjoy food again. Sure, I'd wind up looking like Scott Weiland, but skinny people are never happy. They lack the blood chemistry which activates a convincing smile.
The UPS man dropped a fat little package of a new sort of bacon into the rattle of all that misery. This time it's Carlton Farms Canadian-Style Bacon, dry cured and alder/hickory smoked, from Oregon. My mind peered forth from the shroud of tubercular angst long enough to appreciate that unlike the all-fat belly and jowl bacons I'd been receiving, this sample was cured center-cut loin. An all-meat spacer in the opening salvo of pure lard.
Still on the recovery trail, ready for nothing and able of less, I sliced a few pieces off the uncut loin and pan-fried them with some bread and an egg. The Carlton Canadian-Style Bacon isn't the tough-love rubber you get on pizza; it's tender and evenly seasoned. This is the bacon I'd like to use in a carbonara -- something that's not just egregious fat in a recipe already filled with unctuous yolks and cheese. Fat sneaks into a happy diet from so many cracks and seams -- the bacon should be adding salt and smoke, not grease.