Friday, November 02, 2007

B is for...

...what? what is B for? I can't believe I'm stymied already! !!!!

B is for -- Bacon. Should a Jew eat bacon? No, tis an absolute prohibition against eating the meat of things whose hoofs aren't cloved...or is it those that are? Whatever, bacon is from the pig and the pig is the animal that, according to the Torah, has the wrong kind of hoofs...or is it hooves? Thus, Jews are forbidden to have any meat that was at one time a part of a pig. That means bacon. And ham. And pork chops. And pork roast. And also, I think, head cheese.

Now, let me tell you a little secret about Jews and pigs. We love 'em. Particularly bacon. And ham. Perhaps we don't consider that once the meat is cured, that is salted and brined and whatever, it is still of a pig. Pork itself? Not so much. I must confess that my stomach does a mini-heave at pork. Like my grandfather is maybe playing with my kishkes. But that's just me.

Pork is a big deal, I hear, in Israel, where they call it White Steak. As in (and this was told to me as a truly true fact), the bar mitzvah boy wanted only white steak at his reception. Pork is also a big deal at Chinese restaurants, which are the restaurants of choice for Jews looking for a night away from the kitchen. Look at Jerry Seinfeld, how often you saw him picking and poking with chopsticks. And the Rosses across the street when I was growing up: Thursday night was the cook's night off, and they had Chinese. Sweet 'n Sour Pork. Yum. In a gelatinous sauce that is comprised mostly of cornstarch and red dye #2. You don't even have to be particularly adept with chopsticks to jam one into a piece of fried pork and bring it successfully to your mouth.

But this isn't about P for pork; it's a treatise on B for bacon. Which only happens tangentially to be a function of the pig animal. Those of you who are not British or Canadian, you will be surprised to learn that the Brits have a panoply of bacon cuts. Bacon is a really big deal to them. And they don't cook it very well. In fact, they barely cook it at all, so what you get most often is a hunk of ham with some fat attached to it. Not bacon at all, as in American bacon, which is crisp, the fat being cooked away to perfection. I would say that this is just another thing that we do better than they (and, hey, I just said it), but then my friends who are British will come back at me with a harsh comment or two. And they are a snarky lot...

So forget I cast any aspersions on our friends across the pond...can't we all just get along??????????


  1. During my stint as a vegetarian the only meat I missed was bacon. U.S. style.

  2. My Great Grandmother ate bacon and fried tomatoes every morning for breakfast...until she set the kitchen on fire...

  3. I am still a vegetarian, and still kinda miss bacon...though the last time I tasted it, I was suprised at the grease slick it leaves behind on your tongue. I had forgotten about that part.

  4. whit: I would be a vegetarian as long as I could still have beef every once in a while.

    denise: were those fried green tomatoss? because I find the fried red kind get all gloopy.

    sueb0b: thank you for sharing, dollink. I'll try that sense memory the next time I have bacon.


So--whaddaya think?