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Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Three Worst Bacon Products of 2008

Director John G. Avildsen is best known for his 1976 ode to the cheese steak sandwich, but I always liked Karate Kid better.

The Kid hits every requisite '80s movie trope: token Underdog/Outsider of Dubious Ethnicity stands up to Big Blond Bully with help of Funny Old Asian Guy, wins Cheeky Blond Cheerleader who used to date Big Blond Bully but now longs for Hot “Break Some Rules” Dong. And one of the Cobra Kai dudes (a white guy) was called “Bobby Brown”–don't be cruel, indeed!

But here's the real reason I love this flick: it has one of American cinema's greatest throwaway gags ever. At the beginning of the movie some guy is wearing a shirt that says “Makin' Bacon” with two pigs sexing it up. I can't remember what this had to do with anything but it doesn't matter – brilliance transcends context.

Now I know you're thinking, friend... “Slab has problems.” And the humor of a 13-year old. Maybe, but hear me out. Most pork-themed products suck. They are obvious and contrived, preaching to the proverbial choir and conflating a self-evident starting point (pig tastes good) with a license to overdo (pig this! pig that! pig-tastic! pig-larious!!)

In this regard, bacon is the worst. The best (tasting), but the worst (in the dull-witted, reflexive fanaticism it inspires). So without further ado, and in lieu of a Top Ten list, let me christen the Oh Nine by spreading the negativity. Below are the Three Most Annoying Bacon Products of 2008; un-enjoy!3) The Bacon Log. The New York Times is a joke. They haven't done an honest piece of reporting (save this) since lord knows when, and their Food “Dining & Wine” section is smug and out of touch. So when they “alert” us to a trend you know it's long past its prime. Case in point: the “bacon explosion”. This Yuletime brain-log of the cheeky lads at BBQ Addicts sent email Forward buttons a-twitter this Christmas, whilst giving the French another reason to twist their noses at greasy American Excess. Not that I care what the Old World thinks of our eating habits. But I do, on principle and flavor-value alike, find this salty, ill-conceived mess an egregious misuse of 4 pounds of bacon and sausage. And it looks like something that might be floating in a porcelain bowl after consuming all that pork. Any recipe that requires weaving a bacon rug and then dipping it in doo-doo sauce should sound the red trumpet of unappetizing-ness. Consider this the Thomas Pynchon Mason & Dixon of Meat recipes: something everybody keeps on a shelf never to read.

2) Bacon Bandaids. Someone gave me these a few weeks back and I cringed. Because in art and life both there is something to be said for discretion. There is also something to be said for common sense, which tells us that throwing a raw slab of pork on an open wound is, at best, counter-intuitive. Plus, no true bacon enthusiast would walk around with a piece of bacon on their finger without eating it, real or no. These are strictly for people who wear Crocs in public don't really love bacon or hygiene.

And our Most Annoying Bacon Product of 2008 is...

1) Bacon Salt. It's everything that offends me: vegan, low-cal, vapid, culinarily misguided. I would bet my Yakuza pinky that the people who came up with this wouldn't know a quality pig belly if it slapped them on the cheek. Not only is Bacon Salt uh, Kosher (???!!?), it tastes objectively bad. Like fart. Baby onion fart if babies smoked cigarettes. I gave it the old college try on a tomato salad, popcorn, scallops, etc. before Ms. Slab smacked some sense back into me. To those who claim to love pork and delight at BS's convenience, slow thy roll chumpy. The golden rule of makin' bacon says there are no shortcuts. So put that in your pan and render it.

Alright knuckleheads, happy new year. And tune back in for some no-joke world-class bacon madness next week.

– J. Slab