To encourage participants in the challenge to post something every day in 2011, WordPress have a daily system of topic prompts which for the most part, with the exception of the weekly photo topics, I have largely ignored because they tend not to inspire any response other than ‘huh?’
But a few days ago, the topic suggested was ‘bacon’, and once I’d stopped laughing, I simply couldn’t resist, if only to have a bit of a rant about how awful American bacon is!
Don’t worry, I know all the arguments about different nations having different tastes; but I’m going to stand by my opinion: it’s impossible to get decent bacon in the US. Those salty slivers of fat that are either to greasy and limp to chew or so over cooked they shatter into a hundred shards at the mere sight of a knife, well, no-one should have to eat them.
If you want something vaguely edible you have to ask for ‘Canadian’ bacon, but that still doesn’t feel quite right to me, although I am prepared to admit it does go fine in Eggs Benedicte, (bearing in mind that to eat that, one of my favourite US breakfasts, I also have to overlook the ‘English muffin’ solecism too).
I hadn’t realised how fond I was of bacon, in particular a bacon sandwich, until I went to Moscow, where it was impossible to buy British style bacon. I built up quite a yearning in the periods between visits back to the UK and whomever I stayed with on these infrequent trips would have been forewarned of my requirement for an immediate fix.
Then I started taking a couple of packets back to Moscow with me – frozen and wrapped in layers of paper and plastic bags, against the risk of the bag suffering the not uncommon occurrence of going missing at the airport. On one famous occasion one of my bags was delivered to me in the middle of the night three days after it went missing and everything in it, including a Christmas cake my mother had made for me, was completely frozen through.
Which was the greater mystery, where it had been stored for the days of its lonely frolic, or why it was brought back to me at midnight, and what persuaded me to open the door so late?
When my parents visited me in Moscow they took it upon themselves to search in every shop they visited, not believing that where it was possible to find Tesco’s Piccalilli, Burtons’ chocolate chip cookies and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream they couldn’t track down the makings of a decent bacon butty.
One day they returned triumphant, brandishing a vacuum sealed pack. It was good but not quite right, as it was a single joint of bacon that we had to slice ourselves, no mean feat taking into account the dullness of the knives that made up my kitchen equipment. A feat nonetheless(!)
In a period when I was a frequent early morning visitor to the British Airways lounges at Heathrow, I, like every similarly jaded traveller, had a well rehearsed routine to make the experience tolerable. I can probably confess now that mine involved making a beeline for coffee, newspaper and last, but nowhere anywhere near least, the hot bacon baguettes…….