The hotly anticipated bacon salt has arrived. It is everything we could’ve hoped for, and more. And by “and more” I of course mean that our growing dependence on delicious smoky pork-fat-flavored salt is a little frightening. We’ve tried it on a variety of things, and when we’re not actually eating it (and murmuring—Homer Simpson-style—“Mmmmm… bacony…”) we’re trying to top one another in disgustingness by suggesting we put it on absolutely everything.
It’s more than a seasoning, it’s also a fun pastime! Sort of a brain twister, you know! And something of an obsession! Hey, I was (mostly) kidding when I suggested it would’ve been good on that funnel cake.
So the kids went off to the Big City with their dad this weekend, and Otto and I headed out for a day of adventure. We went and had lunch up in Helen, which touts itself as “Mountain Beauty with a Touch of Bavaria!” I don’t know that “a touch” is the proper way to quantify it unless you’re talking about the HEADS of the PEOPLE who decided to do what’s been done to that town (in which case TOUCHED is more the proper term, I believe), but whatever. Helen DOES have mountain beauty, and it also has a TOUCH of Bavaria if you consider a TOUCH to be that every single building in the town is made to look like a Chalet in the Alps. This includes the Mexican restaurant, the laundromat, etc. It’s… a little freaky, frankly.
But we’d been told that Helen was a place to see, so we went and saw it. We also had some schnitzel and some corned beef and then I had a funnel cake which simultaneously caused the angels to sing and my arteries to harden. It was a thing of beauty. With every bite, I’d think to myself, “God, this is good. Okay. I’ve had enough. I have to stop now.” And then I’d have another bite and have the same conversation with myself.
(And then I suggested it would be even better with bacon salt. Which pretty much makes it official that I AM Homer Simpson, if Homer were a woman in her mid-30s.)
After Helen we did some time at the local outlets, wherein we managed to replace Otto’s 4-year-old sandals and officially become southerners by going to the Lodge Outlet and buyin’ us some of them there cast iron cookery.
While we were trying to decide what to get, an ever-helpful sales woman came over to assist us and of course ended up asking if I’d ever cooked on cast iron before. I admitted that I hadn’t, and she looked at me as if I’d just confessed to sometimes just holding my hands over the stovetop and putting the food in my cupped palms in order to cook it. She was INCREDULOUS. And so I asked her what tastes better when cooked in cast iron and she said “EVERYTHING!” and I tried not to laugh and asked her for a specific example, and then she thought and said something about how meats stay more tender, and then she busted out the money quote:
“Well, you can’t beat bacon made in a cast iron skillet.”
Otto and I looked at each other—employing that special spousal telepathy—and that was when we knew we’d be buying a skillet and testing out the bacon theory for sure. (Confession: When we walked into the Lodge store, all I was really thinking about was how my homemade cornbread is almost always dry. Oh, the shame of admitting that. But it is. And I think it needs cast iron to be RIGHT. Which will hopefully mean NOT DRY.)
Actually, we ended up buying a small set, because Otto wanted the dutch oven (me, I have no idea what to do with the dutch oven, but he said something about roasting a chicken and then I suggested he use bacon salt and I forget what else we said after that) and I wanted a couple of different skillets and the set was the cheapest way to get all of that.
Oh, I forgot to mention that when we moved in to the house, among all of the “welcome to the neighborhood” things that got sent to us was a coupon to get a $10 gift card to spend at the outlets. So the FIRST thing we did was go to the office and get that, and then after a couple of hours of walking around and shopping and finding nothing, we walked into a gourmet kitchen supply store and ended up spending that card on margarita mix buckets, because we are fancy. “Thanks for the free drinks, Outlet Stores!” I may have called out as we left. Otto suggested we rim the margarita glasses with bacon salt when we make them.
Back home, last night, it was close to 9 by the time we realized we should have some dinner. We’d had such a heavy lunch we weren’t very hungry, so Otto just made us some grilled cheese sandwiches. With bacon salt. (So good.)
After church this morning we broke out the cast iron and made bacon and eggs. I don’t know if it was the best bacon I ever had, but it WAS bacon and therefore very yummy.
But I think Otto started getting just a wee bit concerned when I suggested that it might have been even better with bacon salt.