"Bacon is the greatest, most delicious food in the world" declares the cover of a small tome devoted entirely to different ways to eat exactly that. Who knew it would prove such a talking point?
By
29 Aug 2016 - 12:30 PM  UPDATED 29 Aug 2016 - 1:05 PM

Perhaps it shouldn’t have been a surprise. After all, it’s a book about bacon. The salty, streaky breakfast favourite that most of us adore.

But we weren’t expecting a constant parade of people stopping in their tracks as they passed by the SBS Food desks and exclaiming. Some liked it, some didn’t, and some just sighed wistfully. This little book totally divided the office.

“I can feel my arteries hardening as I look at it,” said one, after spying The Little Bacon Cookbook.

“A whole book on bacon?” said another. “That’s a lot of bacon… I do like bacon, though, being a Brit.”

“I miss bacon,” sighed a colleague who’s been pescatarian for a year, and hasn’t eaten pig for more than 18 months.

“Aha, a bacon cookbook! That reminds me of The Bachelor and the bunch of roses made of bacon,” said yet another visitor.

The little tome tackles bacon in all its guises, from snacks (think bacon popcorn, super-crispy candied bacon and a cheesy bacon and mushroom dip) to sides (including bacon, beer and rosemary jam), meals, drinks and desserts (including a bacon-topped take on the insane monster shake over-the-top ridiculousness).

There’s bacon in thing and on things, and things wrapped in bacon. There’s bacon for breakfast – a breakfast “salad” (fairly token lettuce! But interesting home-made potato nuggets); slow-cooked bacon & beans; and a hangover-friendly bacon hash. Bacon for dinner – burgers, meatloaf, the temptingly titled “oozy bacon mac & cheese”. And anytime bacon: bacon & egg lasagne, which the book declares is “equally awesome eaten at any time of day or night”.

“A bacon bookbook. Oh my god. This could be my kids’ seven-day diet,” said one Dad who stopped for a look. “The good thing about bacon,” he mused,”is that it gets them to eat other food. It’s the one ingredient that will make them eat other things. You could wrap Brussels sprouts in bacon and they’d go for it.”

No bacon-wrapped sprouts in the book, but there are bacon-wrapped mac & cheese burgers and bacon-wrapped sweet potato.

And a surprising number of representatives of where bacon and sweet stuff intersect: bacon-bourbon ice-cream soda, bacon and peanut brittle ice-cream, dark chocolate-covered candied bacon with hundreds and thousands sprinkles (also used to top that monster shake), fudgy choc-caramel bacon cookies cinnamon-spiced bacon monkey bread, and more.

“Oooh I like this book… I want those brownies,” was a comment made by several folk. So yes, by “and more”, we mean there are bacon brownies. Rich, smokey, nut-studded brownies. 

Of course there are. 

Images and recipes from The Little Bacon Cookbook by Jack Campbell (Smith Street Books, $29.99, hbk).

 

Cook the book


Bacon-wrapped sweet potato with avocado wedges

Bacon, beer and rosemary jam

Bacon and egg lasagne

Double-choc stout, macadamia and candied bacon brownies

Yes, we have a recipe for candied bacon brownies.

never enough bacon?
Parmesan-crusted egg and bacon sandwich

"If you love your bacon and egg sandwiches, you’ll definitely enjoy this – two pieces of bread coated in a parmesan and thyme crumb then pan-fried to golden, crunchy perfection and filled with your usual suspects. You could spread on a little tomato sauce with the Dijon, if you like." Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co. 2

Thick salt-pork pancakes (fleskepannekaker)

In Norway, a salt pork or bacon pancake can be made in various ways. It can be pan fried, as here, or it can be a thick oven-baked pancake, like the Swedish fläskpannkaka.

This version is often served with finely snipped chives, and sometimes a bit of rømme (a heavy sour cream), or even grated cheese. I have also seen a recipe or two that suggest fried apple wedges as an accompaniment. The Swedish version of this dish is usually served with sugared lingonberries.

Black and blue corn tortilla soup with bacon and pumpkin

Black bean soup is a classic for a reason. It’s comforting, hearty and one of the most versatile soups you will ever come across. You can add your favourite vegetables and herbs and spices to complement and liven up the earthy nature of this soup. This version uses bacon and ham hock to develop a really solid base and is served with pumpkin (winter squash) and goat’s cheese crema for sweetness and balance.

Strozzapreti with pumpkin and bacon (strozzapreti con zucca e pancetta)

Literally ‘priest choker’, strozzapreti pasta has many stories behind its name. Some believe its popularity among churchmen meant it was devoured to the point of choking, while others say it was a form of payment to the church who owned most of the farmland at the time. Or it could just describe the twisting or ‘choking’ action used to shape the pasta.