Monday, August 16, 2010

Love Bacon

Bridget passed on the Ten on Tuesday 10 Reasons to Love Bacon because she is a vegetarian. But I am an omnivore, so I think I'll give it a shot.

Breakfast. This is a multi-part reason because I am a breakfast freak.

1. Bacon, eggs, and grits: This is a classic. You can get it in Waffle Houses and Denny's all over the place, but at home is best. I like my eggs either scrambled or over easy; butter on my grits; and my bacon crisply fried.

2. Bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich: When I was living/working in Charleston, the marine lab where I was employed had a snack bar and the nice lady who ran it would make sandwiches and hot dogs to order. Her bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches became legendary. I used to skip breakfast at home, just so I could have one of those sandwiches. (I also gained a lot of weight on them, not that I needed to.) They were a gastronomical delight.

3. Bacon alongside a stack of pancakes, with maple syrup drizzled on both. The combination of sweet and savory makes my mouth water even as I write this.

OK, enough with breakfast.

4. BLTs. Bacon, lettuce, and ripe, red tomato slices on whole-wheat or 12-grain bread. Plenty of mayonnaise, and salt and pepper. This is best made at home, too.

5. Clam chowder. The first ingredient to go in the pot is bacon. After it is fried crispy and drained, the rest of the chowder is assembled and the bacon goes back in at the end. Twenty minutes of simmering and you have a nice, thick pot of heaven.

6. Canadian bacon, pineapple, and mushrooms on a pizza. I came up with this combination when I was in library school in Seattle, and I asked Pizza Haven (on The Ave), to put mushrooms on my Hawaiian pizza. I liked it so well that my Hawaiian pizza now always has 'shrooms.

7. I love the aroma of bacon frying. I would rather my house smelled of bacon than cookies.

8. Bacon grease cooked in green beans. Richard and I are Southerners, so we don't really love crisp green beans, though we will eat them with gusto when presented with them. But at home, we cook our green beans to death, with chicken broth and bacon grease. Yummy.

9. Similar to #7, I love the smell of onions cooking in bacon fat. It's usually the beginning of a recipe that may eventually turn into something like a pot of chili.

10. As Emeril Lagasse is always telling us: "Pork fat rules!" He has never explained what the pork fat rules are, however.

From this list, you might think we eat bacon and its by-product on a regular basis, but we don't. We use far more olive oil and canola oil than we ever would of bacon or bacon grease. But we do break down and indulge every two or three months.

Bacon is a good thing.

Monday, August 9, 2010

How Does Grown Up Feel?

I rolled over another birthday recently.

When I was in my early thirties and my mother was in her middle fifties, I read an article in a women's magazine about being a grownup. The main point of the article was the author's wondering when she would feel like a grownup. I realized then that I didn't feel like a grownup, had no idea what that would feel like.

I told my mother about the article, and she said, "You know, I've been wondering about that, myself." Well... I was surprised that Mama did not feel grownup yet, and I felt a sense of freedom, that I really didn't have to worry about it yet.

As this recent birthday passed, I got to thinking again about that conversation with Mama. I think I have achieved grownupedness. I feel mature enough to deal with life. I'm less intimidated by those above me in the pecking order. New situations don't scare me. I am no longer a person to be messed with.

I am one of those post-WWII baby boomers. I grew up during a time when children were seen and not heard and men were believed to be superior to women in all areas (if that ain't a load of horse manure, I don't know what is). Now that I've gotten over those crappy societal expectations, I'm a happier person.

However... though I feel grown up, I do not feel old.

Growing old is inevitable; growing up is not.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What Is A Romance?

At one time I thought I knew the answer to that question.

Two blog posts ago, I wrote about trying to read a romance. I had always thought that "romance novel" = "dismally bad writing, and even worse storytelling," the kind of writing that made your stomach turn over. The book I tried to read a couple of weeks ago was like that: really horrendously bad writing and a thin story line. I couldn't finish it, even though the author is a New York Times bestseller. (I'm still shaking my head about that one.)

Lene, bless her heart, thought I was lumping all romances into that bad, dominant male/wimpy female category. And I was. She suggested that I read Jennifer Crusie's Fast Women. So I did.

Well... Jennifer Crusie can write. I enjoyed Fast Women immensely. It had good prose, lots of action, believable romance, mystery, danger, conflict, and character growth. I think the key for me was the believable romance.

If Fast Women is an example of good romance writing, then I've been reading quite a bit of it lately. I just thought I was reading good books.

I have some more thinking to do.

Whatever you do, I'd recommend NOT reading that author I mentioned in the other blog post. She might be a very nice person and she might live in my mother-in-law's hometown, but I don't think I'll be looking her up the next time I go there.