Behold the beautiful pig. It provides us with delicious pork medallions, juicy pork chops, yummy ham-salad sandwiches and – this is the best part – bacon, glorious bacon.
I realize, of course, that I'm not the only hog hound in this world who knows that pigs are gooder than good. Ogden Nash wrote eloquently of swine:
The pig, if I am not mistaken,
Gives us ham and pork and bacon.
Let others think his heart is big–
I think it stupid of the pig.
It is no wonder that people would gather together to worship, taste and chow down on pig products, and the best byproduct of our beloved oinkers is bacon. Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!
Is it any wonder, then, that a Baconfest takes place this day in St. Louis? If you're near the Gateway to the West today, you must stop at Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Lou and take part in the festivities. Good bacon grub is being served up by such vendors as Ferguson Brewing Company, Ex Cop Donut Shop, Lucas Park Grille and Steve's Hot Dogs on the Hill, to name a few, but the major attraction could be the Baconfest's 500-pound bacon log. Oh, saturated fat and cholesterol, take me now!
Baconfest founders Matthew Willer and Matthew Guillot broke the bacon-log world record in 2011 with a 120-pound log. Today's 500-pounder most likely will stand forever as the world record.
Meanwhile, the vendors are competing for the coveted Bacon Battle Award, to be decided by five judges. The two Matthews say the "panel of judges will take into account presentation, creativity, taste, and of course the perfect application of bacon!" Damn! Why can't I be one of the judges?
My favorite bacon treat is a BLT – bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich – with extra mayonnaise. And, as called for in the construction of any proper BLT, the bread must be toasted.
Along with being host for Baconfest, St. Louis is also home to the heart-stopping BLT at Crown Candy Kitchen, where it's listed on the menu as – this is a no-brainer – Heart Stopping BLT. Crown Candy has been a soda fountain, sandwich shop, ice-cream parlor and candy store since 1913, so the folks there have had plenty of time to perfect that giant BLT with the pound of thick-sliced bacon in it. Want to feel like you're in hog heaven? Go to Crown Candy, where they make their own spectacular ice cream, and consume a Heart Stopping BLT and a thick, hearty, Crown Candy milk shake. Just writing that sentence has my heart straining to pump without exploding.
The best BLT in the world, however, might be the scrumptious BLT at tiny Sako's at Highways 188 and 189 in Iwakuni, Japan. Sako's BLT has been world famous for many years. I lived on 188 – let's just say a few decades ago – and I fell in love with the BLTs built by the couple who owned the place. New owners took over in 2011, so you can still munch on a Sako's BLT, which has been written about in many publications. Even Playboy back in the late 1970s proclaimed Sako's BLT as the best in the world. Don't ask me how I know that. Let's move along, people.
These days, here in the United States, Wendy's is tempting us devout bacon lovers with it's beef-and-bacon creation called the Baconator®. Here it is: a slice of cheese, then a beef patty, then a slice of cheese, then a layer of bacon slices, then another beef patty, then another layer of bacon, all sandwiched in a great-looking bun. Aw, gee! It's just not
fair! I'm on a stupid wheat-free diet, so I can't run to Wendy's and devour a Baconator®. I'd even eat one with that registered-trademark symbol, if I could. To heck with the almost 1,000 calories, of which 570 are from fat.
I shall not complain, though. Plenty of bacon creations are possible without wheat involved. I can enjoy bacon-wrapped scallops, bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, bacon-wrapped chicken, and I really like bacon-wrapped shrimp with Vietnamese bacon fried rice accompanied by bacon-wrapped asparagus. And I never turn away waffles and bacon or a simple plate of bacon and eggs. How about just bacon? Give me some!
A few days ago, I made Julia Child's famous French beef stew called boeuf bourguignon. The recipe starts with bacon. If something starts with bacon, it has to be good. I needed some serious bacon, so my wife bought me a big chunk of it at the base commissary. Julia's recipe calls for cutting the hunk of bacon into lardons. Things called lardons
undoubtedly taste good. As instructed, I cut the bacon into pieces, each a quarter-inch thick and an inch and half long. The aroma of cooked bacon put me in a delicious mood, and the rest of the preparation went quite well. My stew ala Julia was outstanding, if I must say so myself.
It's sad to think that some people don't eat meat. That means they cannot chow down on any greasy, mouthwatering, delectable bacon. Even Homer Simpson knows that people must have bacon. I heard him allude to that fact in an episode of "The Simpsons." Said Homer to one of his adorable daughters: "Lisa, honey, are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?"
I think some leftover boeuf bourguignon is still in the refrigerator. You know, they say stew gets better after it sits in the fridge, so I'll see ya later. Meet me in St. Louis maybe, at the Baconfest.