I'm getting a little tired of this travesty that supermarkets call bacon. As we all know, they add water to make it sizzle. Because, obviously, the most important thing about bacon is what it sounds like.
I understand they've got to do something to maintain their profit margins. No one would be sadder than I to see Mr Sainsbury or Lord Tesco destitute, rummaging through the bins at the back of their own once-great stores for spare Ferraris or Learjets past their expiry date. Our captains of industry are fragile and need our support. Viscount Wal-Mart of Somerfield alone maintains a vast harem of mistresses, each of whom requires necessary breast augmentation surgery to survive: please, donate as many millions as you can spare. Lines are open until just before you leave work, when they'll shut arbitrarily so that you have to go shopping first thing in the morning.
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So they add some water. I can live with this. Recently, though, they got carried away. Now there's so much water that, when it leaches out of the bacon, it fills up the frying pan. Bacon fully immersed in water doesn't sizzle any more, it simmers. There's a pathetic bubbling noise while the meat curls up and goes exactly the wrong shade of pink and, more importantly, ceases to be bacon.
Boiled bacon is such a horrible, 19th-century slum housing dish. It's what the Cratchits would eat before goin down t'pit. It's what you eat if you can only buy whatever bit of the pig nobody else wanted, and also you never learned to cook because your mother died of typhoid when you were seven. I demand Maillard reactions with my bacon, and for that the pan has to be dry.
So I've developed a habit of pouring out all the water half-way through cooking—trying not to drop the bacon in the sink in the process—and, as a result, the stuff actually starts to sizzle again. By adding water the supermarket people have achieved the opposite of their goal.
That's assuming that their goal was to make it sizzle in the first place. Their actual goal is to take cheap pig-flavoured slush of the sort that ought to be sold (if at all) in bottles, call it
bacon, and sell it at three quid a pack. This is understood, but at some point they abandoned any pretence that they were doing it for our benefit. I wouldn't mind the lying so much if it wasn't so brazen.
Don't get me started on the fact that the bottom rasher of every pack is half as thick as all the others. Somebody, somewhere, specifically designed the bacon slicer to do that. Great job, Bacon Slicer Engineer Dude. Sleep well. One day I will find you.
All that said, my ragu recipe specifically calls for cheap shitty supermarket bacon, because I drain off the salty pork-infused liquid and use it at a later stage. My bacon, pepper and pig-slush bolognese is a thing of beauty. I'd like to see Jamie Oliver the Mockney Prat put a positive spin on that.
All of which has made me crave proper bacon. And the Friendly Local Butcher waved at me when I was passing the shop the other day (I wasn't even wearing the cloak at the time, which is what makes this stand out, since I suspect it's often the cloak that gets noticed rather than the handsome young dude inside). Must be a sign.