Thursday, December 7, 2006

Seduced by Bacon

In a way, Seduced by Bacon is kind of a no-brainer cookbook. I mean, really, who isn't seduced by bacon? (Although I knew a kid when I was growing up who didn't like potatoes, so.....) That said, this book goes beyond the simple seductive nature of bacon to explore its role in all sorts of dishes, including desserts.

Joanna Pruess--a food writer and cookbook author--created this ode to bacon with the able assistance (and tasting skills) of her restaurant critic husband, Bob Lape. In the preface to the book he wrote "This book has perfumed my life for months. Our home has been smoky with bacon's irresistible aroma and sweet with its power to conjure up delicious recollections of simpler times of yesteryear. Using bacon's succulent, salty crunch to create compelling new taste deposits for our food memory bank has been pure delight. (That's also true because Joanna cooks and I eat.)"

The book includes lots of interesting facts about bacon, including a bacon glossary. I was pleased to learn two new terms: gypsy bacon and ventrèche--the former being peppery, smoked pork loin, and the latter being what the French call pancetta. There is also a list of online and mail-order sources for specialty bacons. (How about Bacon of the Month Club at Grateful Palate?)

If the concept of the book weren't tempting enough, the photography in the book will send you right over the edge. Here are some recipes that have been calling out my name: Belgian Rabbit in Cherry Beer, Macattacaroni (mac 'n' cheese with bacon and panko), Ticino-Style Mussels with Bacon & White Wine, Barbecued Barramundi (grilled bacon-wrapped fish) with Greek Yogurt Sauce and Sweet Potato Rösti with Hazelnuts, Apricots & Bacon on Watercress.

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