Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What were they thinking?

I stumbled across this home remedy in a 19th-century cookbook called Aunt Babette's:

"How to Make a Bacon Bandage for Sore Throat.
Cut the bacon in strips one quarter of an inch in thickness and two or three inches in width and long enough to pass entirely around the throat. Remove the bacon rind and any lean meat there may be in it to prevent blistering the throat or neck. Sew the bacon to a strip of flannel so as to hold it in position and prevent its slipping and then apply the bacon to the throat and neck. Pin it around the neck, so that it will not be uncomfortably tight. The throat and neck should be completely swathed with the bacon. If after an application of eight hours the patient is not better apply a new bandage in the same manner."

I'm baffled by the use of bacon as a sore throat remedy, but I'm not baffled by the use of bacon in a chocolate bar (go figure). On the Vosges chocolates website, there is a category called Exotic Candy Bars. There you'll find Mo's Bacon Bar (as well as other exotic bars made with things like hemp seed and tea). This use of bacon makes sense to me, because the combination of sweet and salty works beautifully. (Have you noticed the recent trend of salt in sweet things like ice cream and caramel?)

The creator of the Bacon Bar explains that as a child she first encountered the delicious combination of sweet + salty/crunchy when at breakfast her pancake syrup got onto her piece of bacon. As she puts it "...on that plate something magical happened, the beginnings of a combination so ethereal and delicious that it would haunt my thoughts until I found the medium to express it--chocolate."

Eventually the idea took the form of this chocolate bar, which is made with milk chocolate, crunchy bits of applewood smoked bacon and just a sprinkling of smoked salt. It costs $7, but it's worth it just to say you've had a bacon chocolate bar.

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