Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Essential Life Items: My Midlife Crisis or How Bacon Saved My Life

In the coming weeks I will celebrate my 36th birthday. For a guy like me who smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish and exercises like a sloth, it means I’m starting to venture into that dreaded “midlife” territory. Mortality settles into my psyche and I realize that I’m not superhuman. I’ve traded in my teenage angst and drunken debauchery for a beer gut, patches of gray hair and a soul-sucking job in a cubicle. But you know what? That’s life. You’re born. You crawl. You walk. You stumble. You die. Life in 5 chapters. What’s the point to living, you ask? If life is as existentially bleak as a Beckett play, then why even bother? Well, for me it’s those little things that make life worth getting out of bed for in the morning. Beer. Videogames. Barbecue Ribs. Essential life items. So, as we venture into the seas of mid-life on this drunken ship called the Idiot Ballroom, let’s celebrate those Essential Life Items.

Today let’s discuss bacon

There was a fleeting moment in college when I experimented with every carnivore’s nightmare: the dreaded lifestyle that is vegetarianism. I had seen this crazy documentary on the different ways food is manufactured and it messed me up in the head to see where we Americans get our meat. Life was so magically delicious before that documentary. Cuts of steak or breasts of chicken just appeared in the meat department section of my local grocery store. I devoured what my grubby little human paws could get a hold of, never really questioning where the meat truly came from. I mean, I knew I was eating cow or pig or chicken. But point A (animal) to Point B (my mouth) was just a direct line, with no story in the middle. Then that documentary and the gap between point A and point B was filled with horrible images of meat processing. I ventured to the dark side and gave up meat.

What brought me back to the land of meat, you ask? Bacon. That salty, cured meat sent from Heaven. Bacon was the intervention that saved me from vegetarianism. One morning in the school cafeteria I smelled that distinct aroma and my horrific imagery of where meat comes from disappeared in the blink of an eye. There is nothing like hearing the sizzling of that magical meat and smelling the aroma fill your home at breakfast time. It’s like a mini-Christmas moment only with food.

Other than the taste and aroma, what makes bacon stand apart from other meats and is worth discussing? One major point is its versatility. Bacon can be served as a side for breakfast. It can be the focal point say in a BLT. Or it can be a garnish sitting atop a double cheeseburger. Hell, some people will drink bacon as part of their alcoholic intake! What’s not to love?

From bacon bits to bacon-wrapped turkey, bacon saved my life.