Cookbook Review: 'Bacon Nation'

Start your drooling engines

It is difficult to resist drooling while leafing through the pages of Bacon Nation by Peter Kaminsky and Marie Rama (Workman Publishing, $14.95). The book includes 125 pictures and recipes; complete with appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, sides, desserts, and breakfast items.

by Derek Van Wagner

Seasoned authors Kaminsky and Rama offer their extensive knowledge on the pork dish that has been sizzling since the Roman era. Bacon Nation covers every aspect of preparing bacon, from the proper microwave technique to cooking your hash browns in bacon fat. It also has a very personalized touch. At the end of nearly every recipe there are mock post-it notes pointing out the tricky parts of the meal and a remedy for the problem. Bacon Nation also offers thoughtful variations for ingredients, relevant conversion tables, and a detailed list of 25 brands of top notch bacon the authors used while making the book. I'll tempt you with a couple recipe titles: Bacon and Butternut Squash Galette, Bacon and Edamame Salad with Sea Scallops, and finally, Pork Roast Stuffed with Bacon and Black Mission Figs.

The only pitfall I see in Bacon Nation is that it does not mention the nutritional values/demerits of the dishes. Fair warning, this book is a one sided, "all for bacon and bacon for all" type of book. Perhaps Kaminsky and Rama could have put some perspective on the devilish hog of a dish by comparing it to other common foods. Even with this omission in mind, I couldn't be swayed from absolutely devouring this cookbook.

After spending a long night on the town, I had one thing on my mind when I woke up Sunday morning... BACON! The hardest part was choosing which meal we wanted to tackle. We wanted something simple, so we settled on the Candied Bacon recipe (p.265). The preparation was easy, apply spices and bake for 15 minutes. However, the big surprise was adding a full tablespoon of yellow curry powder to the mix. Who knew?

We followed the straight forward directions and the bacon held the perfect balance between being crispy and retaining a soft, chewy feel. The sweetness of the slices was the defining characteristic, like a Belgian waffle smothered in a traditional glaze, this bacon was a delightful treat. Unfortunately, my companions could not accept an "all bacon breakfast extravaganza", so we prepared migas, tortillas, fresh fruit, and mimosas to go along with our delectable bacon slices. This may be one of the most basic recipes inside Bacon Nation, but it truly was one of the finest bacon based meals I have encountered. Mmmmm... bacon.

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