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By Mick Vann, December 14, 2007, Food

The Bacon Cookbook: More Than 150 Recipes From Around the World for Everyone's Favorite Food

by James Villas
Wiley, 276 pp., $35

Prolific cookbook author and food writer James Villas wastes little time letting the reader know his thoughts regarding porcine perfection: "There's no one who doesn't love bacon. It's the greatest food God has ever created." Of course, certain religions might disagree with the author's thesis, but you must admit that the smell of bacon cooking creates a primordial response in humans. Picture the half-closed orgasmic eyes and dripping drool of Homer Simpson as he lovingly mumbles the word "bacon."

Villas has collected 168 recipes from America and around the world that place bacon in the culinary spotlight. The beginning is devoted to a taxonomic treatise on bacon, including history, curing and smoking methods, all of the various international forms, how to purchase and store, how to cook, and, of course, saving and cooking with bacon fat. Sources for purchasing artisanal and international bacon are included.

Chapters designate different types of dishes – main courses, soups, breads – with the beginning of each listing all of the dishes found within that section. The well-written, concise recipes all begin with lengthy headnotes, describing the particulars of each dish. The book is scattered with tidbits of bacon tips, quotes, etc., while the photography borders on culinary porn.

This is one of the few cookbooks you'll find where every single recipe makes you want to head straight for the stove, whether it's a bacon, goat cheese, and sweet-onion pie; Russian borscht; beef-stuffed plantains; or braised Japanese pork belly. For those fellow bacon lovers in our midst, Villas' The Bacon Cookbook is required reading.

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