BET YOU DIDN’T SEE THIS ONE COMING.
But seriously, I’m begging everyone to stop. You have to stop putting bacon in everything.
Bacon is fantastic. I love bacon. I can eat eight strips in a row and still go back for more. It is crispy and savory and meaty, and those are my three favorite qualities a food can have. There are few things that compare to fresh bacon and don’t think for half a moment that I’m calling for the eradication of bacon as a food or ingredient.
But this madness must end. Because even though bacon is fantastic, it is not magical. You can’t add it to another food and expect it to magically elevate that food from “snack” to “mouth orgasm.” Sometimes adding bacon is counterproductive and you end up taking two great foods and fusing them into a despairingly mediocre hybrid. It’s subtraction by addition.
I’ll give you an example.
Day Job was hosting a food truck day. I chose to fill my mouth and stomach with the wares from the Greek Fusion truck. I ordered the Greek Deviled Eggs (with pureed kalamata olives!) and they were a delight. I ordered the Crab Gyro and it was alright. Then I ordered the Bacon Baklava even though I knew better.
Based on statistics that I made up in my head just now, 54% of bacon’s appeal lies in its texture and mouthfeel. When you cool it down and surround it with liquid ingredients it gets gummy and chewy and you end up with a product that seems to be infested with salad style canned bacon bits.
This is exactly what happened with my baklava. The pastry itself was very very good, but the congealed bacon bits, though not the worst thing I've put in my mouth, were distracting. I gave up after a few bites and spent the rest of the day dreaming of REGULAR BAKLAVA.
The main problem I see with this tired and played food-craze is that it's lazy. Bacon does not equal innovation. Real innovation takes a perfect understanding of basic theory in your field and some amount of creativity. If you own a cupcake shop and don’t know what to do next, the answer is to make a really awesome cupcake. Perfect your technique. A lot of pastry shops are getting distracted by stupid-crazy flavors and losing sight of just making the best pastries you can make. A perfect chocolate cupcake, one that is moist and perfectly sweetened and not too dense, is actually quite hard to find. This is absurd.
It would be another thing if even half of the bacon-flavored products I've tried had been delicious. But that has not been the case. I've had bacon/maple cupcakes, cookies, chocolate bars and BEER and 90% of them have been a sub-par gimmick that tasted like liquid smoke or dog treats. Exceptions to this have included a bacon latte (I KNOW) from Datz Dough in Tampa which had a slightly smoky salted caramel flavor and deep richness that was frankly fantastic. Another example is a milkshake that I enjoyed at the Little Goat in Chicago. It was not bacon-flavored, but it was made with pork fat. So rich. So good.
I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of bacon/maple recommendations in the comments. I’m not saying there isn't a bacon maple cupcake out there that makes life worth living, but the ratio of delicious bacon cupcakes to mediocre/gross bacon cupcakes is just to heavy on the gross side.
Bacon has become a culinary crutch and it is inhibiting forward progress. Like sex, it will always sell, and as long as people are buying these mediocre gimmicks, no real innovation will occur.
And I’m part of the problem. Because “bacon” is one of those words that activates immediate joy in my brain, I will always buy and try these stupid creations. Because MAYBE this one will be truly amazing. MAYBE this maple/bacon macaron is what I've been searching for throughout this whole craze. MAYBE someone has figured out a way to make a bacon cookie in which the bacon stays crispy.
So I’m begging you, people who make food and especially those in pastry, please quit putting bacon in everything. Because I will continue to buy these products, continue to be hopeful, and continue to be disappointed.
I just can’t take the heartbreak anymore.