Tuesday, September 11, 2012
We don't eat a ton of bacon in our house as bacon - it's rare for strips of it to be served along side eggs or on a burger. But I do use probably more than I should as a flavour base or as a little bit of crispy salty bacon goodness sprinkled on top (of everything). My favourite bacon comes from Upper Cuts in the St Lawrence Market in Toronto. It is called Black Forest Bacon and it is thick cut and heavily smoked. You buy a kilogram of it and they will split it and package it up for you in two plastic parcels so you can throw one in the fridge and one in the freezer so you'll never run out of bacon. It is a glorious thing.
So we move to London and start seeking out a suitable bacon replacement. Shouldn't be too hard, Britain is good at pig things, right? Sausages and the like? And so with a significant amount of trial and error we finally find two acceptable bacon suppliers in our neighbourhood, though neither are as thickly cut as the butcher in Toronto.
But here is my complaint: why do bacon makers leave the skin on? The bacon rind? And how do you British people handle it? Do you painstakenly cut it off? Trimming each piece individually as I do to get it off without sacrificing too much of the smoked bacon fat? Or do you... eat it...? I have cooked it and tried to eat it but it's inevitably tough and hard and unpleasantly like eating a warm and salted rubber band. Because British bacon is rarely ever cooked crisply enough to get the skin to take on the texture and crunch of crackling, which is the only real acceptable treatment of bacon skin that I can think of.