Thursday, November 15, 2007

So, I better fess up right off: M and I have a jar of bacon grease in our fridge. Yes, you heard me (read me?), bacon grease. How is this healthy? Isn't one of "the 5" health consciousness? Yes, it is AND I believe a jar of bacon grease can take you a long way down the road of healthful eating. I know, many of you are about to stop reading, thinking I have been taking some sort of illicit substance, but read on.

Bacon has flavor. Lots of it. It makes things very tasty, even when you only use a bit. A dressing made with a little bacon grease, red wine vinegar, water (for bulk), and some minor seasonings (salt, pepper, a bit of Dijon) can be transcendent with FAR LESS FAT THAN ONE MADE WITH OLIVE OIL. Here's another idea, a ho hum lima bean soup can become a culinary masterpiece with some crispy bacon crumbled on top (await a future recipe for Leek and Lima Soup!). A pretty standard sweet potato hash becomes transcendent with Canadian bacon (and the grease from cooking it) as your starting ingredient.

You all have probably realized that we don't eat much meat. Frankly, I don't think our society can afford to eat much meat (but that's another post). While there are times when we (M & J) sit down to a meat intensive meal, most of our meat eating comes in the form of "meat as condiment" - a small amount of meat, lending big flavor notes to whatever we're cooking. I think this is one of the most healthful, inexpensive, and sustainable ways to continue to eat meat, not to mention the fact that it can result in some very tasty products. In other words, this is the main way that meat fits into "the 5".

I don't think eating in a way that is healthful to ourselves or the planet should be about penance. I think that the main purpose of food is to taste good and when we forget that we lose something precious. A bit of bacon can really make your dinner - be it one of 10 or 10, 000.

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