Monday, September 14, 2009

Trendy Monday: Bacon Backlash?

In culinary circles, bacon has, until now, been pretty uncontroversial. It tastes good, it adds flavor, it's got great texture. It makes dishes, from breakfast through dessert, taste even better.

But how much of a good thing is too much? Sad as it is to say, I think we're starting to max out on bacon. It's become an easy out for chefs and home cooks (and Top Chef contestants) who want to give a dish an edge. The problem is, when you use the same edge every time, it loses it's, well, edge.

We saw that this week on Top Chef. Kevin won the Quickfire with his fricasseed escargots garnished with bacon jam - and apparently that bacon jam was awesome - but Mattin's overly bacony veloute very nearly got him kicked off. It was a great example of too much being too much (also a great example of Gallic overconfidence).

So what's next for bacon? Probably more of the same. I mean, it's bacon, it's not going away. But maybe we will see a slight drop in fine dining dishes flavored with bacon. And I definitely wouldn't be surprised to hear some anti-bacon sentiment from chefs of the celebrity sort.

UPDATE: From Discovery Doug, who I'm sure agrees that bacon is good for all of us:


theminx said...

I think part of the problem was that velouté doesn't need bacon to make it taste good. Mattin did some unnecessary monkeying-around with a classic. As for the bacon jam, it was an innovation of Kevin's, a component of a dish of his own creation, and I think that factor made the bacon more of a plus than a minus.

Kit Pollard said...

I think that is true. It was a good lesson that bacon doesn't always mean you'll win.

But I almost feel like I understand why Mattin did that. He probably felt like he needed to personalize the veloute, and like bacon is always a winner. Of course, if he was a better chef and a better contestant, he would've realized he was making a mistake on both counts.

Keswickian said...

I totally agree. I'm sooo sick of everyone talking about bacon as if it were the be all end all of food. I'll be glad when the bacon craze has finished.

Anonymous said...

Kit I have to comment. I never do but with a bacon headline i had to. Just the other day the oldest woman 115 died, she had a diet of fried chicken, bacon and some other unhealthy food. My grandmother lived until 100+ and she ate bacon everyday. So I say keep the bacon coming. Hope all is well with you guys. Big b-day coming up. Sheila

Kit Pollard said...

Oh, I don't want to give up bacon altogether. I think I'm just getting tired of hearing about it CONSTANTLY on shows like Top Chef, where the real skill should be cooking even without bacon. It's like that kids' book, The Chocolate Touch. If all you ever eat is bacon, it starts to taste a little bit less delicious.

That said, Sheila, I sometimes still eat your favorite breakfast sandwich - cream cheese, bacon and hot sauce on a bagel. I owe that to you.

Also, unrelated, we have Mia's shoes here. I will get them back to you one day.


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