Of all the crappy things I eat, bacon is probably the crappiest. Thankfully, I eat it only rarely, but if you were to put a pound of cooked bacon in front of me, I would eat a pound of cooked bacon and ask for more.
But since I want to live long enough to watch my kid grow up, it’s better to wax nostalgic on previous bacon encounters than to accrue new ones.
How can something so good be so bad?
On Sunday mornings, my dad and I used to drive down to the car wash and then over to the bagel store. We’d pick up fresh bagels, and sometimes smoked fish, and usually, by the time we got home, my mom had bacon going on the stove (OK, not terribly jewy, but…). The smell of fresh-baked bagels and bacon frying reminds me of a warm house with fogged windows and good food. It’s a comfortable smell of my childhood.
When I was a kid teaching canoeing up in Ontario, I used to take some of the advanced students on early morning cookouts. We would get up as the mist was was just lifting, get in our cedar-strip canoes, and paddle to one of the islands in the middle of the lake. The kids would collect wood and show me they could make a fire. Then I would take out a loaf of fresh-baked bread and hand each kid a couple of pieces and show them how to bite a hole in the middle.
Then I fried up a mess o’ bacon. Lots. Each kid would give me their bread and I’d set it in the pan full of grease and drop an egg in the hole. The smell of bacon, sweat, and woodsmoke is a smell of the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
Now, as someone who may or may not be middle-aged, I still love bacon, but I will be content to keep the memories and associations I have and keep the bacon to a minimum.