“Did you see the bacon video on List of the Day?” my dear husband asked me the other day, as he knows that it’s one of my daily reads.
“I saw the post, but I didn’t watch the video. What was it about?”
“Deep. Fried. Bacon.” He said it almost reverentially.
“Yep…there’s a café in Texas that serves it.” It’s a place called Sodolak’s, as it turns out, in Snook, Texas.
Now, we love us some bacon at Casa Cunningham. I recall one night when Scott was flipping channels and he came across Emeril’s cooking show. Emeril had just started, and he said, “Okay, now, you’re going to need a pound of butter…and a pound of bacon.” We were rapt for the next hour; with a beginning like that, there was no way that recipe wasn’t going to turn out as something practically ambrosial. However, I dismissed the concept of deep-fried bacon with a single, drawn-out syllable: “Ewwwww.”
I thought that “ewwwww” was the last of it. Having been married for a long time now, my spidey sense should’ve picked up on the fact that the bacon video was no passing fancy for Scott, but rather had taken hold of him in that sinister way fried foods have. However, I didn’t realize the truth until we were finishing up our shopping at Target Saturday afternoon.
“Did you need anything from the grocery store?”
“No, I think we have milk.”
“Well, I want to get a few things. I want some cabbage and green onions for the fried rice…and some bacon.”
And there it was.
“Yeah, I want to try that country-fried bacon.”
I suppose it’s a reasonable rule of thumb that if you feel called to test the seriousness of someone’s resolve to engage in a reckless activity, you can be pretty sure their seriousness is not in doubt. Especially if that someone is your spouse. Your bacon-loving spouse.
“Well, I guess as long as your life insurance is paid up, you can eat deep-fried bacon if you want.”
So Sunday morning, I dragged myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 9:45, because I knew that Scott wanted to make his bacon, and was waiting on me to get up, and it would be unfair of me to lie comatose for another hour or two between a man and his deep-fried bacon. (Figuratively; doing so actually would just be gross.)
He commenced to preparing the bacon (and the accompanying white gravy) and I vacuumed the house in the meantime, because our three dogs are making a concerted effort to bring in as much yard schmutz as they can possibly carry in on their twelve tiny feet to deposit on my carpets. If I were into that aesthetic, I would have to admit they’re doing an admirable job, but as it is, I’m just annoyed. I kept an eye on the progress of the project in the kitchen, trying to be encouraging while staying out of the way.
“What are you doing with the Wesson?” I said.
“I was going to put it in the Fry Daddy.”
“There’s already oil in it.”
“Are you sure it’s okay?”
“Sure,” I said. “I don’t think it’s been in there that long.”
“Don’t start up the fryer until I have the clean laundry out of the dining room. I don’t want everything to smell like grease.”
It wasn’t long before I became quietly concerned, because it wasn’t smelling terribly appetizing, but I kept my peace, because my honey wanted deep-fried bacon, and by God, he should have deep-fried bacon.
The longer he cooked, the less appetite I had for it.
He gauged the level of my anticipation for the coming meal, and I hedged by saying, “Um…I don’t know…I think it smells kind of odd.”
“Odd how?” he asked.
“You don’t want to know,” I said, because I didn’t want to tell him. If you’re having a bad food experience and the people you’re with are not, the quickest way to ruin their meal is to share your problem with your meal. The power of suggestion is irresistible, so I didn’t want to put the idea in his head.
“No, tell me…what does it smell like?”
“Livestock barn at the fair, frankly.”
I took one of the crispy critters on the paper-toweled plate in front of me, and gingerly took a single bite. And promptly put it back down and began to eat my toast.
“What do you think?”
“I think it tastes like it smells. And the bacon isn’t cooked very well inside the breading.” I like my bacon crisp; this was just barely on the far side of rare. “What do you think?”
“It’s not bad. You’re not going to eat yours?”
“I’m sorry. I tried. I just can’t.” I finished my toast, and he finished his deep-fried bacon, and we started to clean up. When we went back into the kitchen, Scott said, “Now I can smell barnyard. I couldn’t smell it before.” The smell was overpowering to me; every time I walked through the kitchen for the next hour, I gagged. I immediately set about opening all nearby windows to air it out as fast as possible. I decided to leave the cleaning of the kitchen to the cook and took myself off to the bedroom to fold clothes.
When I brought the laundry baskets back, he said, “You know, I think it might’ve been the oil that was bad. When I cleaned the fryer, there was a lot of black sludge at the bottom that you couldn’t see when the oil was in there, because the pot is black, too.”
“Really? I thought I’d just put it in there recently. Well, that was probably it, then. I’m sorry.”
“So maybe we’ll try the deep-fried bacon again?”
“YOU go right ahead.”