Had I created a page one of the NYTimes dining section entirely for my own personal pleasure and interest, it would look exactly like today's edition:

Kim Severson on NYC's efforts to reduce salt content in processed foods.  It can't be said enough—the salt we season our fresh food with ain't the salt that's the problem.  The dangerous salt is laced throughout our  processed crap which continues to diminish the pleasure of eating and make our country sick and poor.

Elaine Sciolino on the Bocuse d'Or culinary competition in Lyon. We're rooting for the American team, Tim Hollingsworth, French Laundry sous chef, and his assistant, Adina Guest.

0128-BACON-B
And Damon Darlin's story on a recipe-cum-blog-phenomenon accuarately described in the excellent head: "Take Bacon.  Add Sausage.  Blog." A raw bacon mat encloses sausage enclosing crisp bacon, seasoned with bbq rub and bbq sauce, rolled and smoke roasted—a recipe posted at bbqaddicts.com that has nearly 400,000 hits with more to come.  OK, so never mind that this is a centuries-old Charcuterie technique, using bacon or lard to wrap a pâté (seasoned ground meat, in this case seasoned with garlic and fennel seed bought pre ground from the grocery store–not that I'm criticizing! All hail the pig in its multitudinous forms!), or that this is an American version of a ballotine, the French name for a rolled pâté that's served warm.  What I adore about this preparation is it's crass, knuckleheaded, irresistible looniness!  This is the true American Charcuterie.  I love it.  And damn I want a slice right now—that's the real test.

UPDATE: Bocuse d'Or results from the LATimes; Norway, Sweden and France on the podium; Hollingsworth takes sixth place.

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29 Wonderful responses to “Bocuse, Bacon and Salt”

  • Dineindiva

    Oh my that’s some pretty pork.

    That bacon weave would make a good scarf to wear while shoveling out of the blizzard today….

  • Laurence

    For more, but perhaps less edible bacon crafts, check out the April issue of Anticraft where you will find a bacon tiara or take a peek at the “Curiosities” category on my blog, where you will find a bacon scarf (made of wool, alas).

  • carri

    I made chocolate and bacon truffles yesterday…amazing! The reactions from people were very interesting…if someone didn’t want to try one their excuse usually was they were ‘watching their salt’!

  • Laura

    I read about this in the Times this morning and was kind of disgusted by the excess. But your point about this essentially being a pate is a good one. I realized I was just being one of those self-loathing American food types. By the way, just got your book Charcuterie and am loving it (the Amazon delivery luckily coincided with a pig butchering class I took). I’ve pancetta and guanciale curing away in my fridge as I speak.

  • Kansas City rube

    I actually got an email link to this from a friend in…you guessed it…Alabama.

    I might have to try this out with homemade bacon and sausage for the Super Bowl.

  • John Speno

    The evidence against salt being a problem is lacking. If you eat too much of it, you’ll get thirsty, you’ll drink, and your body will take care of its own equilibrium. If you don’t get enough salt, you’ll be in bad shape.

  • Maggie

    Am I alone in thinking that the bacon weave itself is a thing of extreme beauty? And as a technique could be adapted to several other uses?

  • boonie

    Michael-

    I’m not trying to be an English stickler, but check your spelling of “routing” (rooting) and the usage of “mined” (mind)…I can’t help but copy-edit my favorites blogs…xoxo

  • Feisty Bourbon Girl

    I went to a whiskey festival in Pittsburgh last fall where this bartender was making a bacon and apple cocktail – with cream :-/ Attracted at once b/c it had BACON in it, but completely disgusted by the taste. It was godawful.

    Guess I’ll have to wait and visit that restaurant in Minneapolis where the bartender makes bacon-infused bourbon…

  • craig

    Boonie, if you want writings with no typos or errors, buy the books. The interwebz’ stuff is free and loaded with errors. The savings is worth the analytical angst.

  • Sara

    It will be interesting to see if salt in processed foods ends up like trans fat.

    I understand the evidence against trans fat but am not sure trans fat chips really improve your health.

  • Kate in the NW

    I just keep revisiting the term “bacon mat”…it makes me happy (and hungry).

    Speaking of bacon, have you tried this magnificent concoction? Only a genius would combine (essentially) onion agradolce and bacon to make (cue a choir of angels…) BACON JAM.
    http://skilletstreetfood.com/baconjam.htm
    Get some while you can – it was in today’s paper and now they’ll probably sell out lickety-spit.

  • Rhonda

    Hi Boonie.

    The spelling Michael used was Queen’s English, not American english. We use that here in Canada which is why we are exhausted all of the time (from writing extra vowels). It is all part of the joy of being colonised.

    You should know that Canada has an intelligence-for-oil trade deal in the works. We are planning on taking Michael Ruhlman and President Obama in exchange for all of the oil you could ever want, all living Canadian politicians, Celine Dionne (sorry) and your choice of any two Canadian provinces.

    This could work out well, no?

    All the best to you,

    Rhonda

  • Vivian

    I’m with you on that maggie. I’m thinking of doing that weave with my next roast. Bacon makes everything better!

  • Brian

    that does sound amazing. Coincidentally this is the 4th time I have seen this link presented..now I’m not a big believer in fate…but I believe I must try this now.

    Cheers!
    Brian

  • Laurence

    If you want to take “food porn” like this bacon explosion one step further, just take a gander at Sarah Katherine Lewis’ new book, Sex and Bacon, where she dishes out porn with a side of bacon. Too bad you didn’t think of that, Michael! Combining porn and bacon under one cover has got to be a formula for a bestseller.

  • Maura

    Every time I read “bacon weave”, I picture Tyra Banks with strips of bacon hanging from her head.

  • Timm Davis

    Did that last Friday the last day of Charcuterie Class. I actually stumbled upon the recipe and presented it to my Chef Instructor and I quote “we’re so going to do that”. Mind you this was at the beginning of the cycle. And we did it on the last day of the cycle.

    It was a big hit with everyone including several of the Chef’s at school. I was delivering porky goodness for most of the morning.

    Though we smoked ours and then finished it in the oven. Didn’t have a grill in the Meat Fab kitchen and garde manger (the kitchen next door) was using theirs.

  • Maura

    Talking of bacon ‘weaves’ now you can wear your bacon

    I wasn’t too far off.

    Sausage and bacon wrapped in more bacon seems over the top, but I wouldn’t turn it down if someone put it in front of me.

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