Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cheek By Jowl

Christmas Eve was the only day in the past week when My Beloved and I didn't have some kind of social engagement - the holiday season is like that - all feast, no famine. We love it and we wouldn't change it, but it's nice every now and then to have a quiet day with not much on the agenda.

That morning, I slept late - we had been out caroling the night before and I was tired. I'm a lousy singer who can't carry a tune in a bucket so keeping that under wraps is exhausting. I love caroling, all except for the subterfuge.

When I arose, it felt like breakfast. I had half of a strudel that my pal Cricket makes and sent to us this year - delicious with bacon (or without!). So I delved into the freezer for a package of bacon and got out my trusty frying pan.

This bacon is jowl bacon from pigs raised by Langley Ranch in Sonoma, then cured, lightly smoked and sold by Marin Sun Farms. When we bought it at the Kensington farmers market, the young woman behind the counter said that once people taste jowl bacon, they refuse to eat anything else. I'm not the adamant type, and I'm unlikely to pass up other bacon in the future, but I have to say this was great bacon and quite different from the belly kind.

For one thing, it's funkier. It's hard to describe the difference, except that jowl bacon has a deep, meaty aftertaste that belly bacon doesn't have. It's not as salty as most bacon and we liked that aspect - a little salt goes a long way with us. The rashers are smaller, perhaps four inches long, so what looks like a mess of bacon is really a pretty modest portion for two. We loved it and wolfed down all but a single piece that we saved for Cora - and she loved it, too.

Served on a plate, cheek by jowl with Cricket's strudel and a cup of Kona coffee, it's a breakfast fit for a king and, in this case, two queens.

Happy New Year! May 2012 be your best year yet, but not your best year ever.


Blogger kudzu said...

Hog jowl -- pronounced "jall" -- is a Southern staple and it's used to flavor greans, beans, and peas. I haven't had the real thing in eons. Good for you, discovering something new just in time for the new year!

Saturday, December 31, 2011  
Blogger James said...

Just wanted to say HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU!!

Saturday, December 31, 2011  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Hog "jalls"! I will never pronounce it any other way. All the linguistic information is there, just a little collapsed.
Yeah, Zoomie, we found the jalls a little farmy-tasting too. They ended up seasoning stew-like things, as Kudzu recommends. Nice discovery, though.
Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 31, 2011  
Blogger Chilebrown said...

I have had it several times from different vendors. I will stick to the real thing.

Saturday, December 31, 2011  
Blogger Ms Brown Mouse said...

Ooo, I'm going to have to ask the pig people at the market about Jowl Bacon.
Hippo Gnu Deer Zoomie, and to Buzz too xxxx

Saturday, December 31, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kudzu, love the pronunciation and the idea to use that bacon in a different way. Following up in 2012.

James, thanks, kid! And Happy New Year to you and your lovely wife. We will have to meet one of these days.

Cookiecrumb, Happy New Year to you and the Crankster. We should get together in 2012. Maybe I'll get off my lazy ass and organize a party of food bloggers this year.

Chilebrown, I'm with you but I'm willing to try it as Kudzu has suggested.

Ms. Mouse, thanks for the good 2012 wishes. Right back at ya, and it will be fun to read about your search for jowl bacon.

Sunday, January 01, 2012  
Blogger Greg said...

That's breakfast! Happy happy!

Sunday, January 01, 2012  
Blogger katiez said...

What a great breakfast! I, too, have spent my life mouthing the words to music, trying not to let an errant sound escape.....

Sunday, January 01, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, an a lovely one it was!

Katiez, I actually go ahead and sing, I just try to do it quietly so no one knows I'm off key.

Sunday, January 01, 2012  

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