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.