While I know this might come as a shock to some of you, loyal readers, but I did my absolute best this holiday season to ensure that all my celebrating somehow involved bacon. While I am not exactly the spokesperson for self-restraint even at my most staid and reserved, I generally do try to exercise some reason.
This usually translates to congratulating myself if I eat less than an entire back of bacon in a single sitting. At Christmas, however, even these feeble attempts at keeping myself in line are thrown out the window, and I allow myself to indulge on whatever I want. And more often than now, whatever I want is bacon.
I have a pretty big family and a great many friends, so each Christmas I have a very full visiting (and eating!) schedule.
Aunt – The Vegetarian
The bacon-related celebrations began, for me, when my favourite aunt came over to visit. She is a vegetarian most of the time, but every Christmas she asks for at least one meal that contains bacon, the only meat she actually misses. This year, my mom made her an incredible chili with crumbled Italian sausage, ground beef, and a veritable mountain of bacon. Topped with sharp, shredded cheddar, the dish was savoury and just a little bit sweet, a hearty meal to give us strength for the gauntlet of visiting before us.
My next holiday encounter with bacon took place at my future in-laws. My brother is engaged to a lovely young woman whose parents throw incredible parties. Their Christmas party this year featured games of darts, an epic Secret Santa exchange, and so many bacon appetizers that I was in heaven. I loved the tiny cherry tomatoes stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon and quickly grilled. I also thought the bacon-wrapped water chestnuts were both festive and delicious. But without question, the most delicious appetizer my mother-in-law-to-be set out were the jalapenos. First, she hollowed out the peppers, removing the very hot seeds, and coated them with brown sugar and cajun spices. Next, she stuffed them with a cream cheese mixture, wrapped each in a piece of bacon, and broiled them until crispy. The spicy-smoky-cheesy-sweetness was incredible. I can’t wait to make these for my next party!
Even though she is going to be my mother-in-law soon. Chef rob made way better stuffed jalapenos recipe [Editors Note: We promise we won't tell her *typing email to future mother-in-law with link to article*]
Breakfast Feast the Next Morning
Finally, bacon once again made an appearance on Christmas morning. After my brother and I had demolished our presents, like oversized children, we all settled around the dining room table in my parents’ big house to a proper breakfast. Still in our flannel pajamas, laughing and talking with out hands, no scene makes me feel more at home or more loved than that traditional family breakfast. My mom really outdid herself this year. She made crepes with fresh raspberries and marmalade, doughnuts sprinkled with powdered sugar, and incredible eggs benedict with homemade hollandaise and peameal bacon.
In addition to the peameal, she also set you a whole platter or crispy side bacon, each rasher with a ribbon of sweet fat running through it. I don’t even want to guess how many pieces I ate, casually snacking and chatting.
This year in particular, I could not help but take note of how bacon has become a central part of my family’s celebratory Christmas meals. I hope you all had very merry Christmases as well, and that you all also enjoyed all the bacon you could possibly desire over the holidays.