Snow in May … bacon covered in chocolate
So far this week, Ive already seen two stories on national news featuring mother dogs nursing baby kittens.Lets be honest; when the national news media starts showing retrievers in the nest with kitties, you know that things in the world are in a bad way.Not that theres anything wrong with this kind of television news programming. As soon as a big ole Labrador head appears on TV, Im always the first one in the room, excitedly shrieking and pointing to the screen in an ecstasy of love. Its just that, with the limited amount of network time allotted to the national news (unless, of course, youre watching CNN or Fox Noise), youve gotta see it as escapism, pure and simple.The networks dont usually indulge in escapism to that extent, unless things are pretty darned bad.And lets face it, they are. Killer cyclones. Killer earthquakes. Frighteningly unaffordable food and fuel prices. A plutocracy ruling the country (yes, I did sneak that one in, didnt I?). The end-of-day fanatics are having a field day giving us the I-told-you-so business, and even sane, rational people who adhere to the basic, pragmatic life philosophy that Stuff however bad it is happens, are beginning to wonder what the heck is going on here.Thats why Im glad that, in a world gone wayward, wicked and witless, weve got snow in May and chocolate-covered bacon.Not that I would actually ever eat chocolate-covered bacon. Gastronomically speaking, I wouldnt touch it with a barge pole; I suppose it is, like barbershop quartet singing (which Im all for) or skydiving (against!), an acquired taste.But after weeping at so many of the tragedies of life, we so desperately need to be able to laugh at its absurdities as well like the absurdity of seeing a foot of snow descend on us in the middle of May, while were out pumping up our bicycle tires. Things that, as we say down South, just aint right. Things like snow in May and chocolate-covered bacon.Actually, that sounds rather like the title of an early Dolly Parton song, doesnt it?The chocolate-covered bacon is something I found buried within the depths of a food blog, surprisingly, on Chef Emeril Lagasses website. (It served as a reminder that Im spending far, far too much time on the internet these days. Maybe I could get out more, if it would only stop snowing )Anyway, seems that a chocolatier in California (you can insert your own comments here) came up with the idea of dredging strips of bacon with thick milk chocolate. The end result looks kinda like a Milky Way squished by an asphalt paver no, wait, who am I kidding? It just looks like a piece of chocolate-covered bacon.My first response, when I saw the photos, was Ewwwwwww! My second, more literate response, was, That aint right! Some things you dont need to try, to know that theyre inherently, ethically, and gastronomically wrong. The same goes for the Bangers and Mash Ice Cream Cone, which is being served up by a take-out in London. I found it pictured, too, on the same site because when I find something as good as chocolate-covered bacon, it means Im going to surf around that website for a bit. The Bangers and Mash Ice Cream Cone is a sausage link sticking out of a cake-style ice cream cone and by the way, why are they called cake-style anyway? I can think of nothing less cake-like jammed against a swirl of mashed potatoes topped with mud-colored gravy and a sprinkling of lurid-green peas. The caption underneath the photo, copied from a British newspaper, summed it all up: Horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible as succinct a food review as Ive ever read.When I saw the photos of the Banger and Mash Cone, it brought back faint stirrings of the familiar within me and suddenly, I was back living in Sweden, stopping in the snow for lunch at what looked to be a hot dog stand. At least, that was what was painted on the front. A long, thin sort of hot dog, but a hot dog nonetheless. They handed me a hotdog, all right. Just the dog, no bun.Can I have a bun, please? I asked the attendant.He spoke no English after all, we were in Sweden, so why should he? so I pantomimed the shape of a bun around the dog, which, I soon realized, surely looked obscene. But I was desperate; I had already been there for a few weeks, and I was getting rather tired of the traditional winter fare of herring, reindeer meat and dill potatoes (true).Ah! Brd! Korv med brd! the attendant said. He reached under the counter, and I licked my lips in expectation of a glorious American hot dog with everything on it. He came back up and handed me the same dog, in a long bun covered with two heaping scoops of mashed potatoes, which were slathered in ketchup. I know now that it was the Swedish equivalent of a Bangers and Mash Ice Cream Cone. And yes, I ate it.Thats when I discovered that korv med brd and mashed potatoes was a Swedish way of life, like herring and dill weed on pizza. I also learned that what makes American junk food so special is that its always consistent. Order a hot dog anywhere else, and you may well get a korv med brd. But a Twinkie is a Twinkie, no matter where you are. Its a comforting thought.
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