While munching on my favorite pizza last night (Hawaiian with Bacon), I got to wondering about Bacon. What brilliant mind developed it? Why does it taste so delicious? Why do I crave it (other than my genetic predisposition to liking it – see previous post) like I do Extra Crispy KFC Chicken?
So I did a little research…Here’s some interesting facts about bacon. Let’s take a moment to appreciate all the facets of this decadent, rich, flavorful explosion of the best part of the pig.
1. The Chinese have the distinct pleasure of being the forefathers of bacon. They began salting pork bellies as early as 1500 B.C.
2. Bacon is addictive. (Duh!) It contains six types of umami. (Umami a savory taste, is one of the five basic tastes, together with sweet, sour, bitter and salty.) Umami produces an addictive neurochemical response.
3. Choline, a micro-nutrient found in many pork products, could boost the intelligence of an unborn child. Scientists at the University of North Carolina have linked Choline to better brain development, memory and recall. Other Choline studies have linked large doses of choline to a decrease in heart problems.
4. St. Anthony the Abbot (aka St. Anthony the Great) is the Patron Saint of pigs, swine herders and butchers. He has been thus dubbed the “Patron Saint of Bacon”.
5. Bacon cures hangovers. Bacon is full of proteins, which break down into amino acids - a chemical compound which is known to cure headaches.
6. A 250 lb pig yields about 23 lbs of bacon.
7. A Survey conducted by the Maple Leaf Foods company found that:
a. 43% of people polled would rather have bacon than sex
b. 23% of men polled ranked bacon as their favorite fragrance
c. 23% of people polled wondered if “my partner loves bacon more than me”
8. Bacon is healthier than hot dogs, hamburgers and glazed donuts in terms of salt, calories, fat and cholesterol.
9. Bacon Bits sold in the supermarkets are actually vegetarian.
10. Bacon Day is held on the Saturday before Labor Day annually.
Now, don’t you feel smarter? If not, better get out that bacon and start cooking…
In honor of St. Anthony, here’s my version of a Stuffed Pork Chop…(This picture also includes Fried Corn with Bacon. That, my friends, is a recipe for another day.)
St. Anthony’s Holy Stuffed Pork Chops
2-4 Pork Chops (I prefer center cut, without bone)
Shake'N Bake Package (1, I use extra crispy)
Emeril’s Original Seasoning
3-4 slices of bacon (if doing 2 pork chops, 6-7 slices for 4 chops)
2-3 small white mushrooms (for 2 chops, 4-5 mushrooms for 4 chops)
1 small to medium onion
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a pan, dice up bacon slices and brown to desired crispiness. Drain off fat. Add onion and mushrooms until softened. Meanwhile, take pork chops and butterfly in half, running the knife almost all the way through. I like to take the Shake'N Bake out of the packet and place it in a shallow dish, and then I add a little Emeril Seasoning to the Shake'N Bake mix. Moisten the chop, then make sure you evenly coat the outsides of the pork chop. Lay the pork chop on a foil-lined cookie sheet and open up. Fill the pork chop with the bacon/onion/mushroom mixture, and then top with shredded cheese. Fold over pork chop top. You can secure with a tooth pick, but it usually doesn’t need it. Bake for 20 minutes (Until chop is 150 degrees F or higher...to your pork cooking preference).