Wednesday, March 24, 2010

America's Love Affair with Bacon

I avoid bacon and anything that is basically composed of lard, but it's another story for my husband. He will eat anything if it's wrapped in bacon, sprinkled with bacon or has a serving of bacon on the side. When I first met him he wouldn't eat spaghetti unless it was with meat sauce … until I made him Spaghetti Carbonara – with bacon. Up until last month, he wouldn't eat shrimp, until I wrapped it in – bacon. Of course, as far as he's concerned, the only thing better than a cheeseburger is a bacon cheeseburger. A turkey sandwich is better as a turkey club with bacon. What are green beans without a little bacon? And then of course there's the epitome of the bacon sandwich, the BLT! Sometimes I wonder if he even wants the L and the T.

I'm not sure if this love affair with bacon is strictly American, but I cannot recall my grandmother ever having bacon in the house. It's not that we didn't eat pork (not eating pork in a Cuban household is sacrilegious) – it's just that we don't have that many recipes that require bacon. Actually I don't think we have any. The Cuban equivalent to bacon is Tocino. Tocino refers to the fat and skin cut from the back of the pork. It is neither cured nor smoked. Tocino is usually cut into small squares and fried until crunchy; although I've never cooked with it, and I'm sure they've never heard of it here, and why start now? I am, however, open to creating a Cuban dish that incorporates bacon. So if anyone out there can think of one, please leave a comment and if it sounds good, I'll be making it soon.


  1. Thanks for the suggestions Pedro. I will leave the potajes for the winter. Although my rice making skills are not good, I might look into making congri in the next few weeks, and adjusting with what I have at hand. We'll see how it turn out!

  2. Mija are you kidding, we use bacon in place of tocino lots of times.

    it's used for frijoles colorados, congri, moros, you can use it in potaje de lentejas, it's good in chilindron, and yeah manteca used to be the main cooking oil in cuba along with olive oil.

  3. LOL, yes mijo, we Americanized Cubans put American bacon in many of our recipes, but that is not the traditional way. I always remember the potajes being made with ham hocks and/or tocino, chorizos etc. Manteca is rendered pork lard, not cured or smoked bacon lard, but we adapt and so do our recipes. Thanks for all the comments. I really appreciate it.

  4. lol. don't forget about the "Philadelphia Cream Cheese"

    the "Jamon del Diablo" (Deviled Ham used in some pasta de bocaditos),

    "SPAM" (you know "Spam Frito" lol.),

    and "Vienna Sausage" (Arroz Amarillo Con Salchichas)

    those use to be in pre- Castro Cuba. I don't know my family has been here since 1958 lol.

    Oh and the "Pudin Diplomatico" (uses canned fruit cocktail) hehe.

    If I could always get tocino or a good "Pancetta" or "Jamon Entreverado" like the one's used in Spain I would :)

    oh also bacon sofrito is really good for "Arroz Amarillo Con Garbanzos" as well as for "Chilindron de Chivo" for the bacon sofrito just mince bacon, render it in olive oil, when almost crisp start sauteeing teh onion, bell peppers when those are translucent add the garlic and sautee until fragrant, and add to the stuff, etc.

  5. when i am cooking i usually add bacon because the taste is really delicious. Actually the bacon for the breakfast is really good i enjoyed a lot. Although the ingredients of the meals be simply if you chose the right ones,the taste will be wonderful.

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