Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Perfect Bacon Sandwich

bacon sandwich
The perfect bacon sandwich. Yum! Photo courtesy Wendy Harrison*

This post is in response to accidental conversations with my daughter, Olivia (who holds dual American/British nationality) and Philippe Picavet, a resident of Belgium and like-minded petrolhead. Now I have to be tread very carefully here as Olivia is not short of opinions (genetics) and an astonishingly good cook (not genetics, at least from my DNA) and has been fortunate to have been exposed to a broad spectrum of world cuisine. Philippe lives in Belgium and I have long maintained some of the best food on the planet can be found in his country -witness moule, beer, chocolate (2000 chocolate shops in a country just 1/6 the size of Washington state -that's probably more than they have gas stations!), gaufres, frites etc. Anyway, somehow the topic of bacon sandwiches and their construction came up. In my view a well-made bacon sandwich, or sarnie in English patois, is in the top 10 comfort foods in the universe. But they have to made correctly and they must not be confused with BLTs, club sandwiches or other such offerings containing various meats or vegetables. While these other constructions are delicious and quite legitimate they are not true bacon sandwiches. A bacon sandwich should contain just hot bacon. Here are the parameters for a perfect sandwich:
  • Bacon: it should be back rashers or slices. American bacon which is mostly pork belly-derived is too fatty
  • Cooking: slightly crisp but the bacon should not be overdone or leathery
  • Bread: soft large fresh rolls are the best. Open and put face down in the skillet before serving so the inside is slightly fried/toasted
  • Serving: should be hot. Can only be eaten with brown sauce. Should be accompanied with tea containing milk (sugar optional). Coffee doesn't work

If you can believe it some scientists got a grant to study the features of the perfect bacon sarnie and came up with the following formula:

N = C + {fb (cm) . fb (tc)} + fb (Ts) + fc . ta

where N=force in Newtons required to break the cooked bacon, fb=function of the bacon type, fc=function of the condiment/filling effect, Ts=serving temperature, tc=cooking time, ta=time or duration of application of condiment/filling, cm=cooking method, C=Newtons required to break uncooked bacon.

* The above photograph was kindly provided by excellent Scottish blogger, Wendy Harrison, and was originally posted on her site "A Wee Bit of Cooking". I don't usually do this but I'm so charmed by Wendy's site that I'm adding her to the blog lists on my sidebar.

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