Monday, May 09, 2011

My Friend Joe

It's entirely possible that you've made the acquaintance of my friend Joe. Joe has made the acquaintance of many, many individuals. I speak not of Joe Danube, who may be mentioned in future tales of my college days, nor any other of the myriad of Joes who've crossed my path before or since. No, I speak of a Joe best known for his tendency toward trade, so much so that he carries the descriptor before his name. Surely you know this Joe, Joe the Trader.

My relations with Trader Joe have been quite warm since our introduction, but recently Joe has done me a service worth its weight in gold. Now you may recall that, oh, probably a year or more back, I decided to try to restrict my intake of products which have their origin in the flesh of pigs. While this carries certain health benefits, the root reason was because of an ethical dilemma regarding their intelligence. However, I struggled and continue to struggle with the fact that many food items of a porcine nature are, to speak with even grander eloquence than you've been subject to thus far, fucking delicious. Particularly bacon. Especially bacon. Specifically bacon.

Bacon presents by far the most difficult aspect of trying to dine relatively pork-free. Pigs are something like the 4th smartest animal, possessed of intellect and personality. However, bacon is something like the 1st most delicious food, possessed of flavor, texture, addictiveness, and the capacity to be used either as food or condiment. Being a man as I am with a certain weakness towards appetites, it has been quite trying to forgo bacon, and indeed, if I neither ask for nor pay for it, I grant myself a certain loophole and indulge.

I have tried to find reasonable substitutes. Bacon Salt was a major find, allowing bacon flavor to be added to a number of other foods. However, a major part of bacon's appeal is its texture. I resigned myself to turkey bacon as a facsimile, but really, turkey bacon is not bacon. It doesn't taste quite like bacon. It doesn't feel quite like bacon. It's good, and I enjoy it, but it's not at all in the same league.

Or so I thought.

Trader Joe's sells an uncured, applewood smoked, peppered turkey bacon. I would provide a link to the product, but ol' Joe is apparently bashful about giving his products a proper web presence. Suit yourself, Joe. I bought it in hopes it would be a bit better than most turkey bacon. I discovered it is, in fact, better than most bacon.

Let me repeat that. It is better than most bacon.

How is that even possible? It doesn't seem like it should be. But, to ensure the first package wasn't merely a fluke, I bought a second. The flavor is excellent, with the peppered finish providing a mild spiciness. The texture is, in my opinion, superior to that of all but the finest thick-cut bacon, having thickness, firmness, and no fatty rubberiness. I've been cooking it using a cast iron skillet, to which it takes quite well. I have eaten it straight up and I've also crumbled it for use in a custom salad I threw together. The texture lends itself to this quite well actually, tearing into small bits easily without being dry and brittle. Compared to normal bacon, it tastes and feels more savory and less fatty. I think the nutritional info bears this out, but, again, to raise the eloquence, fuck if I know for sure.

And so, seven paragraphs on the subject (nine if you count the single line paragraphs). If you, like me, are a lover of bacon and if you, also like me, are interested in potential replacements, and if you, still further like me, are neither vegetarian nor vegan, then I believe you owe it to yourself to try Trader Joe's Uncured Applewood Smoked Peppered Turkey Bacon. Hell, even lovers of bacon with no particular compunctions about it should give it a spin. You may find it to exceed your wildest expectations, as it did mine, and earn a place in your bacon greatest hits. Without reservation, I award my friend Joe (who I hope will be your friend as well) with the recognition of the best turkey bacon I've ever encountered by an enormous margin, and with further honor for producing a top-quality bacon product by any measure.

Yo, my friend Joe should pay me for this effusive fucking advert. Oh, and I guess it's ten paragraphs now. Also, sorry 'bout the cussing, sensitive types.