Bacon and egg feel like such a natural combination. But do you remember when you had bacon for the first time? I do and very vividly.
I was at my classmate Julien’s house, at their dining table, learning how to solve the Rubik’s cube. Julien was great at it and I was pretty shit. He’d do the I’m-not-looking-but-I’m-still solving-it trick. I was 16, and I wanted to do that. It was way cooler than my technique which involved peeling off the stickers and sticking them back on correctly.
Julien knew he had a fanboy sitting in front of him as he set about demystifying the technique behind it very seriously like any teenager would do; by mystifying it more. Before I could wrap my head around how to solve for the white cross, his mum came in from the kitchen with some sandwiches. We set aside our cubes to discuss my technique, or lack of along with the sandwiches.
I took the first bite and then I don’t remember what Julien said. I was pulled in by that sandwich. It had the regular mayo, mashed boiled eggs bit but also something new; something my mum never put in her boiled egg sandwiches. There were these crisp shards that were intensely savoury, with pink, brown and black bits. It was heaven. As I picked out the shards to examine them more closely, I heard Julien speak Rubik’s cube, “left, turn, left, turn, right, turn…”. But who cared, with every bite I was learning to speak bacon – ‘mmm’, ‘aah’, ‘ooh’, repeat.
From the corner of my eye, I saw Julien’s mum pass us by at the dining table. I pounced on her with questions. “What is this?” “Where do you get it?” “How to you make it?” “What do you eat it with?” And pat came her answers: “Bacon.” “Joseph’s Cold Storage.” “Fry in a hot pan.” “Anything and everything.”
A couple of days later, I told my mum about bacon and that I wanted to make it at home. Her expression told me she knew what it was and that probably she wasn’t too thrilled about the idea. But she still gave me some money and told me to go get it. When I got home with my bacon strips I was given an old pan that was retired and not used to cook anything at home. I fried the bacon and feasted on it that day. Over many, many weeks, months and years that followed, my bacon pan and I got to know this very foreign food, so very intimately at home.
Looking back, I wonder whether I’d have learnt to love bacon if my mum wouldn’t have kept her biases to herself to let me decide what I thought about it. I thank her for what she did because ultimately food is food and there is no place for biases on this subject. Growing up ultimately is all about learning, assimilating and making something that may have been foreign and unknown, our own, until one almost forgets a world that existed any other way. That’s how we move forward and write our own history Vs. living someone else’s.
Bacon and eggs, anyone?