Why do I write so many columns poking fun at magazines? I have skewered Handyman magazine, Storage Solutions and Muscle Fitness, to name a few. This is because each month when I go to refill my cholesterol medicines at the pharmacy, I have to walk past the periodical display. I need a distraction, so I grab something off the shelf, plop down in the corner and read it cover to cover. This annoys the store manager, who tells me to get up off my fatty acids or I won’t get my Lipitor.
This week I saw a cooking magazine that takes the cake. Actually, cake would have been healthier. The Food Network’s newest offering is titled The Bacon Issue. Yes, it’s an entire 300 pages devoted to bacon, a strategy to compensate for their relatively poor-selling Tofu/Kale issue. The cover story says you can find 108 amazing recipes inside, which, by the way, includes 27 really bizarre ones — like the chocolate bacon cupcakes on the cover. Also on the front is a photo of a lollipop made out of bacon, the perfect way to lure the little ones away from sugar, which we all know is so unhealthy.
Inside the magazine is a detachable tiny booklet that contains 50 recipes for bacon appetizers. Things like: bacon jam, bacon-wrapped bananas and bacon ice cream. You wedge this little brochure in your back pocket and if you are stuck at a party where the only hors d’oeuvre is a vegetable plate and yogurt dip, you can offer a subtle hint by leaving the brochure next to the broccoli before you split for the Rib Shack.
Dessert lovers need not shrink in despair. How about a giant BLT cake? It’s not made with the traditional ingredients, but it does look like the classic sandwich. The bacon is fashioned out of tootsie rolls, the tomatoes are made of red gummy bears and the mayo is plain white frosting. Sliced angel food cake substitutes for the bread. Don’t ask me about the lettuce. Trust me: do not ask me about the lettuce.
There is also an entire page called “What’s Your Bacon IQ.” Here you can challenge yourself to tough multiple choice questions like:What part of the pig does jowl bacon come from?1. Shoulder2. Cheeks3. LoinThe answer is “cheeks.” What we don’t know, however, is on which end of the pig we find these cheeks.
The big survey in the magazine is: Do You Like Your Bacon Crisp or Not Crisp? The result was 62 percent said crisp and 28 percent not crisp. This is the only poll in U.S. history where there were no undecideds.
There are now bacon-of-the-month clubs: They deliver a different kind of bacon right to your door, along with recipes and ads for the latest bacon products like bacon rub, bacon-flavored envelopes and bacon-flavored lip balm. I am now thinking of joining either Bacon Buddies or Pork Pals: both have five-star ratings. I had been with a different group, but my wife didn’t like my getting emails from “The Strip Club.”Finally, we learn stories of bacon obsession, like the bride who carried a bacon bouquet shaped like roses. There’s the university that gave out cooked bacon as fans entered the football stadium, and how about the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade race in Wisconsin where they set up bacon stations?Yes, this craze is a sickness. Ironically, no one wants to be cured.