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Adios Señor Pig

The end of bacon? Thankfully, another cuisine craze fades into obscurity.

Which would you do: eat it or rush it to the vet for emergency dental surgery?

Hmmm, should we eat it or rush it to the vet for emergency dental surgery? Duh.

I was pleased, no thrilled actually, when I recently read a comment from some chef in one publication or another — my reading time frequently overlaps with cocktail hour, so my recollections tend to get a bit hazy — saying something to the effect of “I’m sick of pig.” Now given the context, I think we can assume she was referring to swine-flesh meat products rather than the dog-wheelchair thief, the Real Housewives or that ass hat who keeps ripping the Red Sox stickers off the bumper of my car. Long story.  Anyways . . . oh here, I found it.

Spotted Pig Owner Sick of Pig

God bless chef April Bloomfield is all I can say. Eh, who do I think I’m kidding? I have a great deal more to say on the subject, and when I’m done I believe I’ll don a red dress and stomp on the rapidly putrifying bones of bacon mania, because I don’t know about you, but if I have to excavate another goddamned hunk of thick cut bacon from between my crowns, I may do something I regret. And I’m not talking about making an uninsured dental visit.

rucola2See, I don’t want bacon flecks in my oatmeal cookie or pork scratchings instead of tortilla chips with my guacamole. What I’d really like is to find one freakin’ New York City eatery that offers a pork-free menu item, which immediately disqualifies any place with waiters sporting suspenders, ironic glasses and dirty beards. You know the joints I mean — rough communal tables, exposed retro light bulbs, shelves made of plumbing parts, artisanal every fucking thing and that unmistakable whiff of epicurean sanctimony that clings to  the “farm to table” shingle. At the moment, this would account for roughly 95% of restaurants in the metropolis.

And FYI, kale is no better served glistening with bacon grease than straight up, or God forbid, in a salad. It’s still kale, and it still tastes like something you’d pull from the depths of a 14 year-old boy’s gym locker. But if you must put bacon in the greens, why does it have to be inch-thick slabs with the flavor and consistency of salted linoleum squares? This stuff cannot possibly be digested by normal human beings and once impacted between the teeth, the chunks fester, causing the unsuspecting diner to awaken in the middle of the night with throbbing gums, cotton mouth, a screaming colon and the unmistakable bloat that follows a meal consisting of three courses of processed pork followed by tenderloin profiteroles and fat back shooters.

I can’t stand it anymore.

If you live near, or frequent, a settlement of any size you have no doubt encountered one of these pig-mad flesh pits that serves such taste sensations as maple-lardon ice cream, pork belly speckled greens, and fat back chili. I have even seen an offering for bacon chocolate martinis. Yeah, that’s right bacon in your vodka. With chocolate. What’s next, folks? A beard and pasties on The Pieta? Steven Seagal for pope? Birkenstocks as club wear? You see where this is going. Gastric armageddon followed by complete worldwide social collapse, and I for one am glad there is hope of averting a total implosion of all we hold dear.

I’m sure you’re a swell guy, but please get that thing away from my food.

So to all you aspiring restauranteurs, here’s a news flash. It’s over. Bacon does not improve anything but eggs. It belongs on club sandwiches and BLTs in thin, crispy slices. It doesn’t make ice cream better; hot fudge does, GrapeNuts do and so do little chunks of peppermint stick candy. How come no one serves peppermint stick ice cream anymore, huh? It was so refreshing, like brushing your teeth and eating dessert all at once, and I miss it. What I will not miss, however, is sitting down to an overpriced plate of pork ten ways accompanied by the obsequious smirk that I know is hiding behind that rat’s nest of a beard.

Is it too much to hope that waiters might eventually start shaving again?

No more fracking kale!

What is all the fuss about?

Image courtesy

May I speak frankly? Thank you.

I hate kale. I mean I really, really loathe it. Even more than okra, even more than radishes.

It’s not for lack of trying it either. I have nibbled the ubiquitous superfood in salads, baked it into chips, steamed, buttered, braised and sautéed it. I’ve even tried tarting it up with spicy mango salsa, and the verdict is in, children. Kale is nasty. It tastes exactly the way I imagine soylent green would, and it smells like the inside of a teenage boy’s sneaker as it cooks, after which time the aroma of putrid cabbage lingers in the house for approximately five years. The odor has a half-life, people!

Kale stalks are tough and fiberous, the taste makes you wretch, and it returns on you, if you take my meaning. The last time I gagged some down, the flavor lingered in my mouth even after three toothbrushings, a careful flossing and Listerine rinse, and half a dozen tequila shooters with lime and salt. That is some awe-inspiring staying power.

Yeah yeah yeah, I know, it’s got every freakin’ vitamin and nutrient in the world and probably a bunch that haven’t even been discovered yet. There’s folic acid and protein in the leaves, it regulates your digestion, conquers cancer and prevents every disease known to man, as well as — again — some horrible afflictions no one has even come down with, let alone found a cure for, as yet. It’s downright miraculous.

Get your lard on.
Image courtesy

Which is why, I suppose, it is currently turning up on every goddamned plate in every overpriced, artisanal restaurant in New York City, more often than not accompanied by pork belly, lardons, thick cut bacon or some other equally fatty, heavily smoked, thoroughly undigestible subcutaneous pork product. By the time the dynamic duo of leaves like wire brushes and jagged nuggets of semi-masticated pork scratchings has blazed a trail through your digestive tract, you will be keenly aware of having eaten something, let me assure you. And don’t even get me started on what it takes to extract the remnants of same from between your crowns. A little after dinner fracking, anyone?

So I’m drawing a line in the sand — think of me as the Gaddafi of roughage. There will be no more kale in the Slattern’s culinary realm. I will not buy it in the pathetic hope that I will find an appetizing and savory way to cook it. If it appears as a side dish for a $25 entrée, I will insist on extra cauliflower gratin instead. And if someone offers me a green smoothie saying, “You’ll never guess what’s in this!” they’d best be prepared to wear it.

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Think you’ve got the stomach for even more semi-coherent ranting? I’m not so sure, but if you’re game, why not check out these other posts? Welcome to the monkey house, folks.

How ’bout some cheese with those fries?

Sunday Morning: Of buttermilk and headaches

Fear and loathing at the Fairway

Girls’ night with Martha

In the event this is all too much, may I suggest you take a gander at some of the blogs listed right over there in the sidebar? All are excellent and bear the Slattern’s seal of approval.

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