If I had an entrepreneurial spirit (and budget), there are some natural fragrances that I think should be bottled and sold as perfumes, after-shave lotions and air fresheners. I’m not talking about floral scents like orange blossoms, gardenias or honeysuckle, which already have been marketed. I’m talking about the really good-smelling stuff like frying chicken, piping hot pizza or bacon — especially bacon.
My junior-high English teacher, Opal Hobbs, once suggested the girls in our class were wasting their money if they thought boys were attracted to sweet-smelling hand lotions and perfumes. To really get a guy’s attention, she said they should consider dabbing bacon grease behind their ears. I thought — or at least hoped — she was serious.
I love how the smell of bacon stays in our house for hours after my wife cooks breakfast. If the smell of coffee isn’t enough to get me out of bed early on Saturday mornings, the smell of frying bacon will. After breakfast, when I come back in the house from my weekend yard chores, the lingering smoky scent of bacon tempts me still, urging me to visit Five Guys or B&D Burgers for a bacon cheeseburger lunch.
Bacon is good with just about everything. There are even bacon sundaes now. I love fish, but I can’t imagine a fish sundae. Ditto for pizza sundaes. Only bacon seems to have that universal appeal to complement other flavors.
My wife uses bacon, or sometimes Hormel’s Real Bacon Bits, to season nearly all the vegetables she cooks. She’s not going to hear me complain that I’m worried about my figure (or my cholesterol). The Discovery Channel now is running a new TV show called the “United States of Bacon.” If only I had smellavision!
Bacon is a perfect condiment to any sandwich and even makes “rabbit food” salads more tolerable for those of us who prefer meaty protein. Bacon bits also are great on baked potatoes with butter, sour cream and chives. Bacon even adds a smoky flavor to soups and chowders. A filet mignon is too lean to grill without a bacon wrap. And even though many men won’t eat quiche, adding a few slices of bacon to a spinach, cheese and egg concoction certainly is an incentive.
Have you ever tried spaghetti carbonara? It’s made with bacon, cheeses and a mess of spices. My youngest daughter recently made an excellent potatoes au gratin dish with a recipe she followed from the Food Network’s “Pioneer Woman,” Ree Drummond. As much as we loved that dish, there seemed to be something missing. It was my daughter who then suggested she’d add bacon next time. I can’t imagine where she got such a notion.
Bacon usually is a staple at breakfasts, whether it’s bacon, eggs and grits or hashbrowns; bacon with pancakes or waffles; or bacon and cheese toast. When my wife makes toast, I carefully layer it with slices of colby-jack cheese and three or four slices of bacon. Umph!
A bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich is a summertime favorite. I sometimes swap spinach leaves for the lettuce and always use sun-ripened tomatoes with a sprinkling of sea salt and black pepper. Using thick-sliced bacon seems to enhance this sandwich, too.
Bacon awakens all five senses. We see and hear it as it crisps and sizzles in a pan, then we smell and savor its smoky flavor as we eat it. Even after departing this world, bacon leaves its greasy residue on our finger tips, allowing us to enjoy it again every time we scratch our noses or adjust our glasses — well, at least until we wash our hands. Bacon-scented hand lotion would be a best-seller, I think.