Monday, April 26, 2010

Spencer's Jolly Posh

I was fortunate enough recently to get tickets and attend Baconfest Chicago 2010. I got to indulge in all sorts of porcine deliciousness, and as the event was winding down, me, The Sadie, and our friend Ally realized that we'd spent the majority of our time in the tasting area and the bar.

This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, as we made new friends and were able to devour leftover bacon from The Fifty/50 and it was delicious!

But we realized that we were missing out on the vendors, who brought the gamut of bacon products from actual bacon to perfume and lip balm. So we hustled downstairs to the vendor area, and began looking around as most of the folks were packing up to go home.

As we’re walking around, we come across a plate of delicious British-style bacon, and another full of rounds of bangers. Speaking with the owners-proprietors (Nicholas and Connie Spencer) we learned it was a hunger for a taste of home that drove Nicholas to begin recreating the classic tastes of British cured and encased meats, and as of now he has three products: Traditional Pork Bangers, Pork and Herb Bangers, and Traditional Dry-Cured Back Bacon.

What we in the U.S. consider bacon differs a bit from the British breakfast meat. Since U.S. bacon is cut and cured from the belly of the hog, the British generally refer to it as “streaky bacon”. British style back bacon is taken, as the name implies, from the back of the hog and includes the tenderloin and quite a bit less fat, though there is enough for that lip smacking unctuousness we all know and love.

Nicholas slipped me a sample of the back bacon to take home, and a couple of days ago for Saturday morning breakfast I broke out the pack and the frying pan along with the notepad and camera.

Simple packaging, vacuum-sealed, containing fruit of the swine!

Pre-cooked: Grassy aroma, beautiful translucent pink color.

Fresh in the pan!

About ready to serve!

I found Spencer's to have a nice rich pork flavor, less bacony. It's very light on the salt, and no smoke at all, but there's a delicious flavor that’s like a nice subtle pork chop. The flavor is also redolent of Virginia country hams. Which makes sense as Virginia was an English colony.

Definitely serve it as part of an English-style breakfast, or go Southern-style on some buttermilk soda biscuits with fresh butter and preserves.

You can find Spencer's online @, and you can purchase their products at Provenance Food and Wine (2528 N. California, and 2312 W. Leland)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Time for a Change.


That's what the scale claimed this morning after I distinctly heard it go "umph!".


There's no getting around it: I have gotten too fat and out of shape.

Folks tell me that I carry my weight well, and that I don't look as heavy as I am.

That's nice and all, but the problem is that kind of platitude (well meaning and true it may be) only fed into my personal illusion that I was just a "big" guy. Hell, my dad's a "big guy". Of course, he's had a couple of heart attacks and a major stroke that's burned out the left side of his brain...

So, I'm going to apply that geeky and bizarrely obsessive part of my personality toward losing weight and getting back into shape. To that end, I've decided to follow these guidelines:

1. No Dieting. Aside from trying to eat better, I'm not going to go on a diet. Been down that road, and it led me here.

2. Small steps. When I graduated High School, I weighed in at 175lbs. I'm about 90% sure that I'll never see 175lbs again, but it's taken me 20 years to add 225lbs to that base. Essentially I'm walking around with another, larger, person strapped to me. So my goal is to lose weight evenly and consistently. Overall my goal is to lose 75lbs and keep it off. Once I get to 225lbs? Well, we'll see!

3. Do something positive for me everyday. I spend around 8 hours a day working for someone else. This work benefits them. I need to do something, even for a little bit, that benefits me.

4. Record my efforts daily. This way I can look back and celebrate the successes (no matter how small), and see where I might be able to improve. Computer geek that I am, I've built a day-to-day spreadsheet, and I'll update my progress here weekly.

So does that mean that I'm giving up bacon and bourbon? Hell no! I'm sure that somewhere during this life changing effort, they will be my crutch, rock, and salvation.

So if you're morbidly curious about whether I can do it or not, follow along.

Cheering is allowed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Reading Charlie Huston's The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death is like driving an old jalopy with an lovingly restored and souped up engine. It's loose and fast, eccentrically engineered and once you get the hang of it, fun as hell to ride in. The problem is that if you go too fast, you're going to wipe out and have to try all over again.

Not that this book isn't worth reading... Especially if you love pulp and noir.

View all my reviews >>

Friday, January 29, 2010

New article up at Gapers Block. Check it out, yo!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

...Aaaannnnd. We're back.

but not with food...

Conan of Cimmeria: The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian (Book 1) Conan of Cimmeria: The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian by Robert E. Howard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I remember reading all of these short stories when I was a kid growing up in a small Georgia town. Robert Howard was one of those great authors that helps folks like me escape. Even if it only was until I could do it for myself...

This collection of Howard's original works mirrors the publication of the Conan saga in all those Weird Tales pulps, so it's not a chronological tale, but it is delivered the way that Howard wanted the reader to come to know the "sullen-eyed" Cimmerian.

It's a shame that Howard doesn't get as much credit as he deserves. His writing is terse, action packed, and imminently enjoyable. I would heartily recommend any of Howard's work to lit lovers, and those of us who want to regain a measure of those childhood escapes and escapades.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Your Daily Bacon Forecast.

This week's Bacon Forecast:

Monday: Bacon Is Going To Tempt A Vegan!
Tuesday: Bacon Is Going To Liven Up a Salad!
Wednesday: Bacon Is Going To Put The "B" in BLT!
Thursday: Bacon Is Going To Shrivel!
Friday: Bacon Is Going To Put The "B" in BLT!
Saturday: Bacon Is Going To Spit Hot Grease!
Sunday: Bacon Is Going To Hang Out With Hash Browns!