In WITF's Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

Review - Bacon 24/7: Recipes for Curing, Smoking and Eating

Written by Chef Donna Desfor | Mar 3, 2017 9:00 AM
Bacon 24 7_Cover.jpg

 

Bacon 24/7:  Recipes for Curing, Smoking and Eating, by Theresa Gilliam.  Copyright © 2013 Our Little Book Company.  Published by The Countryman Press.  Photographs copyright © 2013 Armstrong Pitts Studios.

Our Summary:

Bacon, despite its recent cult-like status, is a common ingredient in much of classic and contemporary cooking.  In Bacon 24/7 Author Theresa Gilliam captures our attention with recipes to take you from dawn to dark that naturally contain bacon in the list of ingredients.  Just when you think this book is a bit too pedestrian to satisfy your love for this ingredient, she throws in a surprising twist (Bacon Redeye Gravy) or a new-fangled idea (Bacon Manhattan, anyone?) that makes you wonder why you ever doubted the value of this book.

What you need to know:

Get itBacon 24/7:  Recipes for Curing, Smoking and Eating, by Theresa Gilliam. Copyright © 2013 Our Little Book Company. Published by The Countryman Press.  Photographs copyright © 2013 Armstrong Pitts Studios. January 6, 2014. Hardcover $22.95. (Amazon: $17.09; Kindle: $9.99)

See it:  178 pages with at least one color photo of each finished recipe.  A well-curated table of contents divided by the parts of a day: Dawn, Midday, Dusk, and Dark.  The book opens with a smart but concise primer on bacon: Bacon 101, and roughly 12 pages on curing and smoking bacon, clarifying its fat, and making pie crust with it. 

Make it:  61 recipes plus a few component recipes for dressings and infused butter. To hear more about our community's experiences with recipes from this cookbook, please tune in to Now That's a Mouthful - WITF's food and cooking podcast.

Our Review:

When it comes to bacon it seems there need be no introduction.  Author Theresa Gilliam, in less than 10 sentences opens her book, Bacon 24/7, and then dives right into a short, but thorough primer on bacon.  Before tackling the recipes needed to get you through the day, Gilliam teaches you how to cure and smoke your own bacon, and then clarify the bacon fat.  An intriguing option for butter or oil!  Not bad for the first 27 pages of a book.

Admittedly, once you pass Clarified Bacon Fat, the recipes seem to be a bit pedestrian. Of course, you'd use bacon in a strata.  Who hasn't looked at a French cookbook and seen a recipe for Alsatian Tart or Quiche LorraineBacon-wrapped Scallops or -Beef Tenderloin?  Expected.  Then it happens.  You realize that in between these very good, very classic bacon recipes are little nods toward what bacon has become - an inspired ingredient worthy of contemporary cult status.  You're instantly hooked on the idea of Bacon Ricotta Corn Cakes, or a Bacon and Apple Grilled Cheese Panini

The further you read in Bacon 24/7 the more you want to cook the sweet and savory combination in Teriyaki Salmon Skewers with Bacon and Pineapple or cook up a batch of Onion and Bacon Jam.  And just in case you thought her creativity was exhausted, Gilliam closes the book with a Bacon Manhattan, made by infusing bourbon with...wait for it... Clarified Bacon Fat.  Of course, you must nosh when you drink, so she's added a handful of recipes, both classic and whimsical, whether you're hungry for something savory or a little bite of sweet.

Bacon 24/7 unquestionably has a split personality, which you will come to appreciate.  Gilliam's recipes wrap in all the know-how that allows you to be successful with classic-but-challenging-recipes like pasta carbonara or gougères (cheese puffs) and still adds in enough modern and fun recipes that sound difficult-but-doable like Bacon Buttermilk Caramels.  If you like bacon, and you like to cook, you'll be glad to have so many options in one book.

Published in In witfs Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

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