MAN’S WORLD: The perfect bacon sarnie

MYSTERY: What is that white stuff?

MYSTERY: What is that white stuff?

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I’ve been a dad for 21 years – in that time I’ve tried to give my children the benefit of my accumulated knowledge and wisdom. And now it’s time to share it with the world.

I’ve been a dad for 21 years – in that time I’ve tried to give my children the benefit of my accumulated knowledge and wisdom. And now it’s time to share it with the world.

There’s one subject on which I am an absolute authority.

Blogging?

Well yes, surely the invitation to become Professor of Blogging and Social Media Sciences at one of our leading universities must be in the post by now. But there’s one more subject where I excel: where my children have had the chance to learn at the feet – or more correctly, the grill – of a master.

I refer – of course – to the bacon sandwich.

There’s no finer food on earth. Keep your truffles, your Dom Perignon, your caviar. If Heaven exists, the café serves bacon sandwiches. Always assuming they’re made the right way…

Let’s begin with the bacon. And if you think supermarket bacon is adequate for a bacon sandwich, please don’t worry. There is a special corner of Hell reserved just for you. And sadly, it’s crowded.

How do you know when you’ve done a good job as a dad? Simple. It’s when this exchange occurs in your kitchen.

“Where’s the bacon from, dad?”

“The butchers, same as it always is.”

“Good, because if it’s from the supermarket I’m not eating it.”

Supermarket bacon may be cheap, but as Sybil Fawlty reminds us, why is it cheap? Because it’s no damn good. Specifically – as my youngest son has noticed – strange substances come leaking out when it’s cooked. Just what is that white foam? Is it in any way related to the white foam that washes up on the beach? Because they sure look the same…

So the bacon must come from a proper butcher.

In my case it comes from Steve.

I hope my children have learned the lesson by now: there are few investments in this life that pay better dividends than making friends with a proper butcher.

Every Saturday morning I wander into Steve’s shop after I’ve walked the dog.

A bit of putting the world to rights and then it’s down to business. “Twelve should do it this week…”

And Steve slices a dozen rashers of finest back bacon.

It is beyond excellent. Nothing seeps out of it when it’s grilled. It doesn’t shrink by 50 per cent when it goes within three feet of a flame. It’s thick. And tasty…

But however good the bacon, it needs an accomplice.

Brown sauce did you say? If you could just queue up over there. The nice man with the horns and the trident will take care of you.

A bacon sandwich needs tomatoes. And thanks to my wife, we’ve taken that department to a new level.

Jane’s excelled herself this year. Is there a greater joy in life than wandering down the garden and picking and eating a fresh tomato?

There is, but only just. Putting it in your bacon butty.

Once upon a time we used plum tomatoes – obviously with the stalk cut out of them – but get half a dozen freshly picked tomatoes, chop them in half, cut the hard bits out, throw them in a small pan – no oil, no nothing – and just let them simmer until they’re soft.

Awesome.

Meanwhile, you’re buttering the bread.

White oven bottoms. Soft, yielding, perfect.

Exactly the right ratio of bread to bacon and tomato.

I’ll allow French bread in an emergency and my wife has a weakness for muffins – but nothing beats an oven bottom.

Chop ’em in half – you don’t want to appear completely uncouth – pour yourself a cup of proper coffee, and for five minutes the world is a perfect place…