My good pal Kristin and I rewarded ourselves after a long run Saturday with a mini road trip to a bacon and wine tasting at a small ma and pop meat market outside of the city. At first people were all, "Bacon and WINE? What?" And then they remembered OH RIGHT, BACON and began drooling with me. Because, really, can you go wrong with bacon? Ever? You can pair that slice of magical meat with ice cream and I'd be on board. BECAUSE IT'S BACON. And let's not get me started on wine. You can just pour wine on my head and I'd be happy.
So we get to the meat shop, and the whole situation is really quite quaint. A couple tables set up with varied bacon appetizers (hey-o, bacon caramel corn) and wine samples, as well as different kinds of bacon. The idea of "jowl bacon" kind of gave me pause, but, you know, BACON. So I ate it anyway. Yes, it was delicious. Also butt bacon and Canadian bacon and beef bacon and peppered bacon. Mmm, BACON BACON BACON.
The sweet, little meat shop man asked the handful of us in attendance if we wanted a tour of the bacon processing area.
Here's the thing. I like bacon. In fact, that's obviously an understatement. But I'm not so excited about where it comes from. Like, not at all. Pigs are adorable. Oink, oink, etc. But of course I opted in for the tour, anyway. BECAUSE FUN! BACON!
The back room was all sterile and stainless steel-ed and full of scary equipment whose function I can only imagine in my nightmares. But it was void of pig entrails and things, so WHEW! [wipes sweat from brow] However, on one of the tables lay a slab of meat. "Pig belly," they called it.
Meat Man showed us the way he trims the skin off the slab of pig belly, and you know, it wasn't that gross. It kind of just looked like a slab of steak. I like steak. It's cool.
Other Meat Man opens up a door and out he drags half a hog carcass hanging on a hook. A HOG. CARCASS. ON A HOOK. Are you processing this in your mind? A skinless, headless, half-a-body-less HOG CARCASS hanging ON A HOOK. My first thought was of my sweet, little vegetarian bestie who would have absolutely lost her shit right there on the floor had she been there. Of course, she'd never have been there because BACON PROCESSING PLANT. My second thought was, "Oh shit."
It was pretty disgusting. All cleaned out and gutted out and headless. Meat Man described the areas that are used for bacon and all other pork products as I made a mental check list of the pork products I'M NEVER EATING AGAIN BECAUSE OMG CARCASS.
"Here, take a peek in here. It's our cooler," he said, motioning inside a doorway.
So I peeked.
AND THE COOLER WAS FULL OF HALVED, HEADLESS HOGS AND COWS HANGING ON HOOKS.
OK, so I didn't really collapse or even break a sweat, BUT YOU GUYS. THE HORROR. Moo.
So we finished the tour after the mean men explained the rest of the bacon processing and smoking process, and we were led back into the lobby where we were again encouraged to eat the tasty bacon appetizers, and all I could think of was HOG CARCASS. I was significantly more hesitant about eating the peppered bacon this time, having known EXACTLY where it came from. But I nibbled nonetheless, trying instead to think of rainbows and chocolate.
For those of you who might think bacon is simply delivered by the magical bacon fairy, your assumption would be false. I'm very sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Do your best to recover from the horror as best you can. It's hard, I know.
Oh. And for the record, the meat market does this with the ground pork they keep on display, just to, you know, make you feel even better about your pork sausage. You're welcome: