The Perfect Bacon Bowl
My fellow Americans, let us hang our collective heads in shame. I just returned from a trip to the local Wal-Mart, and guess what they now carry: bacon bowl makers.
Have you heard of the “Perfect Bacon Bowl?” I had not until today, but the box says as seen on TV, so I suppose some of the other shoppers were familiar with the item. Judging by the store’s extensive and prominently-positioned display, this product is expected to sell well.
I found a commercial for “The Perfect Bacon Bowl” on youtube. You can click the link in the previous sentence to view it for yourself, but in the event that you’re pressed for time, here is a synopsis (and please forgive me if you are vegetarian, Jewish or Muslim, because I am a life-long pork-eater, and this is one of the grossest things I have ever seen):
“The Perfect Bacon Bowl” is a dome-shaped mold. The consumer is to wrap four strips of bacon around the dome, and then bake the fleshy construction in the oven. Once the bacon is crispy, the consumer is to remove the bacon, which has been transformed into a greasy bowl.
The dome of the bacon bowl maker is encircled by a little grease moat. This will be handy if you want to reserve the renderings for, oh, I don’t know, making a roux or test-driving your new automated external defibrillator.
The commercial offers multiple serving suggestions. They include but are not limited to: eggs, a hamburger, macaroni and cheese (for the kids), ice cream with all the toppings (also for the kids), and meatloaf.
I have several problems with “The Perfect Bacon Bowl,” and they are as follows:
I’m tired of bacon as kitsch.
It is interesting, the way in which certain things become trendy. I guess Siamese cats were a thing in the 50s or 60s. When I was a kid in the 80s it was pineapples, then geese. In the early 90s there were sunflowers on everything. People would say things like, “We’re going to do the guestroom in sunflowers.” Right now it is owls, mustaches and bacon. Owls are cute, but the other two, to me, are odd trends. Why would a kid want a Pringles-style mustache on his backpack or water bottle or whatever?
The idea of bacon as decoration is the strangest of the three. It is delicious and all. It has pretty universal appeal if we’re planning a menu for a gorge-tastic brunch, but when you take it away from the breakfast table and start injecting it into novelty items, bacon band-aids, bacon-flavored dental floss and bacon-adorned pajama pants, I really have a hard time getting on board (though obviously there are many who totally get it. Go to Etsy and do a search for “bacon” in the handmade section. Look what comes up. 151 pages of merch. Yeah. Random stuff like this Christmas ornament).
The Title of the Product
I, like many of my blogging comrades, am a bit of a “word nerd” and am very conscious of the way things are phrased. As such, I am particularly annoyed that this product is called the “Perfect Bacon Bowl” rather than simply “The Bacon Bowl.” The addition of the modifier “perfect” implies that this product is a step up from an inferior item; that the American consumer has been forced, up until this point in time, to manufacture little meat ramekins with a mediocre product. This is not the case. (Is it? Tell me it isn’t.)
The Aesthetics of the Product
I think pretty serving pieces enhance a meal. If you bring store-brand cookies to a dinner party at my house, I am going to put those homely cookies on a china platter. If you have brunch with us, I will serve coffee in the 4-ounce depression glass cups that I inherited from my grandmother [even though I know it will annoy you and that you will, after having to refill your cup three times in 10 minutes, go into my kitchen and find a “real” (i.e. ugly) coffee mug].
In my girly soul, it makes sense to me when people go to the trouble of crafting a bowl from ice for a fancy party, because ice bowls are beautiful.
I cannot get behind a bowl made from fried pork flesh. It is to dishes what Buffalo Bill’s flesh suit from Silence of the Lambs is to clothing.
There is decadence, there is gluttony, and then there is the bacon bowl. I don’t know. I’m not a puritan or anything, but there is something about raising and slaughtering a pig on a factory farm, shipping it to China for processing, shipping it back to the US as bacon, forming that bacon into a bowl, filling the bowl with ice cream, and serving it to children that just feels like giving God the finger. And I know it is meant to be a novelty, but certainly there are other ways to be novel. Have those kids eat off of depression glass. Make the kids wash the dishes after they eat. Present them with only one bowl of ice cream and make them arm wrestle for it. We’re smart. We can come up with something better than dishes we handmade from pig flesh.
Now that you have taken the time to read my concerns, and in the interest on ending on a high note, let me confess there are a couple of things I rather like about the “Perfect Bacon Bowl.” One is reading the reviews on Amazon. “The bowls are too small! What a rip off!” or “I’ll use this all the time!” The other is that it’s existence makes me feel better about myself as a mother and American consumer. No matter how much junk I let me kids eat, and no matter how much unneeded stuff I purchase, there is someone out there who is even more deplorable than I. Someone who just served her son and daughter a bacon bowl, filled to the meaty brim, with mac and cheese.