22 December 2014

Bacon Cat

My cat smells like bacon.
Bacon Cat

I noticed this when I woke up early in the middle of the night, following a dinner party, with my nose buried in her fur. She smelled as though she’d just worked the late shift at a diner.

I nudged her out of the way, and rolled onto my pillow which also smelled like bacon. As did the towels in the bathroom, the curtains, my entire wardrobe, and my hair. Upon further inspection the smell of bacon had permeated every square inch of our little bungalow – and even the sofa was starting to look like a giant ham. While that may be tantalizing to some, I haven’t intentionally eaten bacon since 1995 and the smell was making me sick.

Bacon Dog & Bacon Sheets
But that’s the thing about Christmas! One cooks with wild abandon and does things they wouldn’t normally do. A few months ago I was in a restaurant and had a bite of Jim’s ‘Brussels Sprouts Slaw’. It was one of the best things I’d ever had and I almost heard trumpets going off as I ate. Of course the waiter mentioned that the delicious crispy bits were pancetta, rather than the caramelized shallots I’d expected, and I put down my fork with great sadness.

But that did not stop me making the same dish for a potluck dinner for 15 on the weekend. Even though I couldn’t eat it – I wanted to make the best thing ever. Not only do I not eat bacon, I don’t normally cook with it. So knowing that it had to be extra crispy - I filled three frying pans full of sliced pancetta, and set the stove to high. Let the games begin!

Five minutes later the kitchen was filled with smoke, and seven minutes later the bacon smog had filled the rest of the house. The cats looked at me in confusion, and Jed was walking around inhaling the new dog–approved ‘Bacon Air Freshener’, which he seemed to be enjoying. Back in the kitchen my eyes were stinging, and I had a lung full of pig smoke.

My Brussels sprouts were eventually served in my friend’s lovely kitchen, and everyone said they were delicious. (Or maybe they were just inhaling me, and I smelled delicious). Either way, it was too much for me and I practically dove into the cauliflower risotto in relief.

Two days have passed. Windows have been left open, the bed has been changed, and some clothes have gone through the washer. Jed has rolled around in the dirt, and much to his chagrin, smells once again like a basset hound.

Unfortunately for our little cat, she lives indoors, and can’t be aired out. Nor is she washable. So for the next while, she is our bacon cat. And from this I’ve learned my  lesson and written a little Christmas poem:

Don’t cook outside your comfort zone,
Don’t cook foods you can’t eat.
Keep the burners nice and low
lest kitty smells more savoury, than sweet.