My wife and I had a (dare I say rare?) dispute this morning over whether fancy bacon should be called bacon. The cause was a charcuterie plate I put together with the help of Maddie when I was running late preparing a dinner party for two visiting teachers from Brazil. I wanted to give them a taste of Iowa, and what could be more Iowa than pork? Well, corn-fed pork anyway.
So I went to Wheatsfield Coop for some old genes pork chops from the Rosman Farm, which I cooked as Julia suggests. I realized I didn't have an Iowa starter in mind--or much time. So I picked up some charcuterie from La Quercia: prosciutto, speck, and lomo (which I had never had before).
I also picked up some Iowa cheeses: Maytag blue (of course), Maytag Munster, and from the Milton Creamery their Prairie Rose, which looks and tastes as lovely as its name sounds.
I called my daughter who came over to help clean--and to arrange the charcuterie platter. Great job, as you see. The cornichons (in a coeur à la crème mold) and Maille Dijon were necessary, the halved yellow cherry tomatoes (hot house Iowa btw) gave it color.
Now to the dispute. This morning I asked J if she liked the bacon appetizer. She didn't very much, as it turned out.
"That's not bacon!"
"Yes it is. It's Iowa Italian bacon but it's bacon."
"No, it's not smoky or salty enough to be bacon."
"We're going to agree to disagree. But next time I'll fry you up some bacon strips for the charcuterie plate."
"Good. Just make them burnt the way I like it."
Later I asked some of J's foodie colleagues, when we were at the Drake Diner, if I had a point. They unanimously agreed. With Joyce. Ah.
I suppose the only things I need to say in the way of a recipe are:
- This fed four hungry people for a big first course, with crackers and some homemade bread. It's about one ounce of each of the three meats. (The two-ounce packs of the La Quercia meats cost between five and six dollars each, which works out to about $40 a pound. Worth every penny!)
- It' takes a while to separate the paper-thin slices of meat, even though they come with thin bits of paper between each slice. So this takes 10 minutes to prepare, at least.