the hostess manifesto.
There is something magical about the smell of bacon cooking. Will it be matched with eggs? Diced up and mixed within a salad? Potatoes fried in the drippings? or even fry a lone green tomato, a late bloomer left on the vine while its brothers were picked and eaten weeks ago?
People always wonder what would be a good hostess gift. In France, when invited over for dinner, one brings bread or flowers. One hardly brings wine (unless you know the host really well and are great friends with them, or your host is not French) because it is seen as an effrontery, an insult – as if to say, “I don’t trust what you’re serving to drink tonight, so I’ll bring my own”. But in the US, I’ve noticed that giving a hostess gift is a dying custom. We have held countless Thanksgivings where invited guests arrived unabashedly and unashamedly empty-handed, ate their fill, drank everything we have in the house, burped, then left. I keep a mental spreadsheet and put a tick next to their names. Those guests are never invited back.
And so, to get Major Super Guest Points, I think one should bring a slab of bacon. Obviously – there is a time and place for everything; for example, you wouldn’t bring a slab of bacon to your vegetarian hosts. For Christmas last year we gave my friend Charles a 5 lb slab of country bacon; and earlier this month, I gave F his very own 5 lb slab of country bacon. Selfishly and hedonistically, of course I’m thoroughly enjoying that gift myself. So as I sauté up some diced up bits of that dwindling 5 pounder slab ‘o, and as the smell wafts through our open windows across the neighborhood, I think that we, as a community, ought to pledge to give bacon as host /hostess gifts. Bacon brings great joy to me. I embrace the dishes I will fold it into, as well as fondly remember my American great aunts from Cochran, Georgia frying green tomato slices in bacon drippings saved in my grandmother’s freezer.