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It all started innocently enough. I simply wanted some bacon.

I've never been a good cook. I know some folks say they're not good cooks, but in reality, they are and their statement is the mere feigning of humility. I am not one of those folks.

I'm earnestly, honestly, truly beyond measure, not a good cook. I'm the kind of woman who treats my man like a god and gives him burnt offerings. The kind proud that many people have eaten in my kitchen and gone on to lead healthy, normal lives. The kind who is asked to bring paper products to potlucks.

As I rattle in the icebox for the package of bacon, my beloved critters gather 'round with hopeful faces. I'm grateful for their short-term memories, for they seem to have no recollection of past events near this heat source.

The bacon looks fabulous as I carefully divide it onto the pans. My, that's quite a bit of smoke pouring out of the oven and, frankly, that's pretty rude considering I haven't put the food in yet.

Smoke billows as I open the oven door, revealing the pooled remnants of a prior meal. The fire alarms go off and, thankfully, they're synced together so that all 174 of them go off simultaneously. I wave my dish towel at the nearest detector. It quits long enough for me to walk back to the stove, then goes off again.

During the 30-second intervals of silence, I add one step to my cooking process. I stick the pans in the oven, race back to the alarm to wave the towel, hustle over to set the timer, back to the alarm, over to open another window, back to wave the towel, then race to turn on another fan.

Finally, the alarms cease and the bacon is done. I'm pleased at this fact because it's usually the alarm sounding that indicates dinner is ready. I admire the added ambiance and pretend I'm about to dine in a smoky Hollywood lounge. The bacon looks perfect.

Before sitting to savor the wonder of cured meats, I notice a button labeled "Clean Oven." Hmmm, that sounds like a prudent thing to do! I press it and the range lights up, activating some sort of emergency global lockdown.

Until this moment, I was unaware that food could burn twice. Now, everything I've ever attempted to cook began to incinerate again.

Smoke detectors scream a cacophony no towel will hush. One cat shoots the length of the house and won't be seen 'til next Tuesday, while the other is making every attempt to affix himself as a hood ornament atop my head. Baxter is howling in the key of high C and shaking like Charo's maracas.

Every window is open, ceiling fans are whirling, the central fan is blasting, the oven exhaust fan is blaring, cats and dogs are hysterical, and I'm futilely waving a dish towel at the nearest alarm while shivering from the fall weather that decided to hit at the exact moment I created a wind tunnel through my tiny loft.

I reach for a slice of bacon. Mmmm, tasty. Maybe I'll fry some eggs.

NAN Our Town on 11/10/2016

Print Headline: The glory of cured meats

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