I like things strong. I prefer good booze without mix, my peppers hot, and my coffee black. For some people, that’s just too ordinary, dull and boring.
I’m amazed how many people are not just putting cream and sugar in their Joe, but all kinds of flavouring. Last weekend an Arkansas man in town on business was working with me on location selling hot tubs. It was time to get some coffee and we sent him to Tim’s. The look on his face when one guys asked him to pick up a "double-double" for him was priceless. He asked what it was and I told him. Then I proceeded to tell him there was a triple -iple and a four-by-four. He looked at me like I was crazy, until I told him "I didn’t drink my coffee with that much sugar and cream, but others do."
Then I thought to myself, how dare he look at me like this. This man from the land of the deep-fried Mars bar, deep-fried Oreo cookie, and cheese curds wrapped in bacon and — you guessed it — deep fried?
Nevertheless he asked "And what did you want?" I said black coffee.
That’s it? I said yup.
"Yeah, nothing but coffee please."
I often get that. If I wanted a hot drink that tasted like cinnamon, I would order tea. If I wanted it to be creamy and taste like chocolate I would order a hot chocolate. If I wanted a hot drink with bits in it, I would get a soup. Coffee should be hot, strong and black.
At least, that’s how I thought I liked it. That was until I read about a flavour that is not only award-winning, but may actually move me from my decades old, tried and true, boring black coffee into something that has a flavour other than coffee beans.
The flavour is called "How to Win a Guy With One Sip", and it recently was so delicious, it won a $10,000 prize, and will soon be sold at a popular coffee chain in the U.S.
Eileen Gannon created this delicious drink that I’m dying to try (and quite possibly could die drinking when you hear what’s in it).
Here’s what it tastes like: pumpkin pie-spiced, bacon-flavoured coffee.
The bacon-flavoured coffee will be featured at participating Seattle's Best Coffee locations across North America, and the Seattle's Best brand is owned by Starbucks. So this may actually make it over the border!
Runners-up for the $10,000 pot included a "Café Mocha en fuego," spiced with chilli powder, cinnamon and cayenne, and a raspberry-flavoured chocolate coffee. The silver and bronze medalists don’t have me clamouring to try their experiments, but the bacon coffee is something I will test when it comes.
But why is it we love bacon so? I’m not the only one that is having a love affair with this pork delight. I’m not the only one who can weave bacon into a basket, and put it on a cookie sheet only to enjoy the crispy goodness of the salty sweet crunch of smoked side pork. (Gotta stop typing for a bit, gotta eat bacon.)
(Ate bacon.) I’ve returned to finish my column with greasy fingers. We put it on pizza (try beef and bacon, my favourite), we eat it on hamburgers, we eat it on clubhouse sandwiches. We eat bacon on a lot of foods where bacon is naturally present.
Why do we love it so? Is it a smell that reminds us of childhood? Is it the caveman or woman in us, coming alive, saying "must have that fatty food" so we can preserve ourselves for a cold winter?
Elin Roberts, a "science communication manager," recently did an interview with the UK’s Daily Telegraph discussing "the science behind bacon’s enduring appeal".
As Roberts says, "The smell of sizzling bacon in a pan is enough to tempt even the staunchest of vegetarians. There’s something deeper going on inside. It’s not just the idea of a tasty snack. There is some complex chemistry going on."
Apparently it all has to do with the Maillard reaction, or when reduced sugars react with amino acids under heat. As they do, they produce molecules that vary in flavour and smell. It’s apparently one of the reactions that produces the flavour of toasted bread, roasted coffee, chocolate and caramel. Roberts continues: "Meat is made of mostly protein and water. Inside the protein, it’s made up of building blocks we call amino acids. But also, you need some fat. Anyone who’s been on a diet knows if you take all the fat from the meat, it just doesn’t taste the same. We need some of the fat to give it the flavour. Fats mean that there are some reducing sugars in there as well. When it’s really hot — that’s when the Maillard reaction starts."
With all of those molecules in the air above your frying pan your kitchen is soon filled with the smell, that has me jump out of the sheets on a Sunday morn. This also explains why adding sugar to bacon can make it taste better: you are improving the chances that the Maillard reaction will occur between sugar and the protein in the meat. This also explains why chocolate covered bacon is so popular at state and county fairs south of the border. As is the newly launched bacon sundae at fast food chains like Burger King. The sweet, the salty and the fat, are perfect for each other. (Dang, I’m hungry again.)
Oh well, I’m not surprised in this era of ice tea beer, coconut water, and bacon flavoured potato chips... hey, wait a second, do they still make those? Oh yeah, bacon flavoured potato chips. I’m sorry, are we done this week? If I’m ever going to quit bacon, I’m gonna need the patch.
Then again, maybe a slice of bacon on my forehead will work.
Joke this Week
There is a baseball park in Illinois that is serving what is called "Baseball’s Best Burger." This is a giant burger. It’s smothered in cheese, covered in bacon and served between two Krispy Kreme glazed donuts, and it doesn’t stop there. For an extra 50 cents, you can actually have a cardiologist pop out and just punch you.
- Justine Slimmon
- Daniel Waterfield
- Ashley Rushinka
- Tina Oudie
- Agnes St. Claire
- Barb Twardoski
- Kim Jago-Drake
- Marie Musqua
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 8, 2012