Breakfast Bacon

Mrs. Mary J. Lincoln - than whom there is not a more trustworthy authority upon everything pertaining to cookery - says in a sprightly chapter upon breakfast bacon:

"It has been offered me frequently in thick slices, swimming in grease, browned almost to blackness, and salt as the briny waves. You will seldom find a market-man who will take the time and pains to slice it as thin as it should be, even though they are supposed to have knives especially adapted for thin slicing. For that reason I prefer always to buy it by the strip, and slice it as needed.

"With a strong, sharp knife, begin at one end, trim off the outside strip of lean, the smoked edges and the rind, down about three or four inches; then shave off in thinnest possible slices, as thin as can be cut, and have them whole. When you come to the rind, trim off more of it if more slices are needed. Some prefer to turn the strip over and slice from the lower side down to the rind, but not dividing from the rind until sufficient is sliced. But whichever way you do it, keep the strip entire - that is, do not cut off three inches, or half a pound, and then trim and slice that amount, for the last slice will be quite difficult to hold firmly enough to slice uniformly.

"It can be cut thin much easier if very cold. By wrapping it securely in thick brown paper and changing the paper frequently, it may be kept in the refrigerator without affecting the other food.

"Have a smooth frying-pan hot, and everything else ready. Lay in the bacon and turn it frequently as it changes to the transparent stage, moving it about so all portions will cook equally. The heat should be sufficient to cook it quickly, but not to brown it. As soon as it loses the transparent appearance and begins to crisp, draw it from the liquid fat toward the edge, and you will soon tell by the way it dries off and the sound whether it is cooked enough to be crisp.

"Tilt the pan so the fat will run down away from the bacon, and let it drain thoroughly in the pan. By watching and turning it carefully, every piece will be of a uniform light and color, more or less curly, crisp as a Saratoga potato, and so dry and free from grease that it might be picked up with gloved fingers and leave no stain.

"It is less likely to brown when a little of the fat from a previous frying, or a bit of lard, is put in the pan first, as this keeps the bacon from sticking to the pan."

I seldom borrow a recipe, for two reasons: First, because I have a few old-fashioned prejudices as to the rights of proprietorship in such products; secondly, because, to be frank, I seldom find one upon which I think I could not improve in the matter of simplicity and directness. I could not write out more clearly my ideas on the subject of cutting and cooking breakfast bacon than my distinguished fellow-laborer has expressed them. I hereby grant her permission to honor me by abstracting the same number of words from any of my printed pages.