I can’t write every day. I am ashamed to admit it, but there it is. I know that Trollope got up at 5 a.m. and penned 400 words before he headed off to run the English post office (he also invented the mailbox, in his spare time) and that Grisham wrote on the train on his way to work as a lawyer and plenty of other writers (including great former teachers of mine) insist you have to sit down at the same time every day in front of a blank screen/sheet if you want to consider yourself a serious writer. But I just can’t.
I’m like my Dad that way. I remember how grouchy he was when he couldn’t write. He would devour magazines — anything from Science to People. He would watch crap TV and complain about it. He would sleep all day. And then when he was writing, reclining on his beat up brown couch, his hand flying over the yellow legal pads he preferred (he never did learn how to type), he would seem to be in a trance of creativity.
Fans of awkward transitions will remember that we know next to nothing about Francis Bacon’s writing habits (although we do know he died trying to discover if you could preserve meat by freezing it), but we can enjoy the delectable flesh of the swine that he shares his name with.
Attention Vegans: Read no further. This recipe contains bacon. And bacon fat! In the spirit of Fried Chicken Salad, I give you, bacon, lettuce, and tomato salad. Two of those things are salad items to begin with. Add Russian dressing to your B, L, and T and toast a couple of slabs of bread and apply a little bacon fat to them — and toast lightly again…And you have a BLT experience that puts the emphasis on the salad. Mostly.
I just discovered Trader Joe’s onion rye bread and I love it — especially smeared with bacon fat. It’s sort of like an inside-out bialy. Loads of onion not just a tiny bit that falls off in the toaster, never to be seen again. For the record, I don’t often smear things with bacon fat but I had a feeling it would be so amazing on that onion rye I couldn’t resist. As a child, I would always hear about chicken fat smeared toast from my old Jewish parents and think, “Gross.” Then, one night at Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse, one of the few remaining Jewish things on the Lower East Side, I noticed that they had maple syrup pitchers on the tables, filled with something yellow and oily. It was chicken fat aka schmaltz! Bingo! My long-lost heritage reclaimed.
Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Salad with Onion-Rye Toasts
2 or 3 slices of good bacon, cooked to your preference
2 or 3 cups of lettuce (I used butter but romaine would be better — or best? Iceberg!)
3 tablespoons of ketchup
2 tablespoons of mayo
1 good-sized tomato or a couple of smaller ones — chopped
2 pieces of toasted rye
Fry the bacon and reserve the fat for later. Combine the salad ingredients. Russian dressing is forgiving. Mix it before, during, after. Your choice. Spread the toast with a tiny bit of reserved fat and re-toast lightly. Enjoy.