As I briefly mentioned earlier, I stopped keeping kosher this summer while I was in Israel. It’s a long story. But since then, I’ve been enjoying all kinds of previously forbidden delights, from chicken parmesan (delicious) to pasta with mussels (delicious) to fast food cheeseburgers (unbelievably greasy and really not all that great).And so far, the thrill of new experiences has been completely worth the slight guilty pang I feel every time I take a bite of sausage or sprinkle cheese onto my meatballs.
Over spring break, I took a big step into the world of rabbinical disapproval: I tried to cook some bacon. I was staying in a cabin with a big group of friends, and one morning three of us volunteered to cook breakfast for everyone — Rachel started frying eggs, Rita took charge of the pancakes, and all that was left for me was a giant package of frozen strips of breakfast pig meat. Not my first choice, but hey, a learning experience!
The rashers (is that the right word? does that only apply to sausage?) of bacon were all stuck together, so I put the whole big clump directly on the grill, hoping the heat would help separate them. After a few minutes, I managed to scrape one or two strips off with a fork, by which point I had succeeded in burning the bottom edge of every other piece of bacon. I flipped the rest of the clump over so as to burn the other edge, then shredded two more strips in an attempt to separate them from the group.
Meanwhile, the two strips I’d managed to pry off the frozen mass were sizzling pitifully off to the side, shriveling quickly into dried-up slices with one edge blackened and the other undercooked. I asked Rachel, who is also Jewish, if she thought they were done. She shrugged and replied, “I like my bacon burned.” Rita, being vegetarian, was no help either.
Eventually the bacon was rescued by Ned, a Christian from Louisiana, who also had the good sense to pour hot water over the next package before placing its contents on the grill. I’d intended to try cooking octopus when I move off campus this summer, but if horrendously botched meals are God’s punishment for my sins, maybe I should just stick with some nice matzoh ball soup for a while.