Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I used to go to a nearby ag school to get meat on the cheap.

Because of their animal and meat sciences curricula, I could get decent selections of what I presume were semester projects at reasonable prices. Sometimes I could even get eggs.

A buddy of mine is still in grad school at said college, so I asked him one time before I went to visit to pick me up a number of things. One of the items he got was an eight pound slab of bacon. I wanted to be able to slice it up myself, or do other things with it that don't require thin strips of cured pork. It's extra work, but for the price and the novel culinary opportunities, I thought it'd be worth it.

I'd gotten a smaller one in the past, and I discovered that these slabs sometimes come with a nigh-inedible rind that should be removed before consuming. I neglected to remove the rind from that first slab, hoping it would cook down, but what I ended up doing was making a series of BLTs with extra-crisp meat that I could just break the rind off of, since I'd done so much slicing through that annoyingly tough stuff (yeah, I know, what was I thinking?) that doing a second round of dissecting just seemed an unbearable chore.

I asked my buddy to try to get one of the slabs that didn't have the rind, but no such luck. When I picked it up, there it was. Oh well. At least now I knew not to try to eat it.

What I still didn't know, though, was what the rind was. I figured it was just some subdermal layer of connective tissue, some intramuscular tendonlike membrane or something. Turns out I was wrong.

It was skin. You know what made it obvious to this non-biologist, non-farmer?


In retrospect I'm surprised I wasn't more revolted, but after ten or fifteen minutes with a hand cheese slicer, the skin was gone, and I now had mostly innocuous-looking one pound bricks of bacon.


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