3.12.09

Amateur Science

Did you know that Alton Brown's Good Eats episodes are on You Tube? It's one of our go-to entertainment resources in a TV free household. (We're not convicted or anything, just never got a converter box.)

Anyway, Alton and the Joy of Cooking are kind of the ultimate authorities on Cooking (ha--On Cooking is a culinary school textbook). But seriously, folks, no more parenthesis. I think I use them like Emily of New Moon used italics.

Did I digress? I think so. Last night, we pulled up YouTube and settled in for an episode on--making your own bacon! He made it look so do-able and made a year's worth in one batch. We are inspired and spent some time looking at instructions for building a cold smoker. With a butcher nearby and the fun of jerry-rigging a cold smoker, I think we are going to be making and perhaps even giving some homemade bacon soon!

One thing that appealed to me is that Alton used a nitrite-free recipe. I've been hearing a little bit about how bacon and, yes, lard, can be good for you, but there are concerns about the use of sodium nitrite, aka "pink salt". Thank you so much, Sally Fallon.

I googled sodium nitrite and found that one of it's uses is is to prevent botulism in pork products. That's noble, I mean, who wants botulism? (except in our lips, right? Dang, a parenthesis) The problem seems to be that when it is heated carcinogens can be produced. Then, I read something about ascorbic acid being added to counteract the carcinogens with it's antioxidant powers. So, use the nitrite to prevent botulism but you might get cancer later . . . that's what sounds like a "short-term gain, long term loss" to me.

Anyway, I'm not a scientist and there's an article on Wikipedia if you want more information.

Michael Scott:
"Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject, so you know you are getting the best possible information."