Wednesday, February 5, 2014


*Originally published in GMANews Online

Time was when I thought that all bacon were created equal. I arrived at the conclusion when I realized that I’ve never tasted bacon I didn’t like. To be sure, there were differences in flavor, both obvious and nuanced, but all invariably gave me the rush of endorphins that I needed to feel filled and fulfilled.

That night opened my mind to the hierarchy of bacon.

My fellow managers and I gathered for dinner to bid one of our colleagues goodbye and to celebrate the nearing end of another year. So we found ourselves in a private function room in Katre, each of us having a hard time choosing from the ample selection, and seemingly trying to outdo the other by ordering the most sinful, calorie-drenched dish on the menu. I couldn’t decide between the paella and the barbecue ribs, both of which I had enjoyed on previous occasions, so I ordered both. The ribs was as I had remembered it – the flavorful meat, glazed with barbecue sauce and with the right trimming of fat to send me into a frenzy, was clinging precariously to the bone, and gave absolutely no resistance when poked with a knife. The paella, however, was a disappointment. The rice I had fallen in love with – not the traditional Arborio, but a long-grained, chewy variety whose name now escapes me but whose texture and flavor left an indelible impression – had been replaced with couscous, which, in my view, did not provide enough surface for the proper coating of spices in the paella. I nursed my paella failure by licking every sliver of meat off the rib bones.

I thought myself satisfied, until Bambi, wife of one of our officers, graciously offered me a slice of Angus bacon from her husband’s plate. One slice and one big bite later, I must have blown a synapse because suddenly all I could manage was a long, emphatic Mmmmmmmm. Dingdong, who was also offered a taste, at least proved to have more resilient neuron junctions and managed to say, “Panalo!” In a conspiracy to have at least one more taste, Dingdong and I ordered Angus bacon for Perl who called to say he was arriving late. So taste it one more time we did, and again my vocabulary was reduced to that of a one-year-old’s.

I vowed that night that I will be back. I will have a serving of Angus bacon all to myself, chew the meat and fat with equal passion, and pay the chef the best compliment of all – a clean plate. Now you know where to find me next.

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