Bacon, What’s a Nice Jewish Girl to Do?

So the report is out. Bacon and other processed meats have a definitive causal link to cancer of the bowel.While the risk is small, WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer says “there is enough evidence to rank processed meats as group 1 carcinogens, because of a causal link with bowel cancer.”

What’s this Jewish girl to do? Bacon has made eating out palatable for me. I know that sounds totally strange but ever since I changed my diet, my choices when eating out with friends and colleagues have been limited. Unless I want to spend a small fortune every time I eat out at lunch (I eat out mostly weekday lunches), I order burgers (another no-no — too much red meat) or chicken, and often ask for bacon. It gives a nice flavor to the otherwise unbelievably boring slab of protein on my plate.

Remember, I don’t do a bun or cheese, and I mostly eschew any dressings except for barbecue sauce (which really is a cheat food for me), and plain olive oil with some lemon juice or balsamic, and even more rarely, red wine vinegar. It is not uncommon for my lunch to be a large white plate with a lonely piece of lettuce, some onion, sometimes tomato (which I usually don’t eat), a pickle, and the aforementioned protein.

No offense to my vegetarian friends, but when you can’t eat any grains or soy or dairy, a salad is nothing more than a bowl of lettuce and is hardly an adequate meal.

So I mostly stick to burgers and grilled chicken, or fish if the place is reputable, and a vegetable, although even those are suspect when they pre-prepare them with butter or cheese or breadcrumbs. Bacon makes my protein choice taste like something other than a slab of protein. That is more because restaurants, without their signature sauces, rubs, and other toppings, have no clue what to do with a piece of protein.

Even when I went to a lovely restaurant with my dad last year, although the menu had a plethora of beautiful sounding entrees and small plate options, they could offer me only two items, a piece of salmon or a filet. The salmon was well-prepared and delicious, and I was grateful that the chef could at least make me that, but really, with a large menu there were only two items they could offer me?  I thought about some veggie options but I couldn’t eat any of them except for some grilled veggies because they were all otherwise pre-seasoned.  Delicious notwithstanding, dinner was not cheap and I was hungry after I was done. They didn’t even have plain fruit to eat for dessert.

Also notice that one of the items it offered was the filet, usually the most expensive item on the menu. I had the same experience with a local restaurant. I took a friend there for a birthday dinner (and had been there before the change in diet for mine as well) and all they could offer that was not pre-seasoned, pre-pre-prepared, was the filet.

So what’s a Jewish girl who loves bacon to do? I suppose eat it occasionally still but cut back.

I’ve been meaning to brown bag it more often anyhow since lunches out are getting too expensive.  Here’s a link to the article that got me thinking about this post: Kveller: Looks Like Your Jewish Mom Was Right About Bacon

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