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May 15, 2013

Taste Bud: Bacon Ball for all

Bacon is the great equalizer. It is a universal pleasure. As such, this Saturday, May 18, Louisville will celebrate the third annual Bacon Ball at the historic Oxmoor Farm.

Bacon Ball committee member Rick Sneed notes that Americans consume more than 18 pounds of bacon each per year, with a total of $2 billion in sales annually. When area chefs gather this weekend to present their finest bacon-infused dishes, New York food writer Adam Sachs — a native Louisvillian — will be on hand to do the judging. He’ll also be partaking in some salty pork goodness in the process, much to his delight. We caught up with Sachs to grill him about America’s cured pork delicacy.

The Taste Bud: Adam, why do you think people love bacon so much?
Adam Sachs: What’s not to love? It’s salty, it’s fatty. You usually get some char and crispness to it. It also lends itself to sweetness. It hits all the happy notes.

TB: How often do you eat bacon?
AS: I eat bacon a lot. I eat pork products more than any doctor would recommend. At Peter Luger Steakhouse (in New York), they have an appetizer that is a slab of bacon that’s char-grilled.

TB: Why should people attend the Bacon Ball?
AS: Because it’s all this good bacon in one place. I haven’t been to Louisville in a while, but I don’t think every great chef in town and around the region get together to delight you with their bacon creations every day.

TB: Do you ever sit and yearn for bacon?
AS: Yeah. I once ran and yearned for bacon. I ran a half marathon, and the first thing I had a bite of after the marathon was a charred slab of bacon at Peter Luger’s, that steakhouse I was telling you about.

TB: If there were a bacon-themed superhero, what do you think his or her superpower would be?
AS: Umm … I think it would be the ability to go anywhere, to please everybody, to unite Jews and non-Jews — I’m Jewish, and I eat a lot of bacon — and to go into any situation and find a useful role.

TB: Do you think bacon will ever become a verb? Like, “This smoked turkey sandwich is kind of bland. I think I’ll bacon it.”
AS: It sounds too much like “baking” to me. Plus, it could get overused. There is always a chance we could over-bacon.

TB: Eggs and bacon have long been associated with one another. Do you think eggs are jealous of bacon’s sudden popularity?
AS: No. Eggs are like the sidekick. They’re not the heroes of the story, but they’re not going away.

TB: If there was one thing you haven’t seen served wrapped in bacon but would like to, what would it be?
AS: I like bacon with a lot of things. Oh, hmm … Bacon-wrapped Lipitor. Bacon-wrapped Lipitor would be a good call.

TB: What is the most disgusting thing you would consider eating if it were served wrapped in bacon?
AS: The thing I hate most in the world is a banana. Even if it was some kind of bacon-wrapped Elvis concoction, I still probably wouldn’t be able to eat it.

TB: How about a salamander?
AS: A salamander? Unless someone told me there was a problem with eating a salamander, I’d probably eat a bacon-wrapped salamander.

TB: A cicada?
AS: Sure. You’d only get to eat one every 17 years. Why waste that chance? Plus, the bacon wrap would probably quiet him down a little.

TB: A human toe?
AS: I don’t think my bacon (love) extends to cannibalism.

TB: Guy Fieri’s bikini shorts?
AS: No. I don’t want to be anywhere near his bikini shorts. Now I might have to wrap my head in bacon to rid myself of that mental image.

The Bacon Ball takes place from 7-11 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $40 per person or $70 a couple, and proceeds benefit the Louisville Visual Art Association’s Children Fine Art Classes and Open Door. Get tickets at louisvillevisualart.org.