The Perfect Bacon Bowl™

“Everything tastes better in a bacon bowl!”

Or so says the print on the Perfect Bacon Bowl™ box. You’ve probably seen this thing on late-night TV ads: You basically mold some bacon over a scoop-like thing, pop it into the microwave or oven, and after a few minutes, you have weird-looking, bowl-shaped bacon. Well, as a gag gift, my parents gave me one for Christmas. (Well, I’m telling myself it was a gag gift, at least.)

Because I love bacon, and because, clearly, I have way too much time on my hands, I decided to give it a try. I am impatient, so I went the microwave route. And I scanned the instructions before starting, including the list of 15 “important safety instructions,” such as “Do not expose the Perfect Bacon Bowl™ to temperatures that exceed 375 degrees,” and “If the Perfect Bacon Bowl™ begins to growl, slowly back away.”

OK, I made the second one up. But you get the idea — why would I even need instructions for something so simple? That’s why I scanned and didn’t read. And that’s why I got my first bacon bowl wrong.

You see, first of all, you “MUST” (it is capitalized in the instructions) apply non-stick cooking spray to the bacon bowl mold by hand, using a paper towel. Then you cut a piece of bacon in half (I used scissors), placing both halves across the top of the mold. After that, you wrap two full pieces of bacon around the sides of the mold.

As I watched it begin to cook, I actually caught myself giggling at the notion that I was taking the time to do this. But when my first, tiny, little bowl came out of the microwave, I have to admit I was a little bit proud of it. Problem is, I used only one piece of bacon for the perimeter (should have read more closely), and my bacon bowl had shriveled into little more than a scoop — like a bacon cracker or something. Oops.

So, what do you use a bacon bowl for? My girlfriend suggested eating potato soup out of one, but the truth is, they are so tiny that you’d have to make five or six of them to even get full. And I seriously doubt any vessel made of a couple of strips of bacon is waterproof.

The answer? Macaroni and cheese. It’s gooey, but not runny enough to seep through any cracks in the bacon. I crunched away, and in about two tasty bites, it was gone. It was good — I mean, it’s mac and cheese served inside bacon. How could it not be good? But I was still starving. So, I made another, and this time (realizing my mistake once I saw how my first one shriveled away) I used two strips of bacon instead of just one as a border.

This one shriveled some, but maintained a better foundation, thanks to the added thickness. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I cooked it the same amount of time (two and a half minutes, per the instructions, which I finally read carefully) and it wasn’t quite enough. So, instead of a crunchy, salty, smoky bowl-ish thing to hold my macaroni, I got a semi-tough and chewy, salty, smoky bowl-ish thing to hold my macaroni.

Oh, it still tasted good, but as soon as I bit into it the first time and tried to pull away, the whole thing crumpled in my hand, and macaroni fell all over the plate. Tasted good, yes, but it was still a bit of an annoying mess. And that doesn’t even address the excess grease you’re stuck dealing with afterward.

I can’t say I was disappointed by the Perfect Bacon Bowl™ — actually, it’s a fun idea and made for a funny gift. But you can only make them one at a time in a microwave oven. And if you try making them in a conventional oven (which, admittedly, probably would yield better results), it will take 30 minutes to bake. I think this would be a fun thing for kids, but how many molds will you need to buy to keep everyone happy? And couldn’t you just turn a muffin pan upside down and wrap bacon strips around the muffin molds? That way you could cook nine at a time.

Hey, I’m not here to criticize. In fact, let me tell you about the absolute worst Perfect Bacon Bowl™ I ever ate: It was delicious. But it would probably be tastier if you could convince someone else to make it for you.