From Publishers Weekly
In this exuberant parade of pork fat, there is no doubting the flap copy when it states that Villas, former food editor for Town & Country
, has been beguiled by bacon since he was a boy. However, Villas's statement in his preface that staunch vegetarians and non-pork-eating religious traditionalists are haunted instinctively by the sensuous, irresistible enticement is about as nutty as his Bacon-Almond Cheese Spread (made with cottage cheese and chives). Nonetheless, there's plenty good to be had in these pages. An introductory chapter explains the difference between Salt Pork and Pancetta, Paprikaspeck and Bauchspeck, and provides a thorough list of mail-order sources. Breakfast choices range from a nifty ole Bacon Scrapple to a rich French Cheese and Bacon soufflé. There's a BLT, of course, but most of his other sandwiches go to extremes with ingredients like Jamaican smoked fish. For those who sometimes eat vegetables, there is Lima Bean and Bacon Casserole, and several amalgams mix a menagerie of meats, as in the Spanish Chicken, Bacon, Meatball and Chickpea Stew. Of the six dessert recipes, bacon-wrapped figs work, but Bacon and Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles would be hard-pressed to create irresistible enticement in even the heartiest of carnivores. (Oct.)
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With his typical evocative prose, Villas, author of a dozen other cookbooks (including The Glory of Southern Cooking
), asks, "Who, under any circumstances, is not rendered almost helpless by the tantalizing sound of bacon sizzling slowly in a skillet, by the taunting backwoods aroma that permeates the air...?" He opens with a guide to "the international world of bacon" (including pancetta, lard fumé, and other relatives), which is followed by mouthwatering recipes for all courses of a meal, from Lacquered Japanese Bacon to Portuguese Egg and Bacon Pudding. There are, in fact, several other cookbooks devoted to bacon, including Sara Perry's Everything Tastes Better with Bacon, but with its irresistible recipes and wealth of information and lore, Villas's new title is recommended for most collections. (Library Journal
, October 15, 2007)
“there is nothing standard about Villas book…shows the versatility of bacon…Vegetarians beware; these dishes could prove too tempting.” (Independent, September 13, 2008)