If you love food, you know food. There are no rules on exactly what you are supposed to know, but there are some ideas in my head and they go beyond tasting and cooking and making and dining. These ideas are about knowing – knowing the history, the characters, the places, the best and the worst of it all. If you love food, you live it even when it isn’t with you, even when you can’t taste it all, read it all, experience it all. If you love food, you know who Alice Waters is, you own the Joe Beef Cookbook, you dream of eating at Noma, you regret never having experienced El Bulli, you idolize Ruth Reichl, and still watch Anthony Bourdain. If you love food, you loved bacon when bacon was just bacon, not an infusion for scotch, not an ice cream flavor, not a fad- just bacon- old school soul-soothing fat, smoky bacon.
If you love food, you know Benton’s Bacon because you have to, because it is the best, because it is an icon, because it is a staple and a benchmark for bacon everywhere and anywhere and also because it is now a piece of food pop culture, thanks to a lot of people, but first and foremost to David Chang.
Benton’s Bacon gets made in Tennessee partially by and under the supervision of Allan Benton. The operation is small and highly curated, the bacon incredibly smoky, very salty and just memorably tasty. There really isn’t other bacon like it, which is probably why David Chang dedicated six pages to describing it in the Momofuku cookbook, and why Esquire Magazine called it the best bacon in the world, and why beautiful restaurants like Blackberry Farm feature it on their menu.
I was not on the cutting edge at all discovering Benton’s- it was there for a long time. If you haven’t had it, don’t miss it.
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