Could any food name excite more disgust? Yet bacon jam is what my friend and neighbor turned up with at my door three weeks ago. He said it was “amazing,” but he’s always saying something or someone is amazing. If they’re not amazing, they’re awesome. I must say he’s an excellent cook, but his tastes are another matter.
Adam broached the subject in an October 26 email.
Over the weekend, I made Bacon Apple jam. It’s savory and sweet. Want to try a jar? I have a lot. If so, I’ll bring it by tomorrow.
Bacon and apple in one jam? I don’t know, Adam. Have you had such a thing before?
To which Adam wrote:
I have to say, it’s pretty fucking good. Lisa [his wife] gave me skeptical wife eyes, but when we had it on egg sandwiches for lunch today I got the thumbs up.
I’ve since wondered if “pretty fucking good” means that “amazing” and “awesome” in Adam’s world are what in mine would be “okay.”
After that email, I felt obligated as a friend to try something closer in my imagination to dung than food. Still, I thought I should prepare Adam for disappointment:
Okay, give us a small jar. We’ll try it. But don’t risk having a lot go to waste. The whole idea has me thinking “paper bag.” If it’s good, you’ll have opened up a whole new world for us. If it isn’t, a vivid description is going on my blog, along with the real name, address and phone number of the perpetrator.
Let me elaborate on why even the name repelled me. I grew up in a country, England, where jam is all about fruit and sugar. I don’t even like the American usage of “jelly” for jam. Jelly is something I tolerate, if I must, while a fine jam is to be savored. Jam has even less to do with pigs, never mind dead pigs, never mind the parts of pigs that we predatory humans consume. With some misgivings, recognizing my vegetarian friends are superior human beings, I do enjoy the occasional slab of bacon. But placing “bacon” and “jam” in the same name for an allegedly edible substance is abhorrent. Would I pour sugar on a steak? Would I put a lamb chop in the middle of an ice cream cone? No, and no.
It took my wife, Laura, and me a week to carry out the bacon jam test. We spread it on slices of bread and ate slowly. Well, I ate slowly, reluctantly. The texture was bacon fat side-by-side with apple jam, as was the taste. The aftertaste was of bacon fat that clung to my esophagus for hours.
Demonstrating incredible restraint, I emailed the assessment to Adam:
We finally had some last night. Laura loves it. Me? Not so much. But I appreciate the thought as much as Laura enjoyed devouring it.
Adam replied simply: “I look forward to the blog post.”
I would have dropped it at that, but he won’t let up. Just yesterday, more than two weeks later, he emailed:
Hey…Where’s my bacon jam blog post? I’ve been checking to see how you obliterate me, but nothing yet.
I can’t decipher his motives. Is he taunting me? Does he want to set up a mano-a-mano fist fight so that his five-year-old daughter can admire his courage, if not necessarily his brawling skills?
Not knowing his motives and certainly not trusting them, I’m posting this summary as a record to show I did everything I could to discourage him from inflicting his concoction on me and then to dampen expectations of gratitude.
Now the world knows, Adam. Out of lingering but severely tested friendship, I’m still not subjecting you to harassing calls and visits, hence my withholding your contact details, but if my fears are met, they will be the least of the consequences for you.
What I still don’t understand is how two cultivated and normally honest women, my wife and his, could claim they enjoyed bacon jam. Clearly, like our vegetarian friends, they are better human beings than I. Indeed, as I think about this post, I worry I’ll be the one who comes off badly. In football, it isn’t the taunter who gets penalized, but the player who reacts. Life is like that.