15217172.JPG.jpgWe’ve been cooking a lot with bacon lately, so we’re delighted with The Bacon Cookbook by James Villas. Villas calls bacon “the greatest and most beloved food on earth,” and while we’re not sure we’d go that far, there are moments when we have to agree there’s nothing better.

A few things we learned about bacon:
- It’s one of the oldest meats in history; the Chinese were preserving and salting pork bellies around 1500 B.C.
- While heavy on salt and kind of high in calories, bacon has no trans fat at all. Several slices of bacon are healthier in terms of calories, salt, fat and cholesterol than a hot dog, hamburger or glazed donut.
- The firmer the fat, the less sliced bacon will curl as it cooks.

Some local sources of premium bacon:
- Kam Man Food Products: carries Chinese bacon—pig belly that is either air-cured with soy sauce, brown sugar and spices, or cured and then smoked (200 Canal Street at Mulberry, 212-571-0330).
- Schaller & Weber: carries Hungarian rib bacon, Irish back bacon and Black forest regular and double-smoked bacon (1654 2nd Ave at 86th Street, 212-879-3047).
- D’Artagnan: carries domestic artisanal bacons, pancetta, nitrate-free smoked bacon and more (Newark, NJ, 800-327-8246).
- Flying Pigs Farm: carries Canadian-style bacon produced from special heritage hogs, smoked slab bacon and streaky bacon (Shushan, NY, 518-854-3844).