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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bacon of the Month club may sate holiday cravings

Ted Anthony Associated Press

Not long ago, my wife came walking into the kitchen and found me at the sink with my back to her. I glanced furtively over but didn’t turn around. “You’re eating the bacon raw again, aren’t you?” she said.

I had no choice but to ‘fess up. Besides, it’s not really raw; it’s cured and smoked, after all. But I couldn’t help myself. I’m a bacon fanatic, and this was no ordinary bacon. It was Bacon of the Month Club bacon, and I simply couldn’t wait.

If you’re weary of buying ties and sweaters and golf accessories as gifts this time of year, here’s an idea you probably never dreamed existed: a one-year subscription to the Bacon of the Month Club ($140 plus shipping). Mine was purchased for me by my wife, who either loves me dearly or wants to kill me, all slow and greasy-like. The only reason I suspect the former is because she can match my bacon inhalation, strip for succulent strip.

Assuming you’re not a vegetarian, can you imagine anything better? Each month, a pound of small-smokehouse bacon (“artisan bacon,” they call it, summoning images of honest Southern workers toiling over tables of carefully selected pigmeat) arrives well-cured and packed in dry ice at your doorstep. From there, it’s up to you to tear it open, fry it, drain the grease from it (or not) and enjoy it in all its glorious roundhouse flavor.

This innovative if cardiac- unfriendly service comes courtesy of the Grateful Palate, a company that’s doing God’s work (assuming your God is neither Jewish nor Muslim) by procuring and purveying perfect pork products from around the land. The company is not shy about its promotion: It calls club membership “the go-to gift” for someone “who has everything or who has very little.”

Bacon is enjoying a renaissance of sorts in recent years, though it never really went away. The thin, brine- soaked supermarket variety just isn’t cutting it anymore. And in a world where brand identity – and thus product distinctiveness – sometimes seems ever-narrowing, it’s refreshing to see cured, smoked hog going in the direction of microbrewed beers. Diversity, it turns out, is delicious.

My first year of membership, my selections included a perfect apple-smoked bacon from Nodine’s Smokehouse in Torrington, Conn., and an even more perfect hickory-smoked, honey-cured bacon from Swiss Meats in Hermann, Mo. One bacon whose name I can’t remember, alas, was cured with cinnamon, of all things, and turned out to be one of the most memorable entries – not sweet at all, but delightfully piquant. That was the one I was caught eating raw.

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