When the going gets tough, isolated in a pandemic, the time comes for a chocolate chunk, bourbon, bacon cookie to brighten those dark corners!
Let’s, just for fun, imagine that “Pandemic” is a television series, and the world is simultaneously bingeing it. Where are we? Which season? Which episode? Can we keep track of all the subplots? All the crazy characters? How can I check? Maybe go by the death count.
Following a normal plot curve, the story begins with a peaceful world. Fairly early, we have the “inciting action” – news stories of another virus and rumblings that this might be “the big one”. The plot rapidly ramps up. Tension rises as the looming threat looms closer and closer to our central characters. That would be us. We willingly suspend our disbelief as we learn new skills and new vocabulary. We figure out Zooming, FaceTiming, PPE, “flattening the curve”, as we try to wrap our heads around the difference between quarantining and social isolation and physical distancing.
All the neighbours get bit parts.
As the plot thickens, our lives rapidly begin to change.
In the beginning, it seemed kind of like a fun adventure. Confined to our homes. Waving at the neighbours. Making jokes about “Garage bars”. We were reluctant. We were late
Season two was all kindness and singing and Kumbaya. We thought we were winning.
Which episode was the comical “Great toilet paper race”? The hoarding of bottled water and batteries? Then things got darker. All businesses close down. Except the most essential. This isn’t so much fun. The news in this season is all grim.
People are suffering. We’d rather watch something else. Something lighter, with a bit of romance and a happy ending. But we can’t change the channel. We can’t escape. It’s like a binge nightmare and we can’t wake up. More like a murder mystery or an escape room with no clues.
Several episodes focussed on the Blaming and Shaming stage and on to the Blaming the Shamers and then Shaming the Blamers and finally tiring of both. Was that Season three?
What followed? Apparently baking bread became such a thing that a shortage of flour and yeast became a crisis. Seriously? We’ve flipped from World War Z to Little House on the Prairie?
How long is this series? How many seasons? Can you check?
By Season four we’ve tired of dressing for dinner alone and posting pictures of food. We’re on to the Bake & Share stage of the endless narrative arc. We need to connect on a more personal level. We need to ‘share the love’ with our friends. Bake the buns, the brownies, the butter tarts, pack up the turkey dinner, bake the cookies. We need to reach out (almost) and touch (at a distance) the friends we miss so much by dropping food treats off at their door. Ring the doorbell and run away! We have a powerful urge to let our people know that we are thinking of their smiles.
What could be more smile inspiring than a combination of those items that seem to be sponsoring this series: chocolate, bacon and bourbon? Google any recipe with these ingredients. They’re all the rage. And they’re all good. I like this one from recipegirl.com. Makes a lovely breakfast! Though the alcohol does burn off in the oven. Thanks for your concern.
BOURBON BACON CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES
12 ounces center-cut thick bacon, ½-inch diced
2½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup reserved bacon fat, chilled
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons Maker's Mark (or any) bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
In a large skillet, cook the bacon until the bacon pieces are golden brown and crisp. Remove the bacon from the skillet and onto a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Reserve the bacon fat in the pan. You'll need 1/2 cup of the bacon fat- spoon it into a 1/2 cup measuring cup and refrigerate it until it has solidified.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter, bacon fat, sugars, bourbon and vanilla. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Beat in the flour mixture. Then stir in the bacon and chocolate (hint: if you want your cookies to look really pretty, save a few bacon and chocolate pieces to add to the top of each cookie dough blob before baking). Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper or silpat-lined baking sheets- about 2 inches apart.
Bake 9 to 11 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned. Let stand on the cookie sheets for about 5 minutes, then remove the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or store in a covered container or zip bag in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.
*Don't try to use turkey bacon for this recipe- ick.
We’re trapped in a drama that we can’t seem to escape. There is a narrative arc to every story. Except when the ratings are too good to let it go. The story is getting tired, (It has ‘jumped the shark’s as they say) but they squeeze out another season. And another. And just when you thought it was finally over, there’s a sequel. By the time the sequel for this baby comes around, I hope we’re at least, better prepared.