Father's Day is one week away: Do you know what you're getting for Dad yet?
No? Well have you thought about getting him bacon?
This is absolutely serious, or at least as serious as a gift of bacon for Father's Day can be. Oscar Mayer, which is surely one of the nation's biggest purveyors of cured meats, is offering three different ways of sending to fathers (or whomever you want to send it to) all month long.
Each gift includes 18-20 strips of bacon that come in a lovely box that is a cross between a jewelry box and a humidor. And each one comes with a different distinguishing additional gift. The Matador comes with a pair of cuff links in the shape of bacon. The Woodsman includes a multi-tool — it's sort of like a Swiss Army knife. And The Commander has a stainless steel money clip with a small and tasteful rendition of bacon on it.
The sender, which is to say you, also gets a choice of six classy looking cards to send. One shows a picture of a strip of bacon on a red velvet pillow, and reads, "I love you like I love this bacon. Except there's nothing about this bacon I want to change."
It's all tongue in cheek, of course, though it is real (and the company has been selling out of its stock, though they replenish it every day). And just because it is tongue in cheek doesn't mean it is cheap. The Commander (money clip) goes for $22, the Woodsman (multi-tool) is $25, and the Matador (cuff links) is $28. For that, you get the gift, the card, the box, and about 12 ounces of bacon.
To order, visit sayitwithbacon.com
The good folks at Williams-Sonoma are ready for summer this month with free classes on hot-weather cooking.
If you hurry, you can get to the local store in Westfield Franklin Park Mall for a 10 a.m. class today about how to grill for a crowd. The instructors will discuss grilling and salt-roasting large meat cuts — beef roast, whole pork loin, etc. — ways to enhance the flavor of a big cut of meat, carving, and more.
On June 23, the class at 10 a.m. will look at side dishes, and not just any side dishes; these are foods (such as layered salad) that can be prepared ahead. That's always a good idea for picnics.
And the June 30 class, also at 10 a.m., looks ahead to the Fourth of July with frozen desserts — think ice cream and frozen yogurt — that are made with the freshest summertime fruit.
Meanwhile, it's a natural that this month's Cookbook Club will focus on a grilling book by Bobby Flay, Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction. The instructor will make Flay's recipes for Guasacaca with Tortilla Chips, Coconut-Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Green Onion-Peanut Relish, Grilled New Carrots with Maple and Dill, and Jicama-Radish Salad with Grapefruit-Ginger Vinaigrette.
The instructor does the cooking. The class does the eating.
The Cookbook Club costs $75 to attend, which also includes a copy of the book, complete with a bookplate signed by Bobby Flay. This class meets Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
For more information or to register for any of the classes, call 419-475-6368.
America's favorite chocolate is milk chocolate. It always has been.
Ah, but dark chocolate is making inroads. Pulling a feint. Launching a sneak attack.
In 2011, just two years ago, fully 57 percent of Americans polled by Mintel said they preferred milk chocolate. Just 33 percent said they would first reach for dark chocolate.
But a brand new poll from Mintel reveals a measurable shift in loyalties: Now, 35 percent say they'd rather have dark chocolate, while just 51 percent go for milk chocolate.
Meanwhile, 8 percent of the respondents said they prefer white chocolate. Obviously, something has to be done about them. True chocoholics don't even consider white chocolate to be real chocolate (technically, it's a chocolate derivative because it does not have cocoa solids) .
One reason for the admittedly slight change is the publicity dark chocolate has been getting as a healthy food. Relatively new research suggests that dark chocolate can lower your blood pressure, reduce your chance of stroke, protect against diabetes, eliminate free radicals, strengthen your tooth enamel, and protect against cardiovascular ailments.
But, people: This is chocolate we're talking about. It's full of fat and sugar. One bar of Hershey's Special Dark contains 190 calories, 110 of them from its 12 grams of fat. One bar every now and then isn't going to kill you, but scarfing down large quantities of dark chocolate as a way to guard against diabetes seems counterproductive.
Where were we? Oh yes, the poll. Younger people apparently like milk chocolate more than their elders. Among people 55 and older, 46 percent of men and 48 percent of women favor dark chocolate.
Eighty-nine percent of the respondents said they buy chocolate as a treat or reward, 83 percent buy it as a snack option, and 72 percent buy it as an energy boost or a way to improve their mood.
Just 72 percent?