|Published||May 1, 2002|
Everything Tastes Better with Bacon: 70 Fabulous Recipes for Every Meal of the Day is a book about cooking with bacon written by Sara Perry. She is an author, food commentator and columnist for The Oregonian. The book was published in the United States on May 1, 2002, by Chronicle Books, and in a French language edition in 2004 by Les Éditions de l'Homme in Montreal. In it, Perry describes her original concept of recipes combining sugar and bacon. Her book includes recipes for bacon-flavored dishes and desserts.
The book received mainly positive reviews and its recipes were selected for inclusion in The Best American Recipes 2003–2004. The St. Petersburg Times classed it as among the "most interesting and unique cookbooks" published, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette highlighted it in the article "Favorite Cookbooks for 2002" and The Denver Post included it in a list of best cookbooks of 2002. A review in the Toronto Star criticized Perry's lack of creativity in her choice of recipes. Recipes from the work have been featured in related cookbooks.
Sara Perry is a resident of Portland, Oregon, and a columnist for The Oregonian, a radio restaurant commentator and a cookbook author. Before Everything Tastes Better with Bacon she wrote four books: The New Complete Coffee Book, The New Tea Book, Christmastime Treats and Weekends with the Kids. Her editor at Chronicle Books suggested bacon as a cookbook subject. Bacon's popularity and usage was increasing, but Perry believed that a paucity of recipes would make writing the book difficult. Recalling her fondness for honey-baked ham, she combined sugar and bacon to create dishes. Perry realized that bacon could be used to add seasoning in flavoring dishes, including salads and pastas. She observed that bacon increased the sweet and salty tastes of food. Everything Tastes Better with Bacon was published in English in paperback format by Chronicle Books on May 1, 2002. The book sold for a retail price of US$18.95 in its initial publication. A French paperback edition was published in 2004 by Les Editions de l'Homme, as part of its "Tout un plat!" ("What a dish!") series.
Perry explains her feelings about bacon in the book's introduction, observing that its smell while cooking helps start her day and provide her with a sense of calmness. The beginning of the book provides background on the phrase "bringing home the bacon", introduces the reader to types of bacon and describes storage methods. The book offers 70 recipes for bacon-flavored dishes, in nine chapters organized by topic, including breakfast, leaf vegetables, pasta meals, side dishes, party servings, desserts and appetizers. Recipes include a bacon sandwich using other ingredients, a bacon crunch topping for ice cream, a bacon concoction to top a fruit crisp, and a pie crust that incorporates bacon. Methods are offered for cooking bacon on a stovetop, in an oven and under a griller to maximize its flavor and appearance. The book is illustrated with photographs by Sheri Giblin.
Everything Tastes Better with Bacon was positively received by reviewers and food critics. The Chicago Tribune reported that it sold 30,000 copies in its first month. Janet F. Keeler of the St. Petersburg Times commented positively on the book's title. She noted the work was covered by food critics, who included its recipes in articles about the subject. Keeler interviewed Fran McCullough, author of The Best American Recipes 2003–2004, who posited that the Atkins diet (which emphasizes higher meat consumption as part of a low carbohydrate plan) had helped increase the popularity of bacon usage. She classed it among the "most interesting and unique cookbooks" published. Giblin's photography received favorable commentary from Cindy Hoedel of The Kansas City Star. Literary critic Dwight Garner of The New York Times included the book in a list of favorites among recent cooking publications. The review was critical of the author's dessert recipes, but agreed with her overall argument for increased use of bacon in cooking.
The Arizona Daily Star highlighted the book in their "Hot Reads" section. Assistant Texas Taste Editor for The Dallas Morning News Laura H. Ehret wrote that the book successfully conveys the experience of consuming bacon. Marty Meitus wrote for the Rocky Mountain News that the book had increased his appetite for bacon dishes. Meitus recommended dessert recipes, including Hazelnut-Bacon Candy Crunch, Peanut butter Cookies with Bacon Brittle, Pear-Apple Crisp with Brown Sugar-Bacon Topping and Ruby Raisin Mincemeat Tart. Steve Smith, executive chef at Dixon's Downtown Grill in Denver, was inspired by Perry's "Maple Sundae" recipe and used it to create his own macadamia-bacon crunch ice cream dessert.
Writing for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Marlene Parrish gave the book a favorable review, highlighting it in her article "Favorite Cookbooks for 2002". She wrote that she enjoyed sampling the recipes from the book. Parrish added that Robert Atkins, creator of the Atkins diet, would think favorably of the "Gorgonzola Cheeseburgers with Bacon" dish. The Denver Post included the book in a list of best cookbooks of 2002. Another article for the same newspaper highlighted recipes in the book, including Spaghetti Alla Carbonara and Cobb salad, Pear-Apple Crisp with Brown Sugar-Bacon Topping and Bacon Brittle. A review in the Toronto Star criticized Perry's lack of creativity in her choice of recipes. The review concluded the book was a good deal compared to other cookbooks on the subject while noting its lack of comprehensiveness with the small number of total recipes included. Michele Anna Jordan of The Press Democrat recommended Perry's work, and commented that the author's zest for the subject was contagious.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times and the St. Petersburg Times, Everything Tastes Better with Bacon is a niche work in the cookbook genre. Perry stated that bacon had undergone a renaissance period. Christian Science Monitor noted in a 2003 article that bacon was becoming an increasingly used cooking ingredient, despite having been maligned by nutritionists. Recipes from the book were selected for inclusion in The Best American Recipes 2003–2004: The Year's Top Picks from Books, Magazines, Newspapers and the Internet. Perry's recipe for "Succulent Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp" was referenced in the 2003 book Smoke & Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue. Fran McCullough, the author of The Best American Recipes, commented that the book was a surprising addition to the field. The Atlantic said that three years after the book's publication, bacon had become as popular as chocolate or olive oil. Leah A. Zeldes observed in a 2006 article for the Chicago Sun-Times that the book contributed to the body of works that display the adaptability of bacon in recipes. In his 2009 book Hungry Monkey, author Matthew Amster-Burton commented on the phenomena involving bacon and books on the subject in prior years, listing the book along with The Bacon Cookbook and Seduced by Bacon. A 2013 article in the British newspaper The Independent cited the book as an example of increasing interest in pork.