BREAKFAST CONVERSATION: What do you and the family discuss over breakfast? Not too much, because nobody in your crowd is really a morning person, and any sunny chitchat only elicits grunts? Fair enough. But maybe you talk about what's on the back of the cereal box, what your plans are for the day, and all the hundreds of uses for bacon. Hope that last guess didn't take you by surprise, but we'll guess it did not. Reason? Bacon is one of the edibles that people tend to discuss while eating it. Lettuce and yogurt don't really inspire as much dialogue, and desserts probably inspire too much. But bacon is that perfect middle-of-the-road food that gets the eater discussing their favorite BLT variations, whether they'd drink a Bloody Mary that has a bacon garnish, and the state of bacon bits in salad these days. But if you go beyond the waking-up, morning-type bacon-y discussions to really plotting what you can do with the superstar strips, then plot some more: Two "Bacon Dish Contests" are ahead at the San Diego County Fair and the Queen Mary in Long Beach.
YES, YES... there is a straight-up, snack-and-enjoy bacon festival going down at both spots, but the cook-off element invites both amateur and pro cooks to experiment in all the baconly ways. Kids are invited, too, to show off their prowess with the meaty wonder, meaning that the recipes will run, we're fairly sure, the gamut. True, we'll likely see a lot of brown sugar and sweet takes on bacon, as has been the recent trend, but fingers crossed some audacious chef absolutely shatters all of our preconceptions of the BLT. You have to submit your bacon idea by June 13, note, and "a group of selected chefs" will move onto the next San Diego-based round on June 17. The finals fall on July 5. If you want to go the Long Beach cook-off route, hang tight -- that's coming up a little later in the summer. So best get sizzling, bacon dreamers, and stop just talking about your big bacon ideas over breakfast.