Saturday, April 25, 2020

Experimenting with Bacon

Last year, I decided that all three of my 4-H kids were going to be doing the Food and Nutrition 101 project together.  I wanted to work through the materials, as I figured it would be good for them.  And I just wanted them all on the same page.  Far easier for me.

It was wonderful.  The only downside was that they were all working from the same set of recipes.

The basic requirements for the project are to:
  • Make 2-3 recipes from each section of the project manual, so 10-15 recipes each.
  • Do a couple of experiments or activities from the manual (which they did together).
  • Do community service related to their project (baking cookies for a bake sale, baking cookies to give out in Thanksgiving baskets).
  • Give a demonstration relating to your project.
  • Make something to exhibit at County Fair.  For 101, that had to be either cookies, bar cookies, or no-bake cookies.  For 201, that is muffins, scones, or quick bread.
One of the experiments for Food and Nutrition 201 is to make bacon three different ways and do a family taste test.  I bought bacon, so we'd be sure to have enough of the SAME stuff, at one point when there was actually meat available in the grocery store.

The kids cut each piece into thirds, and then made one piece for each of us a) in the oven, b) on the stove, and c) in the microwave.  Since our microwave died a couple days after all the COVID shutdowns, we had to wait to do this activity until we got a replacement.

The only way they have ever made bacon is by frying it on the stove. 

Trina putting bacon onto the stone to go into the oven
I used to microwave bacon, but have never made it in the oven, except when wrapped around chicken, veggies, or a jalapeno.

Richard putting bacon on a tray to microwave it.
I wish we had thought to get a photo once they were all cooked.  The kids grabbed paper plates, labeled the edges with A, B and C, and placed the bacon on the plates for each family member.

It was interesting to see the results.  Basically, we all were torn between the stove and oven, and pretty much all thought the microwave-cooked bacon was a distant 3rd place.  What we liked about the bacon from the oven was that it was pretty flat instead of all curled up.  But we preferred the taste of the bacon that they fried.

We finished the day off by having BLTs, and made that bacon in the oven so it would work in the sandwiches better.

Next taste test?  Rice.  We're supposed to compare cooked on the stove to cooked in the oven, but I'm going to add the rice cooker to the mix.

I just love 4-H!