Welcoming someone new into the family always requires food. Weddings, baby showers, engagement parties, introducing a girlfriend or boyfriend—they all feel incomplete until you've fired up the ol’ George Foreman.
But it’s not enough to pop the fridge and tear open a bag of baby carrots. Different foods make different (and very lasting) impressions. Case in point: our first Thanksgiving dinner with my dad's second wife…along with one of her sons, his girlfriend, my brothers, etc—a potentially awkward situation.
Ah, but my new stepmother made a brilliant tactical decision, cooking up a batch of bacon-wrapped green beans, employing bacon to win the favor of a new family. We spent at least a quarter of our first meal together talking about bacon: dishes we’ve added it to, different ways to cook it, my brother’s infamous bacon-Jim Beam shooter…
New family members, meeting for the first time, were bound into one. As Homer Simpson probably said, “bacon—is there anything it can’t do?”
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OK, so I decided to bring an ample supply of her bacon-wrapped green beans up to the office to see if they would have a similar effect on ever-skeptical journalist types. A few of the responses around our conference room table: “It's good and bad wrapped into a single bite." "My stepmother makes these too, except the next step would be to put some pepper over them, and she makes them with string beans." "I think I would like them better with string beans." [Moments later] "No, actually, I think I like these more." "I like it as a way to remove any health value from the green beans. I would much rather wrap it in bacon, then deep-fry it."
Here's my version of the people-uniting (assuming conviction allows them to indulge) recipe:
1 12-oz. package smoked bacon 1 lb. fresh green beans 1 Tsp. garlic salt Brown sugar Worcestershire sauce 1 bay leaf
1. Snap ends off green beans and rinse clean. 2. Place green beans in sauce pan with enough water to cover, bay leaf, garlic salt and 3 or 4 dashes of Worcestershire. Cook over medium heat 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat and drain. 3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 4. While the oven heats and the green beans cool, put about a cup of brown sugar in a plate, remove bacon from package and slice the slab in half. 5. Press each side of each half-piece of bacon into the brown sugar to coat it completely. 6. Use sugared bacon slices to wrap around bundles of four to six green beans. Wrap diagonally, starting near bottom of green bean bundle and working toward top to cover most of the bundle. 7. Place finished bundles on baking sheet or broiler pan. IMPORTANT TIP: Use a baking sheet with a rim or a broiler pan to keep the bacon grease from dripping and making a mess of your oven. 8. Cook 15 to 17 minutes at 350. --Jesse Hughey