I like to salt my bacon. No, I am not referring to the process of bacon curing, nor am I using some weird euphemism, though it is a somewhat devious act. What I mean is, I sprinkle salt on bacon after it’s been fried up. Hold your guffaws for a second. I like to do this because, for one, it adds texture—and two, I just love salt. It isn’t much more complicated than that. I have no self-control when it comes to sodium and often wake up in the middle of the night gasping for water because I’ve consumed too much of it.
It’s an animalistic preference; I also like to add salt (and pepper) to buttered toast, buttered popcorn, pizza and other savory foods that, to your standard eater, would probably be savory enough on their own. While I’d never go so far as to salt a country ham steak or a serving of anchovies—notoriously salty foods—I find that a few sprinkles of salt on my rasher is a fine addition. I won’t try to justify it any further. My preference is often regarded with shock or disgust—except by my mother, the only other person I know who prefers her bacon salted—and understandably so.
“That's insane,” the food critic Joshua David Stein, an editor-at-large at Tasting Table, told me in an email. “Bacon is already incredibly high in sodium. Especially with Trumpcare, salting bacon is dumb AF.”
Point taken. I guess I just can’t help myself. Eliza Cross, the author of 100 Things to Do With Bacon and 101 More Things to Do With Bacon (apparently salting bacon isn’t one of those things), was a bit more judicious when I asked her in an email about my preference.
“Do I sprinkle salt on my fried bacon?” she asked. “Not as a rule, since a good quality bacon has the perfect balance of savory flavor and salt right out of the package.”
“I make two exceptions to my rule,” continued Cross, who is a member of BENSA, short for Bacon Enthusiasts 'n' Swine Aficionados. “The first is when I want to increase my sodium intake for aesthetic reasons to give my face a more puffy, rounded appearance; I call it ‘poor man’s Juviderm.’ Second, the flavor profile of faux vegan soy-seitan-tempeh-tofu ‘facon’ bacon will generally benefit from a generous pass of the salt shaker; for added balance, I supplement with a large Bloody Mary.” Good rules to live by, though not for me. Did I mention that I like my Bloody Marys salted?