Articles by Roz Cummins
Roz Cummins is a food writer who has worked in every possible permutation of food co-op, natural foods store, and granola-type restaurant. She lives in the greater Boston area and feels it is her mission to put the "eco" back in home economy.
Tomatoes are one of summer's greatest pleasures and, for many people, the ultimate tomato creation is the BLT. Unless, of course, you don't eat meat.
There is a strange phenomenon among some vegetarians, however, even strict, long-term, sincere vegetarians: they occasionally lose their resolve when faced with bacon. "It's the smell," a seemingly committed vegetarian friend recently confided to me, "it gets me every time."
Indeed, in all the couples I know of where the party of the first part is a vegetarian and the party of the second part is not, it is usually the preparation of bacon by the party of the second part that leads to the ultimate downfall of the party of the first part. In short, it's a slippery slope, made all the more slippery by the application of aromatic, sizzling bacon grease. From enjoying a once-in-a-blue-moon BLT, it's not a far cry to the occasional sampling of prosciutto at parties ("social" bacon use) to regularly adding ham hocks to soups "just to flavor the stock" to late-night, shame-based trips to 7-11 for a handful of Slim Jims. "It's a gateway meat," explains The Late, Late Show's Craig Ferguson -- and he's so right.
It needn't be that way. I eat meat now and then, but even I don't necessarily want to eat bacon every time I fancy a BLT (which is constantly, when decent tomatoes are to be had). So I've come up with some bacon alternatives. Or, I suppose I should say, alternatives to bacon alternatives. I don't have anything at all against soy-based strips made to look and taste (kind of) like bacon, I just don't think they're necessary when there are so many other choices.
Ah, June. Roses are in bloom, weddings and graduation exercises occupy the weekends, and it's time to head to the beach. Summer in full swing! Summer at last!
So why am I making Thanksgiving dinner on what is, to date, the hottest day of the year?
Welcome, dear reader, to the topsy-turvy world of the food writer. Like fashion models who don heavy mink coats in July and itsy-bitsy bikinis in December in order to accommodate magazine production schedules, foodwriters are always working many months into the future. This leads to a rarefied category of Seasonal Affective Disorder: Seasonal Displacement Disorder -- a syndrome in which the patient is unreasonably preoccupied with the events and sentiments normally reserved for a season approximately six months into the future.