Tag Archives: Boston

Bacon-wrapped Mac & Cheese Parcels

For someone trying to eat low-sodium, I talk a lot about bacon.

This time around, it’s because we threw a wedding shower for a guy I work with and decided on the over-arcing theme of bacon.

I decided to make these tasty (and fattening, oh so fattening) finger foods a couple of times – once as a practice run and the second time for real. Photos are from both rounds.

2013-08-07 18.38.31To start:
1. 1 package bacon
2. 1 package pre-made/refrigerated mac & cheese. (I would highly recommend using homemade or creamy store-bought mac & cheese; the tiny noodles in Kraft mac & cheese seem like they would dry out very quickly.
3. Toothpicks



4. Baking sheet (with edges and, I recommend, tin foil)
5. Cooling rack (metal so you can put it in the oven, keeps the bacon bites from stewing in their own fatty juices.)

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Step 1:
Separate pieces of bacon out from one another.
Slice each piece in two
Lay crosswise on the plate.
(So, you’d cut each pictured strip of bacon in half, and lay them in “x”‘s.)
Step 2:
Plop some mac & cheese into the center of the two pieces. Not too much. You really don’t need much. Maybe a teaspoon.

Step 3:
Fold the four ends of bacon up around the mac & cheese, and spear them through with toothpicks. I was able to get it down to two toothpicks in best-case scenarios, but if you have to use more don’t worry about it. This is just to hold the parcel together till the bacon cooks into its shape.

Step 4:
Repeat until you have used up all the bacon and mac & cheese.

Step 5:
Put in oven (follow directions on bacon package for heat setting). It will probably take between 20-30 minutes to cook, but go by sight, because my oven isn’t very good.


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Step 6:
Let cool for a little while once it’s out of the oven.

Step 7:

bite2013-08-07 19.53.00











For more about delicious things I make from pigs:






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Butchery, Part II: Start Spreading the News

Not sure WTF is going on? Track back to PART ONE of my butchery adventure before reading on.


It’s a little over a month ago, and my colleagues and I are gathered around a carrot cake that’s been brought in for a team birthday. As we pass slices around, eat cookies and make idle conversation, the topic moves toward how I won’t be in the office that Friday. I’ve been calling my trip to The Salty Pig an “exclusive cooking lesson,” for the sake of not upsetting the more sensitive souls in the department, but one of my friends decides it’s time to Ron Swanson that euphemism outta the park:

“She’s going to butcher a pig.”

The conversation may as well have been shot out of the sky, given how quickly it shut down. Staring at several levels of management as well as my teammates, I quickly sketch out how unsettled I was by trying to cook pork shoulder a few weeks ago, ending with the part about handing the half-a-shoulder I couldn’t touch off to my friend. Who then continues piping up: “She said, and I quote, its skin felt like a man’s.”

2013-01-13 16.32.25Now, for the record, what I said was that it felt like human skin, and what I actually meant was that handling the pork shoulder made me feel as I imagine I’d feel hacking into a dead human body, and the subtext was a mild reference to zombies and apocalyptica and so on, but his retelling landed with the desired effect.

The general reaction: “You’re killing a pig?!”

No, butchering and slaughtering are two different things.

“Are you gonna be okay?!”

If I ever want to eat Bacon again with a clear conscience, I certainly hope so.

”Omigod how are you going to do that?”

No idea, but there’ll be three of us so if I get too grossed out at any point, my guess is someone else can take over.

“How do you feel about it?!”

I’m looking forward to it. I think it will be a great learning experience*.

I posted more than a few pictures of adorable pigs in top hats and teacups over the next few hours. I’m not sure why, but it made me less nervous. My co-butchery-student informed me I’d get no sympathy if I freaked out, after that.


That evening, I was on the bus to Boston to meet the friend I’d be taking the butchery lesson with, reflecting on the discussions I’d had with people about the lesson since winning it. Some, like my colleague, were so excited about the idea of the experience that they were trying to find out if I could bring them home a chunk of meat. Others, like my roommate, assured me they had no desire to take part in that kind of activity, and probably wouldn’t want to look at the photos I was promising to come back with.

Riding in the bus, alone with my thoughts, I contemplated the reactions of others: my mom, who seemed kind of incredulous when I told her I’d even entered the competition, let alone won – and the friend I was going to be having the lesson with, who’d gone so far as to study up for the next morning’s teachings.

Then I contemplated something else: this was going to be one of the first genuinely new experiences I’d had in a while.

I was looking forward to it.

Stay tuned for part three…

*Pro tip: Tack “a great learning experience” onto most activities and people will think you’re less the kind of person who wants to have the experience of cutting a giant piece of meat to pieces, and more a sort of eccentric academic. Right?

Which car.

DSC03603Years and years ago, my first time in Edinburgh, I was visiting an older friend of the family and we were discussing the time she and her late husband had spent in England during the time when IRA bombings were regular occurrences.

We were at a restaurant or a museum. We’d already discussed 9/11 – that had taken place just the year before – and we were walking by a parking lot as she elaborated.

“The thing you have to remember,” she said, telling me about the situations she and her husband had encountered, “is that if you were looking at a car park” – and she gestured to the one nearby aspect of the scenery I remember, the car-filled parking lot – “it  wasn’t a question of whether there was a bomb under one of the cars. It was a question of which car the bomb was under.

“Because you knew – you knew – that one of the cars had a bomb under it.”

The only question was which car.


2013-01-20 13.25.58A couple weeks ago, I was visiting a friend in Boston and he asked what kind of writing I was working on right now.

When I said I’d started thinking back to my robot/AI anthology, his response? “Then we should go to the MIT museum.*” (*not a direct quote.)

Which was how, in the space of a day, I went from walking the decks of the oldest ship in the U.S. navy to wandering through examples of the robots of the latter half of the 20th century.

The visit was a kick in the pants. A reminder of where the study of artificial intelligence started, and how far the field has come in fifty years.

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Also a strange reminder of gender imbalance in the sciences I most love (there were no women participants in the conference held at Dartmouth in 1956, as far as I’ve been able to find, and the school didn’t start accepting women until 1972). And of the incredibly intellectual and creative capacity of those men who did take place in the conception of artificial life.

(One of those men, John McCarthy, wrote this story (“The Robot And The Baby“) about a robot and a baby, which is utterly specific in its representation of how an artificial ntelligence (each word being taken at its face value) might weigh options and make decisions.)

Another participant in the conference, Marvin Minsky, was (according to Wikipedia) referred to as one of only two men who Issac Asimov acknowledged as being smarter than him. The other was Carl Sagan.

The visit gave me both inspiration on old drafts and ideas about the potential shape of my AI Anthology, and set my brain buzzing with new possibilities for themes and research.

Now for the fun part: applying them.


P.S. If you’ve got $2.99 USD to spare and an Amazon account, click on over to the page for Sassy Singularity and read my short story Sweetheart.