Ham and Bacon…or Why I’m No Longer a Vegetarian

Starting in middle school, I became a vegetarian.  A lot of it was for health reason,s combined with an unfortunately assigned report on meat-packing plants (not the best choice for a city girl like myself who pretended that all meat originated at the grocery story).

I was a vegetarian for 6 years.  I still ate dairy and seafood, but I had no meat during that whole time. In general I thought it was pretty easy, even with living in the midwest and our lack of vegetables in the winter.

And then, one year in high school, my mother made a ham for Christmas dinner.  Now, back in my meat-eating days, I LOVED ham.  And bacon. And pork chops.  It was pretty much a guarantee that if it came from a pig, I’d probably have eaten it.

The memory is a bit hazy, but I remember walking into the kitchen, led by the smell of that brown-sugar glazed ham.  No one else was around but me. Without hesitating, I first ate one piece, and then another, and then another…until my mother eventually walked into the kitchen…

“Oh my god you just ate half the ham.  OH MY GOD MARC MEGAN IS EATING MEAT!!!!!  SINCE WHEN DO YOU EAT MEAT???  OH THANK GOD YOU CAN EAT LIKE THE REST OF US AGAIN!!”

Yes, most of that was said in a shriek. I had, after all, eaten nearly half a ham.  Quite surprisingly  I didn’t feel sick later at all (though attempting to eat poultry or steak again was a wholeeeeee different story).

Spicy Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Ingredients

  • 1 package thick-sliced bacon, rashers cut into thirds
  • 2 cans whole water chestnuts
  • 1/4 c barbecue sauce
  • 3 tbsp sriracha sauce (also known as rooster sauce- can add more to taste if you like them really spicy)
  • 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

How-to

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut bacon slices (rashers are the technical term) into thirds.  Wrap each water chestnut in 1/3 piece bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place onto a shallow roasting pan lined with aluminum foil (makes for easier cleanup).
  3. Bake water chestnuts for approximately 40 minutes or until the bacon is a golden brown.
  4. While water chestnuts are in the oven, mix together the barbecue sauce, sriracha, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and pepper. Taste and adjust flavorings to taste (more salty- more Worcestershire, more spice- more sriracha, more sweet- more brown sugar, more tang- more soy sauce).
  5. When bacon is golden, remove from oven. Remove water chestnuts from pan and place onto paper towels to drain. Discard grease in roasting pan.
  6. Dip each water chestnut into the sauce mixture and place back on the roasting pan. Return to oven for approximately 15-20 minutes.  Serve with remaining dipping sauce.

If you’d like, you can skip steps 5 & 6 and use this method instead.  Remove water chestnuts from oven and place into a small crock-pot on high.  Pour sauce on top and gently toss to coat.  Heat in crock pot for 30 minutes, then turn heat to low for serving purposes right out of the crock pot!