One morning not too long ago I was in my local Trader Joe’s (it’s the one with the small parking lot that’s a chaotic kill-or-be-killed mess) loading up on food to bring into my office. I was browsing pre-packaged salads because salads are healthy, and eating healthy is a religion, and I treat my body like a temple, and so by eating salads I am essentially praying at my religion’s temple, and that’s really all I can do since praying at my local Sizzler salad bar is way too expensive.
As it were, I was loading up my basket as quickly as possible because it was morning, and and like any morning I look like Bill the Cat, however more busted up. This is punctuated by the fact that everyone at this particular Trader Joe’s looks like they’re on their way to a Marie Claire photo shoot (actually, it’s L.A. — they probably are).
Given my state of disrepair, I was especially motivated to avoid running into anyone I knew, or incurring judgment from all of the other good looking shoppers who, for some reason, have their life together at 8:15 a.m. So for the most part I was physically on auto-pilot, loading up my basket as quick as I could, determined to make it out alive to fight another day. Meanwhile my brain was in an otherwise momentary blissful state of slumber, that is, until it was awoken by a bombastic outburst.
I turned to my right and trace the uproar to a Frat Bro and his companion, who I assume was his girlfriend/wife/mistress. I’m assuming she was a significant other because they were affectionately locked arm-in-arm, but of course in this Game of Thrones world maybe they were a fornicating brother-sister duo, and this Trader Joe’s was their own private King’s Landing. It’s not my business this early in the morning. I’m not here to judge and it’s not Costco, so I’m not going to ask for their receipt.
His sincere and gleeful astonishment was met in step by his companion’s absolute embarrassment.
She wrestled herself away from their limb-ly interlock, sighed, and continued perusing the refrigerated aisle, while he argued a rather poorly formed case in favor of purchasing the salmon bacon.
At the same time shoppers close to the outburst shrugged, snickered, or turned to each other to give a look that said, “I know, right? What a tool.”
I joined in with my fellow shoppers’ mild contempt. On the outside I too exuded that I, a man of letters and unimpeachable refinement, found this display by a bratty Frat Bro (probably from USC) to be beneath me, and beneath that moment in time.
But this affect was nothing less than an abhorrent betrayal of my true emotional state.
“WHOA!” I thought to myself. “THEY HAVE SALMON BACON…WTF THIS?!”
After the couple vacated the area and other shoppers turned over, I took a few measured steps to my right and smoothly placed a half-pound package ($13.99/lb!) of salmon bacon into my basket. I made sure none of the other previous reactionary shoppers witnessed my betrayal of our mutually agreed upon silent judgements.
Now I had no idea if this was a new item, if salmon bacon was native only to Trader Joe’s, or if it’s a staple in every household across America except for mine. But much like Frat Bro, I was incredibly excited to give this a whirl.
The next morning I prepared it along with a simple omelette and hash browns. Taste-wise, it’s pretty good. It’s definitely not a replacement for real bacon, but due to its smokiness, it actually came a lot closer than turkey bacon. And if you like the taste of salmon, this measures up. Best of all though is that it’s pretty healthy (per slice): 0g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol and 100 mg sodium. On the down side, I found it difficult to reproduce the brittle crispiness that you can easily obtain with real bacon, but that really wasn’t a killer.
All in all, definitely a good find, but at such a high price point it will have to remain a novelty, or saved for special occasions like the season 2 premiere of FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson”.
And kudos to Frat Bro for bringing it to my attention.