In general, I have found this a pretty interesting book.
OK, sometimes I have doubted the author's sanity (fruit "leather" made with cottage cheese? Do you really want to see that stuff dehydrated????), and have certainly wondered if anyone visited her house for dinner more than once (dried pickles??????), but today our relationship reached a new level.
Bananas, our Appalachian Trail hiker, has discovered that some of her problems early-on in the hike were due to not consuming enough calories (yeah, when was the last time most of us had THAT problem?). So, I was flipping through Mary Bell's book and found a section on dehydrating bacon. Perfect! What food packs more calories than bacon?
Her instructions call for cooking the bacon until crisp, draining it on a paper towel, then dehydrating it until it crumbles easily, making sure to regularly wipe the excess grease off of it. Alrighty.
You know how things sound much better in theory? Well, as I was cooking the first pound of bacon, I realized I wouldn't even fill one tray in the dehydrator, so I sent Andy to the store for 5 more pounds of bacon. That's right--6 pounds of bacon. Enough to make 12 ounces of dehydrated bacon bits. Know what happens to the remaining 5 pounds 4 ounces? Part of it becomes hickory scented grease vapor that permeates every inch of a house, leaving it smelling like a greasy-spoon out of one of those 70's trucker flicks. Another part of it solidifies onto the poor sap cooking it--I left an oil slick in the pool at my gym this afternoon--even after a pre-swim shower. Part of it coats every single surface in the kitchen, and the remainder forms an oily substance that can't go down the drain, into the ground, and can't go in the garbage until it solidifies into an even more disgusting substance.
7 hours later, it's still in the dehydrator because since the instructions said to cook until crisp, the bacon actually crumbled easily BEFORE it went in the dehydrator, and as that was our only "doneness" test, we have no way of knowing when it's actually dried long enough.
I just know there's a way to make 12 ounces of dried bacon last the remaining 4 1/2 months of her hike, or at least long enough for us to forget enough of this little episode to try it again.......