For the last couple months I've been curing my own bacon at home. Let me first get out of the way that if you've never had fresh, home-cured bacon, find some and eat it as soon as you can. I've never eaten better. Yes, sometimes I wonder where the 11 pounds went in six weeks, but, well, I've been giving some away.
Last night I tore into some pork belly that I got at Fero's, my supplier in the market. I'm only dealing with about six pounds right now as I split an order with a friend. Usually it's a pretty simple affair: douse the pork with a cure, package it in Ziplocs and a week later my house smells like grease. But, last night, when my lovely assistant and I were unpacking, we couldn't help but notice the neat row of bumps along the skin. Houston, we have nipples. I couldn't bring myself to cure/cook the bacon with nipples attached, so I cut them off with a Cutco knife. I'd never cut nipples off of anything before. And I must say, it was a little bit disturbing. And for the two seconds between washing the knife and putting the pork in the fridge, I was a vegan.
I'm still a bit shaken up by it. I can still see the nipples in my hands just before they hit the garbage can, and it makes me cringe. But, then I remember the bacon; thick and fatty, and how good eggs taste when they've been cooked in a pan previous used to cook bacon. And if I have to snip a few nipples to achieve my breakfast nirvana, so be it.