You've seen how a husband and wife team at UnderConsideration re-envisioned the holiday of love. Now see the other winner of Studio 360's Redesign Valentine's Day challenge, as picked by this week's guest, author and modern love expert Elizabeth Gilbert. And, yes...it's bacon.
First place goes to the Broquet, a bacon bouquet, which was cooked up by Portland-based industrial designer Sarah Tisdale. Last fall, Tisdale had just fallen for for her next-door neighbor when something brought his spirits down. Tisdale brainstormed an appropriate way to cheer him up. "I wasn't going to get him flowers or anything like that," she remembers, "but I wanted to bring a smile to his face." The two had bonded recently over their love for a winning combination: whiskey and bacon. So Tisdale realized there was really only one option: A bacon bouquet. Her house swirling with smoke, she presented the neighbor with a dozen juicy pork blossoms.
He was thrilled, but the relationship eventually fizzled, much like a grease on a hot skillet. Tisdale has no regrets. "We're not still dating," she says. "But it was very poetic and beautiful."
In an equally poetic twist, Tisdale herself was a vegan until bacon became--as it has for many recovering vegans--a gateway meat. "I don't know what it is," she says of the country's current obsession with bacon. "For me it's just this primal, salty thing." Tisdale describes what she calls a "bacon movement" afoot in Portland, where house-cured meats are the pride of local sandwich shops. "You know," she confesses. "I'm actually still mostly a vegan...except for bacon."
For Tisdale, the Broquet was a way for her to merge her love of food with her design skills--as well as her incurable inner Cupid. "I'm a hopeless romantic," admits Tisdale. "I really love Valentine's Day, I love how silly and ridiculous and pretty and funny it is." But she agrees that as a culture, we could all use a reminder about what Valentine's Day really means. "It's not just about romantic love," she says. "It's about sharing what you love with someone else."
Sarah Tisdale's Bacon Broquet, Baked From the Heart
1 package delicious bacon (thin or thick both work well)
1 package bamboo skewers
some thin skewers you can break
1 or 2 mini muffin tins (varies depending on if you want to make a traditional dozen or go big)
slotted broiler pan
some sort of tough ribbon
Start with good intentions. Don't do it if it's not what you feel is right in your heart. Bacon should evoke a visceral reaction within you and within your intended recipient, for greatest maximum impact.
Pick out your bacon. I look for the cuts that have the most meat and less fat.
Prepare your muffin tins. Use the hammer and nail to puncture a hole or two in the bottom of each cup. Then set the pans on top of the broiler pan. This allows the fat to drain out while the rosettes are baking.
Preheat your oven to about 350-375 degrees.
Open up your package of bacon and take a moment to bask in its raw beautiful pink glory. Take one strip and roll it up like a scroll and insert it into the mini muffin tin. You can pull the center of the bacon roll out slightly here if you want to make it a little more stylin' but no worries, it will look great as is. Repeat until muffin tin is full.
Put the whole thing in the oven and bake it until it's done. Watch it to make sure it doesn't burn. When it looks dark pink take it out and let it cool a bit. Be careful: the grease will burn you if you spill it.
Take the roses out of the tins and set them on the broiler pan. if they aren't cooked enough put them back in minus the muffin tin for a few minutes. You dont want to overcook them, or you wont be able to skewer the stems.
Use the fatter skewers as the stems and poke one into each rose. next, use the little skewers to poke the roses together in a bouquet style.
Wrap the whole thing in waxed or parchment paper and then foil (to give it structure and hold it together) and tie it off with a ribbon.
Take a photo of your bacon bouquet.
Hand deliver with a card and smile expressing your unconditional love for the boy (or girl) and bacon. Prepare yourself for an instant marriage proposal on the spot and/or to be ignored for 10-30 minutes as the recipient freaks out over how awesome the bouquet is and starts eating.
You can check out hundreds more awesome Valentine's redesigns and hear more about Gilbert's top picks. Thanks so much to Kurt Andersen and Michele Siegel, and everyone at Studio 360 for asking me to be a part of such a fun experiment. Whether you celebrate it with glistening pig fat or a Love Puppy, have a wonderful Valentine's Day.