I say it takes a city to make a BLT from scratch…
Earlier this summer, I read about Michael Ruhlman’s challenge to make our own bacon, bread and mayonnaise and grow tomatoes and greens to make a BLT from scratch.
We started out just thinking about it:
We planted a tomato plant:
Prepared and cured bacon:
and regular pancetta:
Friends across the city promised us arugula from their garden in exchange for a taste of the bacon from scratch:
Whilst other friends counted their meagre tomato crops and offered to help us out:
We figured if we sliced them very finely, there would be enough to go around:
We were excited to find our pancetta looked pretty darned amazing (if we do say so ourselves!):
I made mayonnaise from scratch for the first time (can’t believe how easy this is and am wondering why I haven’t tried it before!):
Then, there was the saga of the bread. I really tried…
Finally, with less than a week to go before our big “BLT reveal” dinner (for – gulp! – about 20 people!), I made the “Bread 911” call to a very good friend who also happens to bake very good bread:
Some made tasting plates:
And others just enjoyed, well… everything. A lot:
Finally, the host’s plate (this event would never have taken place without Neil’s enthusiastic embrace of the meat curing process so cheers!):
Verdict? The flavours of homemade food are definitely more “real” and intense, the colours are much brighter and the ramshackle look of Mother Nature’s contributions lent an air of clumsy elegance to the meal.
But the most fun part was definitely the fact that after months of anticipation, worrying about our little tomatoes, wondering if the meat was going to taste how it was supposed to, enlisting friends’ help and food contributions, our dinner really did come together. And you truly couldn’t get more local. Would we do it again? For sure. Who’s in?
(PS: You can read about the whole process from the start in these posts)
(PPS: This dinner was also our contribution to this week’s Keep it Local challenge dinner)