Monday, August 6, 2012

The Bacon-Wrapped Dates Did It

Do you like books that are effortlessly quirky but also verbose? Do you want to read something that is simultaneously semi-mindless (i.e. read it by the pool) and something that requires a good deal of concentration? Are you simply curious what Joseph Caldwell was talking about when he titled this novel The Pig Did It? Keep reading.

I haven't yet made someone read this book, because I worry that it's a bit too strange. And yet I love it so much that I'm in a state of shock that I haven't yet tracked down, purchased, or asked for its two sequels.

Let me put it this way: Some books create a world. Some books create an ensemble. This book creates a mood.

I don't want to say too much, but the book takes place in Ireland. It is dark and comically romantic (in the most basic sense of the word rather than the red roses variety) and relatable and somehow also far-fetched. Are you intrigued yet? Possibly one of my favorite fictional self-reflective moments occurs at the beginning of this novel, when Aaron McCloud (the human main character) is in the most conscious state of wallowing I've ever read about. Let me share with you just the first sentence of this novel to illustrate the tip of this iceberg:

"Aaron McCloud had come to Ireland, to County Kerry, to the shores of the Western Sea, so he could, in solitary majesty, feel sorry for himself."

I have a hardback copy of The Pig Did It sitting on my shelf, with two empty spaces beside it for sequels*. And hey-- if the pig did do it, let's call this recipe a bit of punishment… for the pig. I promise you, it will be a reward to whoever is lucky enough to eat it. Hopefully that person is you.

These are salty and sweet, one thing and another, just like The Pig Did It, and I certainly hope you enjoy them. And let me tell you, they are easy. So easy. You don't even need to measure!

*I'm sort of lying. There is always and never more room on my bookshelf.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Dates (pitted!)
Brown sugar

1. Preheat oven and prepare a cookie sheet. I put mine at about 375°F (190.6 C) but exact temperature isn't important for these.

2. Prepare your work station so that you don't contaminate everything with bacon. I put the brown sugar in one dish, and the dates I was using in another (rather than grabbing them straight out of the package).

3. Slice the bacon in half.

4. Lay out a half piece of bacon and roll it around a date. Hold it together by stabbing it with a toothpick.

5. Roll the bacon-date in the brown sugar (or maple barbecue seasoning. My lovely mother suggested I try this, and it was fabulous!) and put it sideways on the cookie sheet.

6. Repeat until you run out of bacon or dates or space in your oven. Don't worry if any of that happens sooner than you'd like; these are so easy you can just make more tomorrow!

7. Sprinkle the top with more brown sugar because you'd have to throw away what's in your little contaminated dish anyway.

8. Bake! Check them regularly. After the tops start to brown, turn them all over and bake the other side for the same about of time.

9. Wash your hands and let them cool! Molten dates stuck to your teeth are NOT fun, and neither are food-borne illnesses.

10. Enjoy! No seriously. I don't care if you don't like dates and/or bacon, just make these and try them anyway. Because you will change your mind.

(I was also just told by an old friend that stuffing the dates with feta cheese is a wonderful variation of this. Have any of you tried it? I want to do it right now!!)

These delicious morsels are best enjoyed with a pint of Guinness, a healthy dose of wallowing, and a good book.


  1. I want to try it with an almond or a pecan stuffed into the date before rolling it in the bacon. You can't go wrong with these. They are so good! I want to read this book because I've gone to the beach to feel sorry for myself before, then I looked up and saw Catalina and felt even worse... Lol :)

  2. i am sending papa to the store to buy some bacon and brown sugar and feta cheese. remind me, please, what does verbose mean?!? your old nani forgets these things. do i have to drink a pint of guinness? can't i just have a glass of lemonade? just asking!!! i love you. nani j.

  3. I randomly had 3 lbs of dates before reading this. I'm so making these

  4. This is one of my favorite recipes and is always a big hit for parties...easy and so good. I've never rolled them in sugar though....don't need the extra calories. Beleive me, they are wonderful either way. Next I guess I need to find The Pig Did It....luckily I know the meaning of verbose. Which I usually am. hahaha

    1. Isn't it delicious?! I love how the sugar caramelizes, so I don't know if I'll be taking that part out of my recipe. :) But I'm glad someone else knows about these!