No Butcher, No Baker, Just a (Bacon Fat) Candlestick Maker
As I tap this out on a computer (which is plugged into the wall, directly to a source of electricity) I am surrounded by candlelight. The soft flickering light is resulting in two things; a curiosity on how long we’ve had our homes lit by electricity (widespread since the 1920s) and hunger pains. While the two might be seemingly unrelated, it is the type of candle that has my stomach grumbling, and the topic of this week’s adventure in the kitchen. This week I have created bacon fat candles.This crazy idea was sparked one day while I was visiting my friend John Patrick’s sandwich shop Devour. As we sat chatting, he casually pointed out the tiny candle flickering on the edge of our table, and revealed his secret — the candle was actually made from rendered bacon. Now, I know I’ve always been one to poo-poo the bacon craze. I was willing to look the other way when it came to edible bacon combinations, but drew the line at non-edible bacon paraphernalia like bacon bandages and bacon princess crowns. However , this food/craft has won me over for a few reasons.First and foremost, the idea is genius. Our ancestors used fats and oils as means of fuel for centuries. From whale blubber to olive oil, fat has been lighting our homes and heating our bones for years. Second, I know I am not the only one with a can of bacon fat just hanging out in the freezer. I can’t throw it away for some reason, and there is no way I’m pouring it down the drain. This project completely solves my bacon fat problem! Third and last, (and I’m not sure how on the bandwagon I am with this one) according to the video the guys at Devour put together demonstrating the process of turning fat into candles, once you are relaxing by the glow of your own bacon fat candle you can feel free to dip a piece of toast in, mix a spoonful into a spinach salad; “whatever you want to give a splash of bacon flavor to.” And not to worry, for some reason the smell of the candle isn’t overly fraught with bacon scent. I’m thinking if the candle was manufactured by Yankee, it would be named “Breakfast Memories” rather than “Greasy Diner.”
Enough of my bacon soapboxing — here is how you make your very own candles.
Bacon Fat Candles
1 cup rendered bacon fat
2 tablespoons household kitchen wax
WicksIn the video made by Devour, Max says to use a 10 to 1 ratio of bacon fat to wax. However, John Patrick assures me that it is a pretty unscientific process. I found this ratio worked for me, as trying to perfect 1/10 of a cup was too consuming. Look for the kitchen wax in the canning aisle.
Take a glass container (like a canning jar) and fill with the grease and wax. Place the jar in a large pot with water, and bring the water to a boil, creating a double boiler. It will melt both the grease and the wax, and any browned bits will sink to the bottom. Once all the wax has melted, pour off into your candle holders. I found some cheap glass votives at a thrift store, but you can use a tinfoil cupcake pan or anything else you have on hand.
Serious Eats’ staff picks what they want to eat more of in 2012. I agree with Alaina Browne — we should definitely make a point this year to eat more pie!
Off the topic of bacon to baking — I’ve been craving pound cake for a week. I think this recipe just might help.
Yikes, 259 USDA offices are scheduled to close. What does this mean for our food safety?