YONKERS, N.Y. – A Yonkers mom has teamed up with a New York City author to pen a cookbook with a simple motto: everything is better with bacon.
Marie Rama and Peter Kaminsky’s “Bacon Nation,” a cooking guide featuring 125 meaty recipes all centered on bacon, hit bookstore shelves earlier this month.
Inside are step-by-step directions for creating delicacies like bacon jam, bacon granola bars and bacon swizzle sticks for Bloody Mary's.
“There are so many wonderful ways bacon can make dishes, from appetizers to desserts, so much better,” Rama said.
Rama's love affair with cooking, and bacon, began at an early age. Her grandparents, both Italian immigrants, raised chickens, pigs and cattle on a 25-acre farm in Yorktown Heights, selling the meat in their specialty grocery store, Briccetti’s Bedford Market in Bedford Hills.
As she got older, Rama continued the family’s cooking legacy as a recipe developer and food writer, co-authoring “Cooking Basics for Dummies” and “Grilling for Dummies.”
“Food has always been my life, professional and otherwise,” she said. “It’s all I know how to do and it brings us all together.”
The recipes in “Bacon Nation” are the product of two-and-a-half-years of work as each dish was personally tested by Rama in her Park Hill kitchen. Her favorite creation: bacon, chocolate and peanut toffee.
“You have all of those elements and they all work together,” she said. “The flavor just jumps out.”
What you won’t find in the book, however, are any of what Rama calls “overkill” recipes - stomach-churning dishes like the bacon wrapped Twinkies or bacon-stuffed, deep-fried Peeps that have popped up over time.
Each recipe in “Bacon Nation” was created with a health-minded approach, Rama said, using bacon and its juices as a seasoning ingredient to add to the taste of dishes like tangerine chicken or yellow fin tuna.
“There are those bacon explosion recipes out there that are really gross and there is so much bacon and fat and cheeses that you run screaming in other direction,” she said. “This book is kind of book opposite. These are really good dishes that are made better with bacon.”
For the weight-conscious eaters worried about packing on the pounds with a bacon-centered diet, Rama said there is no need for concern. In fact, she actually lost weight despite eating the meat every day while she created the book.
“The meals were so satisfying by the time dinner came around I wasn’t that hungry,” she said.
While Rama’s time in the kitchen may be done for now, her work outside is just getting started.
Already she has appeared on QVC's "In the Kitchen With David" and in the coming weeks she has trips planned throughout the South and Midwest, promoting the book and talking bacon.
“It’s a busy time but it’s nice,” she said. “After more than two years of doing this book, this is my reward.”