One of the grand old traditions of the criminal justice system that I remember hearing discussed throughout my life is the practice of allowing a death row inmate to select whatever they wish to eat for their last meal before execution. While I certainly don’t plan to do anything that would result in my being put on death row, in the unlikely event that I should end up there, I know what I want for my last meal – a BLT. But not just any BLT – a BLT from The Peanut.
I have always loved bacon, which was considered a fantastic thing in my home when I was growing up because my daddy’s side of the family had a hog farm. All things pork were considered right and good and true in my home – but of everything, I loved bacon the most. My three favorite ways to have bacon when I was growing up were plenty of plain fried bacon – medium, not still fatty or burned black – or on BLTs. (I also dearly loved fried eggs, sunny side up, cooked in bacon, but that might be another post). The bible doesn’t say much about it in the creation story, but I am pretty sure that God created the BLT on the 8th day. The standard for BLTs in my home was pretty high, because my grandma and my mom gardened and would come up with some of the most beautiful tomatoes west of the Mississippi.
One thing you learn as you go through life is that if you talk about things too obsessively with people too often, folks start looking at you funny – so for the most part I kept my baconaholism to myself in most areas of my life – until about 2 years ago or so when I was talking to some software developers at work and they learned of my affinity for bacon. One of the developers was recounting a witty story about how his 2 year old would happily eat 1/3 pound of bacon or more for breakfast without breaking a sweat. As I expressed my admiration for this child, and to my colleague for clearly raising her right, I was asked one of the most pivotal questions of my culinary life.
“If you like bacon so much, do you like BLT’s at at The Peanut?”
Now, The Peanut is a chain of bar/restaurants in the KC area that is known primarily for good beer, good chicken wings, and for being the type of place where your feet are likely to stick to the floor if you stand still for more than 10 seconds. At the time I was asked this question, I had lived in the KC area for about 8 years and had never actually consumed *food* at the peanut. A beer after work, sure – but I’d never even had one of the chicken wings that people talk about. So I had no knowledge that BLTs were even available at The Peanut.
Upon learning that I was uneducated in the ways of the BLT, these developers insisted that we schedule a little BLT lunch day at the peanut for a few people. Since everyone knows developers hate anything to do with meetings, I was put in charge of sending out an Outlook meeting invitation to a select group of about 5 people who were known BLT lovers for a date later that week. Word traveled through the office, and the lunch group grew until ultimately 19 people from my office showed up at The Peanut – and every single person ordered a BLT.
People, The Peanut elevates the BLT to an art form. The bacon was perfectly cooked – meaty, not greasy, not burned – and plentiful. The tomatoes were tasty, and the sandwich had the extra zing of a little bit of red onion, a small amount of shredded cheddar cheese, and a little bit of black pepper. You can get it as a single, a single with extra bacon, a triple (which has an extra piece of bread like a club sandwich), a triple with extra bacon – and you can get a fried egg on top. (People. Trust me – get the fried egg. Really.)
For my first BLT, I got the triple with onion rings , not realizing that perfectly good space for bacon would be taken up by extra bread on the triple – but it was delicious. I was in heaven. That very day, I realized that I had found my death row meal, and from then on, I became the instigator of occasional BLT days with colleagues from my office. When I was laid off from this employer, I realized that while I wouldn’t miss the job, I would certainly miss BLT days with my friends from work. Luckily, when I got a new job in another part of the city, I learned that there was a location for The Peanut near my new office, and so I’ve started the tradition of BLT days with my new co-workers.
There have been periods of time where I didn’t have a BLT day for several months at a time, because I was worried about the impact to my waistline. My preferred BLT these days – the single BLT with extra bacon and a fried egg – is not exactly a low-calorie food, so I would sometimes avoid them for a long time because I was attempting to focus on losing my weight. But here’s the thing about the death row meal and weight loss – there is ROOM for it. Losing weight is a marathon not a sprint – or at least it is when you are trying to lose over 100 pounds like I’ve been working on for a few years. To lose that much weight, you have to be able to create an eating plan that will create the necessary calorie deficit for loss, but also will be sustainable long term. In my world, that means a BLT day about once a month. So by gum, I’m going to HAVE that BLT and enjoy it.