Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Trichinosis Affair

Dad always vehemently made certain that any ham or pork-derived meal be fully cooked to its proper temperature. He did not want to die from trichinosis. Whatever in the world was trichinosis. Even being the grandson of a doctor, I had no clue about this mysterious ailment; I suspected, from shared confused eye-rolling expressions, neither did my siblings. Mom simply would tell him to stop being overly dramatic – to his continued protests about not wanting his demise coming from contracting the apparently vile disease. Nonetheless, breakfast – especially those on family-day Sunday, whether at home or a fancy pants brunch locale – invariably involved bacon. It was not a consideration, but the centerpiece. Eggs or, on special occasion, French toast was the underlying accessory to the meal, not vice versa.

When I was involved in a major car accident, I initially had to stay in the hospital for a few weeks. Stable enough to eat solid food after a few days, my first breakfast was missing something. Yep, the bacon. I knew this was the case because tell-tale crumbs (i.e. “bacon bits”) and an emptied space were left on the incomplete plate consisting only of eggs and toast. Immediately, I complained to the dietitian, medical staff and anyone else who simply ignored my distress at this egregious and nonsensical slight. Their reasoning for the removal? My blood pressure was elevated. Well, no duh! I had just been in an accident...and then you took delicious bacon from me! My soul was crushed, and my spirits demoralized. [Read further about this and much more in my personal narrative, Echoes From An Unexamined Life -]

Years later, I would be introduced to a different accompaniment: peanut butter. Upon first reflection, I was both intrigued and chagrined. How had this marvel of a concept never crossed my mind? I loved bacon, I loved peanut butter. Why, in all things holy and the time spent on this planet, had I never thought to put the two together? Now, it seemed my entire life had been a waste of cursory ignorance. As happens, though, it is never too late to experience anew the unknown. Thus, I set about making it so at the earliest convenience...which was lunch the next day. Okay, technically it was breakfast, but more like that mid-period between breakfast and lunch that is not yet brunch. Blunch? Breach? Either way, the taste of this newly discovered concoction - placed between two slices of toast - was nothing short of euphoria as they mingled on my taste buds. My brain cleared and filled with enlightened awareness, my body tingled in excited acclamation and my mouth uncontrollably blustered for more.

To say the least, I instantly was hooked on this wondrous medley.

A handful of my alleged “friends” think bacon is gross. To dissuade their wrong opinion, I unfriended them; unfortunately, this did not have the desired effect, but such negativity has no place in my world. My dad would agree...just so long as the bacon is properly cooked! Because, obviously, no one needs trichinosis either. (First observed by famed English pathologist, James Paget, as a “sandy diaphragm,” my later inquiry would detail that it is in fact a very serious but treatable parasitic disease that infects the muscles caused from undercooked meat. Sorry for the years of disbelief and mockery, dad!) Thus, I, as we all should, shall forever eat delicious, healthy bacon at a proper, healthy temperature.

Because where there is bacon, there is life. 

©2016 Steve Sagarra

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