Gypsy Ways

12 Sep

Bacon, The Old-World Way

The family had been to a cookout last night.  The lead singer (and creator) of my daughter’s band–The TurnAround–shameful self-promotion, duly noted–had booked a gig for what he had mistook as last night. Evidently, right day; wrong month. So, what else does a band without a gig do for laughs?  Why, throw an impromtu cookout.

Band leader grilled loads of hot dogs, hot dog sauce (a West Virginia staple), and baked beans. Walmart chocolate chip cookies and s’more fixings rounded out the picnic table offerings. Notice, no fancy food here.  All, but two–namely me and the hubby–spanned the following demographics: teens, Gen X’s, and barely thirty-somethings.  

No dishes spawned from strange ingredients requiring subscriptions to Bon Apetit and Cook’s Illustrated. If  you can’t open and throw onto a grill or plate, then it won’t be on this band leader’s table.  He’s old school. West Virginia born and bred.  

Like a Gypsy, he roams the state by day–an environmental engineer. By night, he’s a musician’s musician, roaming the state (and a few others), spreading the Gospel through contemporary music to our youth, hungry for something/someone positive in their lives. 

And…like a Gypsy, he likes bacon. Apparently a food staple in the Gypsy pantry throughout Hungary. While we were roasting our pleasant, and ubiquitis, s’mores, band leader approaches the campfire with a long stick. Unlike our sticks–oozing with white, squashed cylinders–his was wrapped with something strangely familiar to the rest.  Bacon. One slice of the piggly-wiggly, wrapped tightly around the top eighth. He held it in the fire, turning it slowly, telling us the ‘tale’ of  “Gypsy Bacon.”  Taking much longer than roasted marshmallows allowed for the ‘tale’ to be told as only a native West Virginian could.

Violin girl was intrigued. (She’s the grasshopper to his musical sensei.) In true Sensei fashion, band leader gently instructed her in the ways of Gypsy bacon wrapping. After several attempts, violin girl was ready to roast.  We stared intently upon the Gypsy stick, marvelling at bacon’s fat rendering abilities and wondering if violin girl had it in her to sample the result. Like a true West Virginia girl (adopted, really), she savored every last morsel.  Gypsy Sensei nodded approvingly.

When I got home, I couldn’t help myself. I had to know. Was there really such a thing as “Gypsy Bacon?”

Sadly, yes.

Worse, still…I can’t get Cher’s song out of my head. “Gypsy, tramps, and thieves…”


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