Bacon, you may notice, is the building block for many of our recipes. In fact, we recommend bacon much the same way the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends breads and cereals.

Generally, we like to make our own bacon and hams during pig-butchering season in the fall. One 150- to 200-pound pig should give you plenty of bacon to get you through tailgate season.

In lieu of that, get good, smoky bacon from places like Dakin Farms in Vermont, which will deliver to any part of the country. They sell sliced and bulk bacon. Use the bulk bacon and cut it into little cubes for stews, jambalayas, chilis, etc. Use the sliced bacon for good, old-fashioned frying. It is the general opinion of the 225 Club that store-bought bacon, while down-right tasty, is an abomination when compared with the thick, smoky slabs of pork belly that inhabit the higher branches of bacon's evolutionary tree.