Whenever I write a heartfelt column about my love of bacon, I get a lot of hate mail.
Some of it comes from clinically insane bacon-haters whose central point is that I am an idiot and that by eating succulent strips of cured pork, I am not only clogging my arteries, but threatening our overburdened health system with imminent collapse.
But most of the cyber-anger flows from jealous readers who are outraged that I would have the unmitigated gall to publicly suggest anyone could possibly love bacon more than they do.
In an attempt to calm these troubled, grease-covered waters, today I am going to set out to prove there is more to me than just delicious bacon.
There is also noodles.
I say this because the other evening, when my wife was late coming home from the office, I decided to prove to my family that the many long hours I have spent lying on the couch watching The Food Network have not been in vain.
After scouring the kitchen searching for ingredients I believe to be edible, I decided to prepare a dish that history will remember as "Linguine la Doug." If your spouse and children already hate you, this is definitely a recipe you will want to try. Here's what you'll need:
1) A large pot of boiling water;
2) Freshly made linguine noodles are a must, so you are going to have to buy them at the store because, let's face it, you don't have a clue how to make fresh linguine noodles;
3) Two jars of sauce with a label featuring Paul Newman's face so that, even if your spouse hates the food you have lovingly prepared, she can cheer herself up by staring at the label and, in a dreamy voice, commenting on the late movie star's "bedroom eyes";
4) A fridge full of cold beer.
Just like a real TV chef, the first thing you'll need to do is crack a cold beer, because you have definitely earned it. Next, set the kettle of water on the stove to boil, then go into the den, plop down on the couch and watch that episode of The Walking Dead you recorded on your PVR.
That screeching sound you will eventually hear is not an innocent TV victim being eaten by hordes of undead zombies; it is the noise the alarm in your kitchen makes when the water on the stove begins boiling over and creates a massive cloud of steam, because it totally slipped your mind you were making dinner.
Help yourself to another beer because, as anyone who has ever watched The Food Network can tell you, this is sweaty work.
Now that you've slaked your manly thirst, pour the contents of Paul Newman's face into a saucepan and turn the stove element to high until the sauce is bubbling like a backyard hot tub. Dump the noodles into the kettle and return to the den to resume being frightened by The Walking Dead.
En route, pause to root around in the fridge for another beer. When you realize your wife, who you had assumed loved you, has forgotten to restock the fridge with your favourite beverage, hop in the car and drive to the beer store, because there is no point in trying to make a delicious meal if you are not going to stick to the recipe.
When you get home, remove the noodles from the boiling water. If you have followed the recipe exactly -- PRESTO! -- the noodles will now be magically glued together into a single, giant, starchy, congealed blob the size and shape of a regulation volleyball.
Plop the linguine volleyball on an attractive serving platter and douse it liberally with the tomato sauce. Plant a smile on your face and carry the sauce-coated ball of pasta into the dining room and display it for your family.
This is the point where your grateful family, impressed by your culinary skills, will shower you with praise. At least that's what's supposed to happen. In our house, not surprisingly, they reacted as if I had just served up the remains of a zombie's last supper.
Staring at the congealed clump of dripping linguine, my kids began helpfully moaning: "BRAAAAAAAAINS! BRAAAAAAAAINS!" Then they made sandwiches.
Whereas my wife, She Who Must Not Be Named, was somewhat more sensitive. "Why don't you go watch your zombie show, dear," she chirped, "I'll clean up in the kitchen."