September 22nd, 2006
A BACON TOMB
So I built two little lexan boxes. Rectangular prisms, if you will. I found some great glue that doesn't stain or fog the lexan too; it's a clear gel glue from Goop. If you're working with lexan and need a strong (but slightly flexible) bond, then Goop is your stuff.
To continue the breakfast theme, I chose a raw egg as the companion to the bacon. I only did one of each, too, because it's not in my nature to waste food. This is a semi-scientific experiment, sure, and a small sample set comprimises the accuracy but...come on...it's bacon. That stuff's awesome.
I placed a strip of bacon in the long box, then gently cracked an egg into the tall box. Then I sealed them up and kept them out of the sun for a while. But for how long?
...but for how long?
Wowee. Alright guys, through the magic of the internet, we can take a fully-aged sample out of this over here, har har. Now take a look at this. The bacon tomb is outstanding! And so is the, uh, egg-prison. Box. Thing. But not for the same reasons.
Actually wait a second. Let's pause to consider: it really took two months of time for the project to reach this stage. Clearly my wife loves me.
The egg, after two whole months exposed to its own air supply, has shown absolutely no degradation. Can you believe it? Nothing! No discoloration, no mold, no drying out even! The only noticeable change after two months was a couple flecks of condensation up on the sides of the box. Weird. Strange. Kind of cool in its own way, but I was really hoping for some wild purple and green fungus or something to come out of there.
The bacon on the other hand.
Well. The bacon - much like Ash's hand
from the Evil Dead series - went bad.
Check out these photos.
At two spots on the strip, fuzzy white mold (fungus?) cropped up like crazy scientist hair!
All over the surface, bubbly tan lumps rose up. Was this the fat rebelling and swelling? Was it some third party mold taking hold of the porky surface and thriving in squishy glory?
In some spots the bubbly tan lumps broke down into terrible little bacon tomb latticework structures of pure fatty evil.
Dang, that's crazy. Two months of containment and bacon flips out. I guess I would too.
And now you know how important it is to store food properly! Okay, no one's going to go around eating two-month old unrefridgerated bacon (I hope) but still..it's interesting to see what happens to it, nah?
Back in the founding days of America, the colonists would take large sides of beef and pork and preserve them as best they could by salting and drying them and packing them tightly in wooden barrels. Unfortunately the barrels would often leak or at least let some moisture through (unlike Lexan!). This resulted in dried slabs of bacon coated with an exterior inch or so of rancid, putrid, moldy death. But what would the colonists do? Surely they couldn't afford to throw away the whole side of bacon. Like moldy cheese, they would just slice off the exterior casing of rancid meat and eat what was in the middle.
This all shows you two things. One: we're very blessed to be living in the age of refridgerators, freezers, and shrink-wrapped food. Two: those colonists, much like myself, really love their bacon!
Oh and this probably isn't the end of this experiment...I'm keeping these cases tucked in a corner of my desk. I'll report on it in another couple months...I think I see a hint of green.
UPDATE: - I asked the American Egg Board (you know, the "incredible, edible egg!" jingle people) if the egg was safe to eat, since it looked okay. Here's their sensible response:
The American Egg Board forwarded your question to me.
Definitely do not eat the egg.
The general rule is to discard any perishable product
that has been out of the refrigerator for 2 hours or more.
Even though the egg in your experiment looks ok, it is not safe to eat.
Please let me know if you have questions or need additional information.
[Name withheld to protect the sensible] PhD, RD
Egg Safety Center