The last batch in my kitchen has a 50-50 chance of burning. Cookies... pancakes... bacon. I don’t cook bacon on the stovetop, too messy. If I plan well enough in advance, I like to bake it in the oven. Otherwise, I microwave it. I’ve microwaved bacon often enough to usually get that nice, brown, crispy state on the left side of the plate. The right side of the plate is when I thought it needed to be just a bit crispier, so I pushed the 2-minute button on my way to the eggs in the skillet. It was the last batch of bacon. I nearly swooned when I opened the microwave. Simultaneously, the smell of Grandma Murphy’s farm kitchen whooshed over me and Granddad Mills' words rolled triumphantly off my lips, “When it’s brown it’s cooking, and when it’s black it’s done!” A vision of Grandma’s black iron skillet on the stove followed. Then the microwave plate landed on the counter next to Liam.
“I’m not eating that. And black is not done. It's burnt.”
“You’re not eating that: I am. And black bacon is just crunchy; it’s not burnt.”
And it's a delicacy on bread with lots of catsup.
And you would never say ‘I’m not eating that’ to Grandma.
And you would sit next to Granddad and eat blackened food, happily crunching away, just like he did. Fully thankful for the hands that prepared it.
My memory often lapses, but smells and tastes can take me to places in the past over and over again.