Bacon and Tomatoes Bruschetta Candle

Having received a new supply of garlic fragrance oil, I have resumed the production of bruschetta garlic toast. Last night I made these tomato and bacon bruschetta.

Instead of using a mold to make the bacon, I literally used a butter knife to place cooling bacon scented wax over the sliced tomatoes and garlic toast. After forming the strips of bacon, acrylic paint was used to provide the touch-ups needed to simulate the appearance of fried bacon.

The tomatoes were made using a mold and a combination of soy wax and medium density candle gel. The gel gave the tomato a moist appearance. I then painted in the seeds and used more gel to slightly obscure them and to simulate the tomato’s pulp.

After going to all of this effort, most of my work was obscured by the bacon.

As a Culinary Arts instructor, I have a love-hate relationship with bacon. While I love the aroma of pan fried or oven baked bacon, it’s always a challenge to work with culinary students whenever anything needs to be fried.

It doesn’t matter if you review what the students will be doing in the kitchen or if you share a hands-on production demonstration video so that your class will be able to see how to make a given product. It doesn’t matter if detailed recipes are provided.

Some students don’t listen. They also don’t read recipes. Since my students typically work in groups of 3-4 whenever we’re in our Culinary Arts kitchen, the smarter students will join groups with at least one classmate who’s attentive and reasonably competent. The students who are less savvy will often group together where their overall incompetence and lack of attention will result in a botched production.

The biggest problem that I’ve had over the past fourteen years that I’ve been teaching Culinary Arts is that some students will burn their bacon. Some will also ignore instructions and will either pour hot bacon grease down the sink or will pour it into the trash instead of calling me to safely collect it.

Pan fried bacon has to be slowly cooked over low heat. Pictured left is what bacon looks like when you cook it over high heat.

“But we thought it would cook faster over high heat,” insisted a student.

I’ve never known what to say to students who burn their bacon that wouldn’t sound critical or judgmental. Did they listen to our discussion? Did they watch the video? Did they read the recipe? Did they monitor the bacon as it was cooking on the stove (instead of distracting themselves by visiting with others and/or using their cell phones). The answer to all of these questions was clearly no otherwise the students wouldn’t have burned their bacon.

Bacon grease poured down the drain will clog the drain. The loss of a drain makes the station unusable until a custodian can dismantle the pipes under the sink to physically remove the congealed grease.

Hot bacon grease poured into the trash will melt through the plastic trash bag causing the bag to rip when the custodians pulls it free to empty the garbage. This forces the custodian to take more time to bag and empty the trash bin. If the bag broke after being pulled free of the bin, the floor will also need to be swept and mopped clean.

The students often don’t see how much extra work they cause the custodians by not following instructions. Since they’re teenagers, it’s likely that some of them don’t even care.

In a perfect world (ruled by yours truly), students who caused problems would get to clean up the mess they had made. The reality is that this usually doesn’t happen and indifferent students will continue to be indifferent and completely insensitive to how their behavior impacts others.

After 31 years of teaching there are admittedly many days when I wish I could retire. It doesn’t help that I’m autistic. While I am a subject matter expert in teaching Culinary Arts and working with food themed candles, my autism precludes me from ever being a people person. More’s the pity.

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