After an incredibly undeserved amount of effort, we are finally approaching the end of this dumbass project. We have each selected our contender, and we’re going to close out our run with some persuasive essays. The ultimate champ will be determined in a manner so stupid that I prefer to not even tell you what it is yet. In any regard, here we go.
Please note that neither of us were allowed to read each other’s argument before writing our own.
The Case for Cheese & Crackers
Against Bacon and Eggs
Before we get into this, let me explain something to you fartknockers. Aside from being a thorough investigator and a model of journalistic integrity, with this bracket I am trying to do one very simple thing. It is something that I am doing in this tournament right now, but also something that I do in my life, always. My number one priority, forever and ever, is to defeat the villain known as Fat Wabu. If you’ve spent longer than ten minutes in a room with this dope, you know exactly why I feel this way. He is a living breathing piece of trash. He was gifted the side of the bracket with the most clear and obvious titans, and has done everything in his power to squander what was given to him. Burger & Fries, Cookies & Milk, Mac N’ Cheese…the list goes on and on. Bacon & Eggs being in the final round here is evidence of overthinking, plain and simple. Wilder though, to his credit, sure loves Bacon & Eggs. That just absolutely can not be denied. Just look at what he wrote last week:
Seems like pretty clear love right there. He Even capitalized the part about breakfast sandwiches for emphasis. That’s how you know it’s real. But wait a minute, what is this I have? Here is a text he sent me on Sunday, August 20th, one day before he published the words written above:
Wilder’s flip flopping aside, as far as classic pairings go, Bacon & Eggs is a little confusing. The flavors don’t compliment each other in any significant ways, and there are plenty of people who prefer other breakfast meats with eggs in the morning (I, myself, am a ham steak daddy). So where did this pair come from? Why are Bacon & Eggs such a staple of American breakfast? I’m so glad you asked. Unlike my competitor, I have done my research. What that research shows, unfortunately, is that BACON & EGGS IS A LIE. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but it’s the truth, and you deserve the truth. History tells us that a man named Edward Bernays, the so-called father of public relations, was hired by Beech-Nut packing company to help them sell bacon in the 1920’s (lol at needing help selling delicious bacon). To give you an idea of who this guy is, he once said “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.” Intelligent manipulation of the masses is important. Yikes. He’s like Loki for breakfast foods. So this monster comes around and gets doctors to say that we need a heavy breakfast in the morning (which, by the way, has since been proven wrong) and part of that breakfast should include Bacon & Eggs. Bingo bango, Murica’ loves Bacon & Eggs.
We have been duped, ladies and gentlemen. Fooled into believing this pairing is something special — something out of the ordinary. I love bacon and I love eggs, but they exist as a pair only because some guy who was really good at tricking people, tricked a whole bunch of people. None more tricked, of course, than one Wilder Franklin Shaw.
Bacon & Eggs is good because they are good on their own. Bacon is more often paired with things other than eggs (burgers, sprouts, mac n’ cheese, literally everything), and eggs are the foundation upon which we build our breakfast kingdoms; they are everywhere. Omelets, scrambles and Benedicts are more likely to include non-bacon meats as their companions, or no meat at all. There is no denying the tastiness of Bacon & Eggs, but this isn’t a food tastiness bracket, it is a food pairing bracket, and I will not let this idol of consumerist deceit taint the sanctity of this tournament.
In Favor of Cheese & Crackers
Look, I get it. It’s a controversial choice.
Maybe you are thinking something like:
Or something even more subtle like:
Or the totally reasonable:
With these very calm and sensible reactions in mind, I would like nothing more than to explain myself, and defend the honor of the true food pair champion: Cheese & Crackers. I have known from the start that the obvious Goliaths on my side of the bracket would never stand up to their Travel Channel Conference counterparts, which is why I was forced to get crafty. It’s why you saw fan favorites like Fried Chicken & Waffles or Bagels & Lox ejected so early, while seemingly less obvious food pairs (with very legitimate justification, mind you) advanced instead. My victory here was going to have to be from a non-traditional source. Enter Cheese & Crackers: scrappy and unassuming. It seems too simple a pair to be a legitimate contender, but after far too many months spent thinking about this bracket, I realized that this is what makes Chackers so damn perfect. For starters, this pair is about the pair and the pair only. It’s not mixing with other foods and it doesn’t need a sauce or a side or any type of garnish. They are two ingredients that work so well that together that they prefer to be left the hell alone, like lovers on their honeymoon, except this honeymoon lasts forever, and it’s made of dairy and carbs. That’s not to say that it can’t play well with others though. Toss some veggies or meat in with those bad boys and you got yourself a stew going.
Wilder has gone on record, several times, saying that Chez N’ Cracks is a one note tune, and not a true pair. Cheese, he insists, does all of the heavy lifting. This may be true for an uncultured simpleton like Wabu, but you and I know better. If you have a sharp Cheddar or a salty Parmesan that is too overpowering a flavor on it’s own, a rich and buttery cracker will balance that flavor out, making both more palatable. If you have a creamy or mild cheese (your Havartis and Bries and whatnot) you just slide them filthy biddies on a more robust and crispy cracker to serve as a vessel for the cheese. THEY ARE LITERALLY PERFECT FOR ONE ANOTHER. Sure you can eat cheese or crackers on their own, or with other things, but they shine the brightest when hanging out with each other.
Think about how often and in how many different ways you have enjoyed this gruesome twosome in your life, and how they have never let you down. Maybe you started with Lunchables or Cheese Whiz with Ritz crackers, as just a young little know-nothing. Before you realize it, you are getting a little wild in the dairy section of a Whole Foods and spending maybe a little too much for some artisinal crackers. But as soon as you get home and they are devoured, you know you made the right decision. This is the perfection that is Cheese & Crackers. They are everything you want them to be, whenever you need them. They were with you at the beginning, and they will sure as hell be with you at the end. They are simple, like all of the best things in life. Look deep inside your heart and you will see what has been there all along: Cheese & Crackers aren’t just a great food pair, they are the food pairing that every other pair aspires to be. They are the Alpha and the Omega. Long live Cheese & Crackers.
The Case for Bacon & Eggs
I’ve got a lot of reasons why Bacon & Eggs kicks the shit out of Cheese & Crackers, but I’ll start with some of the smaller stuff.
For starters, Bacon & Eggs is an actual meal. It’s filling. It’s enough on its own. You don’t need a damn glass of wine to bring it all together. You can have Bacon & Eggs with OJ, or coffee, or nothing at all if you wish. You can have it by itself on a plate or in a sandwich or in a burrito or with some toast or even with some ketchup if you’re one of those freaks. It’s designed to be the first thing you taste in the morning; designed to give you strength, and wisdom, and — dare I say — courage. You starting your morning with Cheese & Crackers like a little fucking fancy boy? Are you Scrooge McDuck, diving into stacks of gold coins every morning? You’ll hardly have enough stamina to go to your job and break boulders or whatever it is you do. Bacon & Eggs is a working man’s breakfast. Food for the everyman.
Bacon & Eggs are you and me. Cheese & Crackers are those suits on Wall Street.
And while we’re on the subject of breakfast, let’s not skim over an important aspect of this whole situation: you can cook B&E by yourself in a reasonable amount of time. Not to say one cannot ferment fresh Cheese or bake fresh Crackers, but who has the time? You really gonna ferment your own Cheese? If you’re fermenting your own Cheese and baking your own Crackers I will admit that’s rad, but it’s hardly a relatable life. Bacon & Eggs — that’s relatable. Whipping up a breakfast that you can look down on and be proud of — that’s relatable. The feeling of admiring your own craftsmanship and thinking “Yeah. Yeah. I did that.” That’s relatable.
McGrath claims Cheese & Crackers are perfect for “any occasion”. I could not disagree more. I’d like to present some occasions to you, and you can tell me just which pairing you’d choose.
• It’s Saturday morning. You had a great night’s sleep, and you have some time for a leisurely work-free morning before you are off to meet your friends at a brewery later. You’re hungry. Do you choose A) Cheese & Crackers or B) Bacon & Eggs?
• It’s Friday night, 2AM. You’ve just done some big time drinking with your friends at a bar. You also have not eaten since dinner around 7ish. Everybody’s hungry. There’s a 24-hour diner down the street. Do you A) go to the diner with your friends to grub down on some 4th meal breakfast & recap the night, or do you B) go home to your apartment to have some Cheese & Crackers before you wind down for bed?
• It’s Sunday morning brunch. A boozy one too, because tomorrow is Jesse & Wilder’s Birthday (yes we seriously have the same birthday & yes it’s a national holiday) so there’s no work tomorrow. What you’ve got on your hands is a serious Sunday Funday. You’re at some trendy ass brunch spot with bottomless mimosas and a nice patio on a beautiful day. The menu has a Benedict special, with wild boar Bacon. It also has a Cheese plate. Do you choose A) the Benedict or B) the Cheese plate?
• You’re at some bullshit uptight Wine & Cheese party where there is nothing substantial to eat and only a few plates of “appetizers”. Nobody is having fun. Everybody wants to leave because Wine & Cheese parties are stupid. Do you chose to A) eat some Cheese & Crackers or B) throw yourself off the balcony?
Perfect for any occasion? Nah.
I’m sure opposing council will also try to convince you Cheese is more complex than either Bacon & Eggs can be, but let’s get something straight. That’s just Cheese we’re talking about it. Crackers have a much lower diversity ceiling. And guess what? Once you’ve made the damn Cheese, ain’t no changing it. You can’t make something new out of it. All you can do is put it on a cracker. Bacon & Eggs, however, is infinitely diverse. You can do so much with it. You can do a straight up plate, with any combination of Eggs. You can make little potato skins with a fried egg on top and bacon bits sprinkled over it. Stick ‘em both in a grilled cheese. Cook ‘em into an avocado with the help of any of those eight bajillion top-down cooking videos people post on Facebook. Make a little cup shape out of the Bacon and bake an Egg inside of it with this dope ass recipe that I’m going to try out immediately. Deviled Eggs with Bacon. Burgers. Frittatas. Pizza. Croissant rolls. Pastry rolls. Hell, even egg rolls. Put that shit in a salad, I don’t give a shit.
MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS, YOU HAVE THE POWER TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT WITH BACON & EGGS BECAUSE THIS WORLD IS YOURS AND NOBODY ELSE’S, AND THE ONLY LIMITS ARE THE LIMITS OF YOUR VERY IMAGINATION.
These two foods go together in so many different ways, never detracting but always adding. No matter what challenge you throw at them, they’re ready for it. And yet no matter how creative or inventive you get, it always ends with humble beginnings: Bacon & Eggs is still perfect on its own.
Which leads me to my conclusion, and it’s the same argument I’ve been giving since Day 1.
This is a food pairing tournament. These are teams. Partnerships. Duos. A group of two that relies equally on each other.
That’s Bacon & Eggs. Cheese & Crackers may be an elite-level pairing. It may be something everybody can reach for at a party and enjoy, but we must accept that they are not equals. Crackers simply don’t pull their weight; they can’t. No matter how fucking special you think Crackers are, they don’t reach the complexity that Cheese does. When you build a proper Cheese & Crackers plate, you’re matching the Crackers to the Cheese. Cheese is the unabashed star, and you know it.
What we’re dealing with here is the same concept that ultimately defeated Burger & Fries. Cheese & Crackers are not equals. Bacon & Eggs are Stockton & Malone, and Cheese & Crackers are Stockton & Stockton’s Buddy Who’s Also Pretty Dope at Shooting But Not Quite Malone.
If this tournament is about pairings, then the title belongs to the best pair.
And that, my friends, is Bacon & Eggs.