I’m convinced that the French were the original everything-tastes-better-with-bacon people. If you were stuck in the middle of nowhere in France with only a gas-station convenience store to shop in, you’d probably be able to find bacon and maybe even lardons (lahr-dahn), short strips of bacon that are about 1/4 inch thick. French cooks often buy their bacon in large slabs, so that they can cut pieces of any thickness to match the dish they’re making. At home, I mostly use sliced bacon, but I cut lardons from slab bacon. Once they’re cut, I blanch the lardons for a minute in boiling water, then drain and pat them dry and sauté them. Lardons make a good topping for soups and salads and are a prime ingredient in Quiche Lorraine (page 157).