I'm making a bacon butty. The bread has been cut thick, and the butter spread over generously. The frying pan is heating - there is a dash of olive oil on the base because I'm weak. I sprinkle in some pepper - just to gauge the heat of the oil, and it fizzes so I lay the bacon in slowly. It's smoked streaky bacon.
I turn the heat down low - I want the fat to render out and char the rashers a little so that the bacon is browned and there are crispy bits on the pan floor.
As the fat and juices are released the pop and sizzle of good bacon can be heard, the smell begins to waft through the kitchen. At a low heat the bacon undergoes it's transformation gradually. Firstly the pink of the flesh warms through the strips - almost imperceptibly replacing the redder rawness. The release of the juice and fat shrinks the meat, but at this heat there is no writhing and wriggling in the pan, rather the strips relax in the manor of those in a sauna.
Then as the heat builds in the pan the streaks of fat begins to marble, sweating then popping as they spit white along the length of the bacon. Staccato movements jump the rashers, the quick strokes of an unseen paintbrush in the throws of an action art frenzy. I flip them over to ensure both sides are browned and the edges gain crunch. Again the ninja ghost artist slashes along the fat turning translucence to white, then to a glossy wood brown as the fat catches just enough.
With the bacon just so I transfer it to the bread, watching the butter melt where it touches and seeps into the surface - creating more joyful contrasts of texture. I scrape over some crispy specks (and much to my wife's disgust a little of the cooking oil), dollop on some tomato sauce and smear it across, place on the lid and bite.
It's a bacon butty. So why the fuss? Well two things really. The first - to me a good bacon sandwich - a true butty, is close to the apex of culinary achievement. The second is more to do with the moment when I realised the aesthetics in the process of cooking (not just the final product), and I realised the involvement I had in the act of making - and the joy in that process.
You could argue that it was the science of the procedure - the chemistry of the changing of states that fascinated, which is true an extent. Though I would have to say the transition of form and blend of colour was what stopped me during breakfast and made me smile.