From The Luggage Tuesdays Cookbook: Vegetarian Alternatives to Bacon

Just because you're vegetarian doesn't mean you can't read about bacon on the internet like everyone else. 

Bacon has a smoky kick, a comforting crunch, an otherworldly hint; it's also nasty, salty, dominating and heart-stopping. This over-glorified luncheon meat appears in recent recipes as a savior, the missing link between "mmmm" and "there's bacon in this effing chicken dish!" Its sexy siren seduces all, except vegetarians. Shame, since vegetarians like to get seduced and bedded, too. Just not with bacon. But there's alternatives, alternatives to bacon.

Since bacon and lists are popular internet searches, here's a list of bacon substitutes:

What It Is: Green leafy herb.
How Is It Like Bacon: Like bacon, cilantro is vastly overrated and overwhelms anything it gets sprinkled on.
Drawbacks: Not substantial meal replacement, overpowering.
Advantages: Healthiest food on list.
Let's Cook: Add chopped cilantro to salad, beans, tomato and lettuce sandwiches.

Butter and Olive Oil
What It Is: A mixture of two basic ways to sweat onions.
How Is It Like Bacon: Overpowering, indulgent and unhealthy way to saute vegetables.
Drawbacks: Gilding the lily. Not healthy. Will never replace bacon drippings.
Advantages: Less chest-clenching than sauteeing with bacon drippings. Meal won't taste like bacon drippings urine.
Let's Cook: Greens, kale, beans.

What It Is: America's first commercially available soy product.
How Is It Like Bacon: Crunchy, smoky, with distinct Bac~Os® taste.
Drawbacks: Uniform taste makes Bac~Os® the Folger's of the imitation bacon world.
Advantages: Healthier than bacon.
Let's Cook: Put them in grilled cheese or trail mix.

What It Is: It's crunchy or chewy imitation vegetarian bacon.
How Is It Like Bacon: Looks like bacon. Sorta.
Drawbacks: Seems pointless.
Advantages: Keeps you vegetarian.
Let's Cook: Make sandwiches. It's ideal with fake chicken.

Sea Salt
What It Is: Larger, chunkier, saltier version of land salt. AKA Douchebag Salt.
How Is It Like Bacon: Like bacon, sea salt adds savory irony to any sweet dessert.
Drawbacks: Sea salt overwhelms every dish through its deafening saltiness. Probably worse for health than bacon itself.
Advantages: Small sprinkle alters everything.
Let's Cook: Add to desserts in lieu of bacon. Create sea salt fudge, sea salt caramel, and stupid hipster cupcakes.

What It Is: Salty sheets of sea stuff. Also known as "sushi tuxedos" and "".
How Is It Like Bacon: In theory, could be used to salt up chili and baked beans.
Drawbacks: Didn't work.
Advantages: Got to use "Let Me Google That For You" without coming off as too passive-aggressive.
Let's Cook: Chop up, add to saute oil or mix into chili. Hope for the best.

Liquid Smoke
What It Is: Unused bottle in spice drawer.
How Is It Like Bacon: Bacon's smoky, right?
Drawbacks: Is this what it has come down to?
Advantages: Gimmicky.
Let's Cook: Add to strips of bacon.

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