Food & Drink

Nothing Says “I Love You” Like Praline Bacon

It doesn’t get much better than this

Photo: Sam Hanna

It’s hard to think of a more romantic gesture than cooking up a batch of smoky, savory bacon bejeweled with sweet brown-sugared pecans; that’s why the New Orleans chef Toya Boudy makes praline bacon part of her family’s Valentine’s Day breakfast spread. But in her new cookbook, Cooking for the Culture: Recipes and Stories from the Streets of New Orleans to the Table, she asks, “Do you really need a reason?” Good point. 

Delicious Southern recipes are the heart of Boudy’s new book, but the stories, poetry, and pictures coursing through its pages capture a life marked by struggle and resilience. Boudy celebrates Black culture, the love of family, and the beautiful city of New Orleans, reminding us that there’s joy in the simple act of doing what we do every day for and with each other: cooking and eating. So go ahead and make this sweet and savory goodness any day of the year. There’s no wrong time to spread the love.

The cookbook is on sale February 7.


  • Praline Bacon (Serves 6)

    • 1 (16-oz.) pack thick-​cut hickory bacon

    • 1 cup chopped pecans

    • 1 cup brown sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Add a baking rack to a sheet pan to allow the bacon to cook elevated, allowing the fat to drip so the bacon can be drier versus swimming in the fat. We need the bacon to be separate from the fat so that the sugar can sit on top instead of the bacon fat washing it away.

  2. Line up the bacon on the rack and bake for about 15 minutes, then sprinkle with the pecans and then the brown sugar.

  3. Bake for 3 minutes. Check on it to see if the sugar is melting; if it needs help, spoon some of the bacon fat on the bacon, and bake for about 2 more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.



Excerpted from COOKING FOR THE CULTURE: Recipes and Stories from the Streets of New Orleans to the Table by Toya Boudy. Copyright © 2023. Reprinted with permission from Countryman Press.