Profess your love in pig
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A dozen roses and a box of chocolates. These classic Valentine’s Day gifts are oldies, and certainly goodies, but why not flex your creative muscles a little this year? Your Valentine is bound to love whatever you give them, but as long as they’re not a vegetarian, I propose you change it up a little: profess your love in meat. Bacon, to be exact. Crispy, salty bacon can be rolled up into a shape that looks eerily like the roses you’d find at a flower store on February 14. Stick them onto the stems of de-petaled artificial roses and present them to your beloved (or a good buddy).

Preheat the oven to 400ºF and cover a sheet pan with foil. Lay a wire rack over the pan and set it near wherever you’ll be rolling up your bacon.

Roll up a slice of thick-cut bacon with the whiter, fatty end on the bottom. Stick two toothpicks into the bottom of the rose crosswise, then place the rose on the wire rack. Repeat with remaining slices of bacon, leaving at least ½ inch of room between each rose.

Place the tray in the oven and bake the roses for 20-25 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp and dark. Pull the tray out of the oven and let the bacon cool.

No time to bake bacon? You can make roses with cured, ready-to-eat meat, like serrano ham or prosciutto.

While the bacon is baking and cooling, prepare the rose stems. Pull or cut off the petals from a bunch of plastic roses, leaving the plastic rod (or rods) at the base of where the bud was still intact.

Remove the toothpicks from the bacon roses and plunk the meat onto the plastic flowers. Enjoy the bouquet as a centerpiece or snack. Not to be a killjoy, but in terms of health and safety, if your bacon roses have been out on your table all night after a party or dinner date, please don’t eat them the next day. Hours-old room temperature meat will not make for a pleasant or safe bite.