Yishi Liang, Editor-in-Chief
Students interested in bacon, extra plush toilet paper or catching a rare glimpse of fellow Grinnellian Jack O’Malley ’17 are in luck: the residents of Apartment #4 in 1205 Broad Street, Zaw Bo, Chae Jeon and Spencer Pajk (all ’17) just so happen to list these three things as defining characteristics of their home, Bacon House.
Despite being named after bacon, the house does not feel unanimously amorous towards it.
“There are a lot of foods that I think can really bring people together, across cultures and within friend groups, but I think bacon really tears our house apart,” Pajk said. “[Chae] will leave the house if we make bacon, and we make bacon a lot.”
Jeon claims to not fully despise the salty meat strips, mostly the smell. She insists her housemates just take it too far.
“Once in a while [I’ll eat it],” she said. “But I don’t search for it.”
As for Bo and Pajk, their love of bacon transcends time and reason. “Last week I was pretty stressed out and what I really needed was some bacon,” Pajk said. He ended up cooking an entire package in a single night and planned to have a dinner comprised solely of bacon, much to Jeon’s dismay.
Unlike her housemates, Jeon is an early riser and has found the presence of bacon in the house inescapable, regardless of the time of day.
“I thought they both had classes at 8 [a.m.] on Fridays, so around 8:15 [a.m.] I started cooking bacon … And Chae came out of her room, got all her stuff from the kitchen, started making her coffee somewhere else and then came back to the kitchen, left the filters and said, ‘Zaw, don’t throw this out, it takes the smell away,’ and left,” Bo said.
In general, the house has found it particularly difficult to find common ground in terms of food. Aside from bacon, Pajk eats exclusively quesadillas and spaghetti purchased from the sale section of Walmart.
“I try to eat at least one quesadilla a day, you know, for the protein,” Pajk explained.
In Pajk’s defense, he is allergic to a number of foods, including soy, nuts and bananas. “Bananas used to be my favorite fruit but I grew into being deathly allergic to them at some point in my life,” he said.
Bo and Jeon have slightly more complex palettes. The two often cook different types of Asian dishes. However, their preference for rice has been a point of contention – Bo eats white while Jeon prefers brown.
Despite their differences, the three still have a weekly house dinner where they rotate cooking duties. “For my week, I didn’t actually cook anything. I just took Zaw to Jon Sundby’s [’17] house,” Pajk admitted. “We grilled bratwursts.”
Luckily, the members of Bacon House have been able to come together through other commonalities such as their adoration for Jack O’Malley.
O’Malley, who works with Pajk for GORP, is a regular visitor to the apartment, so much so that he always gets to claim the house’s finest purple recliner. Considering the apartment’s shortage of seating (they’d like to throw a BYOC, bring your own chair, party where guests then leave their chairs), O’Malley’s rightful seat should not be taken lightly. Bo also previously worked with O’Malley in the Spencer Grill. Jeon had no comments about O’Malley.
The three are often not home during the week, each doing homework in separate parts of campus as their house does not have Wi-Fi. The choice to not have Wi-Fi is in part, according to Bo, to have a very intentional community.
Their lack of Internet is not, however, synonymous with the lack of luxuries in the house. Their living room is home to a single piece of artwork.
“It’s a ‘Manet,’ an authentic ‘Manet’,” Pajk said. “I’m very cultured.”
And their bathroom is home to extra plush toilet paper, which Jeon inherited from her summer roommate. The toilet paper likely proved useful after an incident where Pajk consumed almost an entire three-pound bag of Swedish Fish in a single sitting.
“I worry about him once in a while,” Jeon said.