THIS column is not about bacon — honest it isn't. I WANT TO TALK to you about whole grains. I could babble on about bacon, but I only eat bacon on Sundays, while I eat whole grains every day of the week. Really.

Besides, our bacon-of-the-month club subscription (www.gratefulpalate.com) expires soon, so I'm trying to put bacon out of my mind. You're probably curious, though, which bacon I liked best. If this column were, in fact, about bacon, I would tell you.

OK, I'll tell you. But then it's on to amaranth, barley and whole-wheat couscous. Beeler's bacon beat them all. It kicked pork butt.

I'm writing this on Sunday, having had Beeler's bacon this morning. It's almost lunchtime now, but I can still taste it. My folks and I only had two slices each, but this is thick-sliced bacon. You know all those other brands in the supermarket that say they're thick-sliced? Well, they're not.

There are only 10 slices of bacon in a pound of Beeler's. That means just three slices are over a quarter-pound. Who needs a hamburger patty with bacon like that? One slice equals 10 percent of a pound. It's kind of cool, knowing how much each slice weighs, isn't it? Did I mention that a slice of Beeler's bacon is more than 11/2ounces? There are still four slices in the refrigerator. Just downstairs. Sitting in the meat drawer. But I won't be having that for lunch. Oh, no. There is also a big pile of leftover tabbouleh in the refrigerator. Which brings me back to today's topic of whole grains.

But first I want to be clear that it's not just the size of this bacon that makes it so glorious. No. Last Sunday, before I had made up my mind about devoting this column to whole grains, I had a bacon taste-off.

This company, see, kept harassing me about its bacon. They wouldn't leave me alone (OK, they only sent me two e-mails). But — get this — the name of their product is Sunday Bacon. Very clever.

I don't care if Bush is listening in, but you've got to wonder what these bacon companies are up to. I mean, how did they know I only ate bacon on Sundays? So anyway, they send me some bacon in the mail, because I, um, asked them to. And then I cooked it up along with a few slices from our last pound of bacon from the bacon-of-the-month club.

Well, let me tell you. This Sunday Bacon is pretty good. Not real thick, mind you, and it is one of those 12-ounce packages — like Niman Ranch bacon, which is also really good stuff. My go-to bacon, in fact. But 12 ounces? Come on. Just because you practice good animal husbandry and all, we're talking bacon here. Beeler's bacon — often sold under the "Hog Wild" label — doesn't mess around with ounces. Nope. Full pound.

Anyway, this Sunday Bacon, made by Applegate, is really good eat-out-of-hand bacon. Good chew. Clean flavor. Dry-cured. It's not all weighed down with nitrates and stuff. So I'm enjoying my Sunday Bacon, when I go for a slice of this bacon-club stuff: Newsom's Old Mill Store Hickory Smoked Country Bacon out of Kentucky. Holy cow! This bacon is so smoky and salty and fatty — it's like a pound in each slice. The tomato paste of bacon. It needs a Jack Daniel's chaser. I mean there are fat crystals in the salt crystals and salt crystals inside the fat crystals.

I imagine if you put a slice under a microscope, it would be like looking through a giant kaleidoscope at a pig admiring itself in a mirror. Ever-receding crystals of pigginess.

But I'm cool. I go back to the Applegate Farms Hardwood Smoked Sunday Bacon and have another slice. But the thrill is gone. Now it tastes like kids bacon. Church bacon. Maybe that's why they call it Sunday Bacon.

You only eat it in your Sunday finest. I start imagining putting it in an organic quinoa salad. Ever had quinoa? Good grain, that. And good for you. Even if you put a little bacon in it.

Well, all this whole-grain talk has got me kind of hungry, so I'm going to go have some tabbouleh. Though, I've been thinking. That Newsom's bacon is intense. Too much for eating out-of-hand. But I wonder how it would be on a BLT? All that porky saltiness would be perfect against some semi-ripe tomatoes and a shmear of mayonnaise. It might even be better on a BLT than Beeler's would be.

I've got enough of both downstairs to do a taste test. On whole-grain bread, of course.

Reach Nicholas Boer at nboer@cctimes.com or (925) 943-8254.