Bring on the Bacon

Feedloader (Clickability)

The so-called "swine flu" is making the pork industry sick. Sure, public health officials say it's as safe as ever to eat pork, but many consumers seem to have lost their appetite for "the other white meat" in recent weeks. Not our sister blogger, Sarah, however! As today's guest writer, our science blogger offers this homage to a particular pork product:

A food blogger who doesn’t like bacon? “Fire her,” my friends joked recently.

But we’ll forgive Amanda for her heresy; she is a self-admitted recovering vegetarian after all, and could we really expect her to rave about both quinoa and bacon and write well, too? But at least I can fill this hole in Food & Think.

You may have noticed that every six months or so, there is a wave of bacon news on the Internet; I often then find a wave of bacon-themed emails among my friends. Our monthly Sunday brunches, you see, are now centered around the bacon in the frying pan, and the RSVP's most important purpose is to allow our host to determine the necessary poundage. Mention something that sounds like “bacon fest” and heads will turn, details eagerly sought.

We’re not alone in our love. Last year, for example, Salon had a Bacon Week, with multiple articles devoted to the crispy pork product (yes, bacon has to be crispy, otherwise it’s underdone). My favorite quote? "Bacon is the cocaine of the '00s," says author Sarah Katherine Lewis, "a visible sign of decadent rebellion.'" For my group, eating bacon is a hedonistic treat, one most of us indulge in only once a month, with friends. Consuming it every day would spoil the sensation (and our arteries).

Our latest round of bacon emails was spurred by a recent article about the “bacontrepreneurs” who invented Bacon Salt and Baconnaise. (Their motto is “Everything should taste like bacon.” However, their products contain no bacon—they're actually vegetarian and kosher.) Is this really a good idea? Jon Stewart has shown that the Baconnaise is probably rank, but what’s the point of bacon-like products? The kosher nature of some of these is obviously a draw for those who are otherwise excluded from the bacon fun (we received a recommendation for Bac-O’s, which are also kosher, from a Jewish member of our group, but a non-Jewish friend had to be consulted on their taste—she described them as “like bacon on steroids”). I think I’ll stick to the real thing, though. There seems to be too many fake foods in our lives.

Once I started delving into the world of bacon, I realized that not only are my friends and I not alone in our excitement, but we are on the sane end of it. There are Bring Home the Bacon Dangle Earrings on Etsy, for instance, gummy bacon (The Feedbag blog calls it an "affront," though) and instructions for bacon-infused vodka and the bacone, bacon fried into a cone shape and filled with eggs, hash browns and cheese, topped with a biscuit and country gravy. And then there is the Canonical Bacon Page, created by the man who taped bacon to his cat a few years ago and then was inundated with all things bacon.

Me, though? I’ll just enjoy my three pieces of pepper bacon, possible from the Amish market, munched as I gossip with friends. And I’ll have to leave the rest of baconalia to the real fanatics.

Get the latest Travel & Culture stories in your inbox.