Bacon

 

Homer: I’ll have the smiley face breakfast special. Uhh, but could you add a bacon nose? Plus bacon hair, bacon mustache, five o’clock shadow made of bacon bits and a bacon body.
Waitress: How about I just shove a pig down your throat? (Homer looks excited)
Waitress: I was kidding.
Homer: Fine, but the bacon man lives in a bacon house!
Waitress: No he doesn’t!

 Ah, bacon! 

I think if you ask most vegetarians they will tell you that what they miss most about the omnivorous life, they’ll tell you, “bacon”.  Of course! What’s not to love about bacon? Humans are genetically programmed to love fat and salt.

 There are some vegetarian bacon substitutes on the market and some of them are pretty good and give you that bacon flavour to accompany your eggs or your BLT. It’s not quite the same, but it will do. And we have the comfort of knowing that while it might not be completely bacony, at least no pigs had to die.

Making real bacon is not complicated. They take some pig meat and cure it in brine with tons of salt. Then you fry it and eat it. Some bacon is dried for a while in cold air or boiled or smoked.

The word “bacon” comes from Germany (The Fatherland of Pork Products).  The old German word “bacho” means buttock.

Bacon is usually made from pig buttocks, but there are other types of bacon made from other cuts of meat. In the US, bacon is made from pork belly to produce the American “streaky” bacon. 

There’s also back bacon made from cured pork loin in the middle of the pig’s back. It’s very lean and meaty and ham-like. It’s the preferred style of bacon in the UK, I understand, though Americans often refer to it as Canadian bacon. No one knows why. Seriously — who eats this stuff in Canada???

 Cottage bacon is thinly sliced lean pork cut from the shoulder; cured and sliced into oval(ish) pieces.

Jowl bacon is cured and smoked cheeks of pork.

Slab bacon is very high in fat and is made from the pork belly (also known as fatback).

Collar bacon is taken from the back of a pig near the head.

Peameal bacon is a variety of unsmoked back bacon, brined and rolled in a meal made from ground yellow peas or cornmeal.

Picnic bacon is from the shoulder under the blade. It’s lean but also tougher than other bacon.

More than 2 billion pounds of bacon is produced in the U.S. each year.

In fact, in the US and the UK in particular, a whole bacon cult has developed with bacon being added to every imaginable food and/or drink.

Not too long ago, the Bacon Explosion became an internet sensation and the most popular recipe on the internet in both the US and the UK. It’s a 5,000 calorie, football-sized  pork dish where you wrap bacon around a filling of spicey sausage and crumbled bacon. Then you wrap it in foil and bake in or smoke it on the BBQ.

 

There’s bacon-flavoured vodka, called (appropriately enough)  Bakon Vodka, with the tagline: “Pure. Refreshing. Bacon.” With it, you can make a “bacon shot” by crumbling fried bacon in the bottom of a shot glass and adding some Bakon Vodka.

 

There’s bacon chocolate, bacon ice cream, bacon candy, deep-fried bacon, chicken-fried bacon, bacon-fried chicken – or how about a bacone? This has a week’s worth of saturated fat and a day’s worth of calories and salt. It’s a cone made out of bacon, filled with scrambled eggs and country gravy, and topped with a biscuit.

 

Each year, on the Saturday before Labour Day, some countries celebrate International Bacon Day . This year it will be September 4th. You spend the day eating bacon and bacon products, watching Kevin Bacon movies and/or other movies starring pigs such as Babe.

There are Bacon-of-the-month clubs, bacon camps all over the US and Canada, and a whole host of bacon blogs and websites.

Bacon has absolutely no nutritional value. It’s pretty much just fat and salt with a teeny bit of protein.

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56 responses to “Bacon

  1. Ah…a post that truly speaks to my heart! 🙂

    Though I didn’t like the bacon I had, when I was in Australia.

    For one thing, they’re not into big bacon-and-eggs cardiac breakfasts. No such thing as the $4.99 specials…the cardiac breakfasts typically cost $10.00-$12.00, because they’re a “specialty” item.

    Their bacon is like ours, but it’s round. And has pieces of gristle in it. (Gross!).

    Great country, Australia.

    They just dont’ know how to do bacon.

  2. Bacone sounds…..interesting? Although I never understood the whole “Canadian bacon” thing, there is now such as thing as Quebecois bacon (I name it like that anyway) which is the world’s best bacon made by Gaspor (gaspor.com) in the Laurentians who specialize in milk-fed piglets. Not your typical industrial pork farm. Love the stuff but we only have it once in a very rare while for obvious reasons. Thanks for the insight.

  3. Sure, it’s totally empty calories that go straight to your hips. But it’s still unbelievably delicious!

    I’ve never seen as much bacon in the US as I have here in the UK. Holy cow (or should that be pig), there are so many different types of bacon it’s hard to imagine.

    I like bacon with pancake or French toast so that a little of the maple syrup mixes with the bacon. That way you get, salty, fatty, sweet goodness all in one bite.

    I think I need to go for a jog, just talking about all that bacon.

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention Bacon « XUP -- Topsy.com

  5. mmmmmmmm……. bacon..
    I’ll bet that this bacon post draws much more positive comments then your war deserters posting.
    And pigs will gladly die for our cause of bacon… 🙂

  6. I eat veggie bacon (the strips are best, but hard to find! Argh!), but when I was eating meat bacon, I preferred the ‘ham’ type. Eating pure fatty bacon like they do in the US is gross!

  7. @Lebowski

    I dunno…maybe we’ll get a commenter suggesting we stop killing animals and eat nuts and berries instead.

    Or maybe we’ll get another communist manifesto,.

    About the petty Bourgeoisie and how bacon fuels the Amercan capitalist-industrial-tool-complex so they can perpetuate their War Crimes. 🙂

  8. Pingback: August 21: Baconfest 2010

  9. Frair – Yes, I thought this would appeal to you. What is a typical Australian breakfast then??

    Mr. Jazz – Re these piglets fed on pig milk or cow milk? Because the latter would be weird.

    Kimberly – When I was looking up fascinating bacon facts, I did notice that bacon and the UK were often mentioned in the same sentence.

    Lebowski – Although people are not able to be rational about bacon, I think it will still be a more positive post THAN the war thing.

    Pauline – You mean the Yves bacon strips?? They’re everywhere. The best veggie bacon I ever had was at Sadie’s Diner in Toronto. They get it from King’s Café in Kensington. I bought some there to bring home, but it doesn’t travel well and just didn’t taste the same. The first time I had it, I was convinced it was real pork bacon and they were trying to pull a fast one. Next time you’re in Toronto, you have to try it at Sadie’s.

  10. @XUP
    They’re really into sausage rolls, served hot.

    You find them everywhere…bakeries have them sitting out on the rack, by the dozens.

    The impression that I got..was that they thought the bacon/eggs/toast/hashbrown thing was weird.

    The food over there, in general, isn’t fantastic. Adequate, yes. But not great.

    My Ozzie girlfriend at the time couldn’t get enough of “North American” food when she visited here.

  11. I do love bacon. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I rarely eat it since it wreaks havoc with my IBS. But that one strip I allow myself 2-3 times a year is heavenly – probably more so because I so rarely eat it. Plus, it’s Gaspor (which looks incredibly stupid in English but is a play on words with the name Gaspard)…

    But when you really think of it, bacon is sort of disgusting isn’t it? Maybe I should try the veggie stuff.

    PS: How did I miss yesterday’s post?

  12. I have a friend who is an Orthodox Jew. I swear he talks longingly about his bacon memories once or twice a week. I found him kosher bacon flavoured salt.

    I also know several vegans who make exceptions for bacon a couple times a year.

    One of my whole food crunchy granola friends fried homemade tofu in bacon fat this week. My mouth still hasn’t stopped watering.

    Apparently something in it activates our umami (sp?) taste buds (so do potatoes and mushrooms – and this explains why despite toxicity we’ll still eat toxic plants like nightshades and fungus. )

    I absolutely adore bacon, thank goodness for local organic grass fed pigs!

  13. Bacon, yes! I didn’t realize there were so many different kinds. Streaky and Peameal are what I’m accustomed to.

    I hear bacon and chocolate are good together; just found a recipe for “Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies with Maple Cinnamon Glaze”. Might be worth a try.

  14. Friar – Well, that tears it – I’m crossing Australia off my list of places to visit. A hot sausage roll is NOT breakfast.

    Jazz – If you’re going to try veggie bacon try the Yves bacon strips. The round ones aren’t as good. Let me know what you think.

    Mudmama – I don’t get the thrill of having bacon once or twice a year. You compromise your principles for such a rare treat? Why not just find nice veggie bacon? And the person who fried tofu in bacon fat – are they vegetarians?

    Davina – Well, you’ll have to let us know how those cookies turn out. Also, I think pretty much anything wrapped in chocolate OR bacon is good, so why not together, right?

    James – I think it IS pretty much the same kind of bacon except one is wrapped in peameal and not smoked or cured or something – same cut though.

  15. That kosher bacon salt that mudmama mentioned is vegetarian. You could sprinkle that on your tomatoes and lettuce for a faux BLT.

    As much as I love bacon I like to sometimes substitute capicola or prosciutto just for a change of pace on things that call for crumbled bacon on top. They are both good on a baked potato.

    I’m surprised no one started the great bacon debate. I cook mine to the texture of an extra crunchy potato chip and do not like to eat bacon that’s soft, fatty and chewy.

  16. bacon: nature’s miracle. (best t-short slogan ever!)

    now i will be dreaming of that bacone for days. where can i find one of those. i need to geto to the store and buy me some bacon. it’s been to long.

  17. A friend of mine from Virginia sent me a Vosges “Mo’s Bacon Bar” at Christmas: “applewood smoked bacon, alderwood smoked salt and deep milk chocolate.” Best. Thing. Ever.

    Except maybe for the bacon on a bun you can buy at the Carp Farmers’ Market every Saturday.

    And yes, bacon is just fat and salt, but despite that, it does have health-related benefits:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/5118283/Bacon-sandwich-really-does-cure-a-hangover.html

    So after a long night of bacon vodka shots, a bacon sandwich is just what the doctor ordered.

  18. Ah, bacon. Reminds me of the UK cooking show “Two Fat Ladies.” Now that was a cooking show!

    I enjoy eating back bacon at the “Bacon Bunner” hut on the canal in the winter (at the Concorde rest area). It’s back bacon on a bun. Tastes great. So yes, we do eat it in Canada.

    I’m curious about this ’round’ Australian bacon Friar refers to. Could you link to a photo online that matches this description?

    – RG>

  19. mmmm bacon, it is from ‘some wonderful, magical animal’ after all *g*

    Hell with the steak, I’m having a blt for dinner! There is something just so right about a crispy piece of bacon…not that I’d turn down a lovely fried slice of peameal (which I’ve always called back) bacon…

  20. Jay – Evil indeed

    Lebowski – Arggghhhh!

    Geewits – I’ve discussed that bacon salt with Mudmama before. I just keep forgetting to look for it. And I’ll start the bacon debate – when I ate bacon I liked mine just a little cooked – nice and chewy – I even ate it raw sometimes.

    Smothermother – Yay! Bacon for supper!

    Alison – Oh dear. I’ve seen the bacon chocolate at Grace in the Kitchen.

    Grouchy – I remember that show. They were hilarious!

    Neeroc – Yay! Bacon for supper again!!

  21. At the local Brazilian steakhouse they serve bacon wrapped things.
    Bacon wrapped PORK.
    Bacon wrapped TURKEY
    Bacon wrapped CHICKEN
    Little mini Bacon wrapped FILET MIGNON
    I asked the waiter why so much was bacon wrapped and I loved his answer: “Because it you wrap bacon around anything it is better!”
    He then offered a bacon wrapped sausage to my date and I ended up going home alone. 😦

  22. I used to love bacon, especially when I was a kid. I used to eat it just barely cooked, while it was still soft. I will NEVER understand how people can eat bacon once it’s all crispy and ugh… it takes away any flavour that it once had and ruins the whole point of meat by making it as crunchy as toast. I think it’s a slight against bacon everywhere.

    However, in the last six months or so, I’ve been totally turned off of bacon. I just can’t stand the taste of it — plus the disgusting amount of fat and salt, it’s just sooo bad for you — artery clogging strips of pork!

    Oddly, since I’ve gone off bacon, it’s been popping up EVERYWHERE. Literally, I hear at least one reference to bacon. There was a news article on the 6 o’clock news about bacon the other night. Now this blog post, plus people at work raving about it. I hear people debating the pros and cons of bacon, and I always jump in to say how disgusted I am with bacon and how I can’t eat it anymore.

    I don’t think I’ve ever typed the word bacon this many times in a comment, ever.

  23. I love bacon, but in moderation. I only like the slab (pork belly) bacon though. I’m also kind of known as silly in my family in terms of what I eat meatwise. I’m no vegetarian or anything, but since I saw the movie Babe when I was 10 years old, I’ve refused to eat pork, except for bacon. No ham, no kababs, etc. Although lately I was somewhat forced to try pulled pork on a bun and I really liked it. But anyway, all to say that I love bacon even though “I don’t eat pork”. Also, I don’t eat anything other than adult cow (no veal), chicken and turkey… I’m a weirdo.

  24. I love bacon. Yum. I try not to buy it all that often because my family and I eat far too much when I do cook it. I could live without most meat but I know that I would miss bacon and I’m not sure I could give it up entirely!

  25. Bacon.
    Wrapped in a butter smothered piece of white bread. Wrapped like a pastry roll. I like some HP sauce with it.
    Dipped first in a small bowl of traditional pork ‘n beans (Heinz. Of course).
    Then followed with a munch or two of some cretons (for those who are ignorant of this delicacy, Google it).
    Accompanied of course with 3 or 4 eggs fried in the fat of said bacon…
    Ah. Bacon.
    Ah. Blood pressure.
    Ah, 911?
    But whatta way to go!

  26. @ Lebowski
    If bacon were to be declared illegal, this pacifist would join you on the line with pitchforks and torches.
    And guns. Lotsa guns.

  27. Junkie Monkey – I didn’t like crispy bacon back when I ate bacon, either. And I totally hear ya about typing bacon so many times. I haven’t even really thought about bacon this much in years

    Stephanie – Someone forced you to eat pulled pork? I’m pretty sure there’s a law against that. I’d report it if I were you.

    Betsy Mae – It’s possible to give up bacon, take my word for it. Although if there weren’t halfway decent vegetarian options, I reckon I would miss it a lot. Breakfast just isn’t the same without it.

    Trashee – I think you should start posting recipes on your new blog. Start with this one…

  28. I like bacon but I don’t love it. I do like it occasionally crumbled in a salad which defeats the purpose of a healthy salad. My Scottish Grandparents liked to eat bacon and eggs when they came to visit every summer. As a “treat” my Gran would fry bread in the pan of bacon fat. Ugh. I can’t believe my Mom let us eat that stuff.

  29. I like turkey bacon more than real bacon. The fake stripes of fat are surreal. Like we won’t eat it unless it LOOKS like it’s bad for you.

  30. Ah hem, Friar, we do eat bacon, often, with eggs and stuff.
    But bacon icecream or chocolate? No way.

  31. Trashee – I think that would add to the fun and mystique. I would have second thoughts about voting for Harper if he suddenly just started talking about bacon all the time and eating bacon all the time.

    MM – Fat was good for us in the olden days – remember my schmaltz post?

    Dave – Hmmmm….

    Heather – I don’t even eat meat and I would rather eat pork bacon than turkey bacon. I don’t know why, but I always just found eating chickens and turkeys a lot more revolting than eating cows and pigs.

    Penny – I gather you are an Aussie? Good to know bacon hasn’t passed you by. And that you have the good sense not to mix bacon with chocolate or ice cream.

  32. Actually, bacon is something I hate the taste of. It just ruins the taste of things for me! I was a vegetarian for almost a decade, and now I eat meat but I still can’t eat bacon. Nothing worse than a great salad ruined by bacon bits, or a yummy pea soup ruined by chunks of bacon. Bleh!!!

  33. As much as I love bacon Julie, I hate it in things like soup too.

    Also, I think ordinary bacon tastes like chemicals. Kinda like fake smokew and maple (ick)

    I get local organic bacon and it tastes totally different, salty yes, but clean tasting. I can’t describe the difference any other way, I think it’s picnic bacon. It has very little fat on it and it’s cut thicker and is a little tough to cut.

  34. Hahaha! I am enjoying bacon this very minute. It is hard to get good bacon in Islamic Malaysia as (anything from a porker) it is pretty much the most reviled form of non-halal meat. But I am not there. I am in bacon friendly Bali right now. Guess what I’ve had for breakfast these last couple days? It’s just gotta be bacon. And I am pretty sure, I will be feasting on babi guling in the near future (spicy whole roasted pig).

  35. Pingback: It’s Bacon! | Realm of the Lone Grey Squirrel

  36. Interesting, how some vegetarians will shun meat, but still (sort of) want to eat it. So they’ll buy things like fake bacon and tofu dogs.

    That’s kind of cheating, I think.

    Maybe we meatatarians should make fake “veggie” dishes. Like lentils made out of meat-pellets. Or steak and fat bleached and processed to look like tofu.

    That way, we can cheat, too. 🙂

  37. I really feel bacony today – was from reading this… So I am off to Wendy’s for a baconater with fries…. Damn you XUP!

  38. Did even better!
    I went instead to the costco and bought an ASS LOAD of bacon – the thick kind with applewood smoking and made my own single baconator!
    It included 1 “500 gram patty” and a half pound of bacon and a large slab of 2 year old “Balderson” Cheddar!! YUMMY YUM YUM!!!!!
    I’m going to sleep now and let the bacony goodness hit my heart…. maybe see you in the morning! MAYBE!

  39. Julie – Okay, I completely don’t understand how you can be vegetarian for 10 years and then start eating meat again?? I get that some people toy with it for a few months or even a year or so and then go back…but 10 years???

    LGS – Gorge on pork while you can, my friend. Don’t they even make that nasty turkey bacon in Malaysia?

    Friar – I think we discussed this before. There are a lot of different reasons for being vegetarian, right? Some people might not like meat, some people just might not like eating dead animals; some people won’t even eat fake meat. I don’t know why you think it’s “cheating” if I eat a tofu hot dog. Who am I cheating?

    Lebowski – What are you going to call that thing? The Terminator?

  40. dear god i had no idea there were so many choices for bacon. pork in general freaks me out, their waste is very toxic to humans so pig farmers have a hard time disposing of it.

    i think this proves that the human race are completely bonkers.

  41. I’d been a vegetarian for a year when I told my Dad I’d make him his favorite casserole for his birthday. Baked Bean casserole which has bacon and hamburger. I shopped around until I found a local farmer who did everything possible to make his pigs and cows enjoy life short of not slaughtering them. held my nose while I fried up the hamburger, but by the time I finished crisping the bacon, I was having a BLT and a glass of milk. Bad vegetarian! I swear I had a hangover the next day.

  42. Kimberly – He has, so I guess he purged after his binge.

    Daniel – Hey, kosher includes some pretty revolting stuff, too.

    Leah – They’re all victims of Mad Pig Syndrome.

    LoLa – Bad, bad vegetarian. Did you go back on the wagon after?

  43. that is far more about bacon than I ever knew or dared to ask.

    it is the gateway meat. whenever I feel a tug away from vegetarian, it’s to that. it’s not a body part. it’s bacon…

  44. Pearl – Funny about bacon and vegetarians isn’t it? The meat I remember most is the beef ribs that a local pub used to do every Thursday night (all you can eat beef ribs) Man they were good. Tender, meaty, flavourful, served on the bone. Bacon comes a close second though.

    LoLa – Ya, I’m an XUPatarian. I eat eggs (organic) and fish (but no shellfish) and goat cheese (but no other cheese). It confuses people.