Brazen Bacon: Why We May Need A Bacon Intervention

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus. Image: Royal Bacon Society

The four friends glanced around nervously. “Are you sure we should be doing this?” one asked.

“I won’t tell if you won’t,” another replied.

“Hey – it’s still legal, you know,” I said. They all nodded, because it was true. There was no law prohibiting the possession and distribution of bacon. We passed the platter and dug in.

That was a few years back, before the bacon boom hit.

Now, it’s a brave new world. People who once hid their habit now proudly proclaim their proclivity for this pork.

Comedian Jim Gaffigan calls bacon “the most beautiful thing on earth.” Stores are selling bacon-laden ketchup, gravy mix, and a mayo concoction called “Baconnaise.” Bacon clubs will send you gourmet selections each month. You can buy bacon jerky, popcorn, pretzels, candy brittle, coffee, chocolate-chip pancake mix – and bacon-flecked lollipops marketed as “Man Bait.”

Yes, there are porky possibilities at happy hour. Order a “bacontini” made with bacon-infused vodka. It’s one of the trendy, new “carnivorous cocktails.”

But wait, there’s more: Bacon gumballs, gummy bacon, bacon mints – and MMMvelopes, printed in a streaky pink pattern and smoke-flavored.

Maybe you know someone who prefers the stylish look of bacon over its taste. Give that fashion-plate a bacon necktie, wallet, scarf, belt or socks. Manage your schedule with a daily “Bacon Love” calendar.

Bacon makes the perfect hostess gift. The lucky recipient can serve bacon on a platter crafted to look exactly like, well, a platter of bacon. And who wouldn’t love receiving swine-scented candles and room fragrance spray? For daily grooming, choose bacon soap, toothpaste, dental floss and lip balm.

How do we explain this bacon mania?

I tracked down Heather Lauer, author of Bacon: A Love Story: A Salty Survey of Everybody’s Favorite Meat . Faster than you can heat up your griddle, she emailed me: “Humans have been enamored with bacon for thousands of years – it’s an amazingly delicious treat that actually evolved out of a basic need to preserve meat for long term consumption.”

But why now? Lauer credits “the explosion of social networking and the ability to order food products over the Internet.” Add to that the bloggers who cook up new (and sometimes bizarre) recipes; it seems almost everyone is jumping on the bacon bandwagon.

Bacon’s taste is unique, a combination of sweetness, smoke and salt that makes it unmistakable – some say addictive. Lauer agrees, and proclaims this phenomenon a “basic instinctual attraction.” Consider The Sticky Pig, which crafts its own brand of candied bacon and calls the confection “human catnip.”

And that’s the curious thing about an addictive or intoxicating substance: Often, the more scarce it is, the more hungrily we crave it. Today, bacon is everywhere. But when something is everywhere, it might as well be nowhere.

Remember when eating bacon felt dangerous? When the habit was something to hide?

I’m not suggesting a porcine version of Prohibition. It’s fine to partake of bacon wherever, whenever.

But I have a confession to make: Sometimes, I really miss those days when eating bacon felt so good. Because those were the days when its reputation was so bad.

Are you addicted to bacon? Take this quiz and find out.

More from WFAEats:

Bacon Explosion: A Recipe for Bacon-Induced Comas

Bacon A Gateway Meat?

For more bits of bacon, check out these books and websites:

Seduced by Bacon: Recipes & Lore About America’s Favorite Indulgence by Joanna Pruess, Bob Lape and Liesa Cole

I Love Bacon! by Jayne Rockmill

Sex and Bacon: Why I Love Things that Are Very, Very Bad for Me by Sarah Katherine Lewis

The Republic of Bacon



Filed under Quirky

8 responses to “Brazen Bacon: Why We May Need A Bacon Intervention

  1. My name is Theresa and I am a Baconholic! I have loved bacon since I was just a child. However, I’m not one to love it in confections, dressings or drinks. I take my bacon straight! I’m a hardliner. And, do I feel guilt for loving bacon? Absolutely. I can’t help but have that niggling in my mind telling me that it has got to be clogging the crap out of my arteries!

    Love this article.

  2. Even when I’m being good, which isn’t often, I never give up the bacon.

  3. Thanks for the mention! Great article, if you need help in the future with another bacon article. You know where to find us! 🙂

    Keep up the great work.

  4. Pingback: Bacon Explosion: A Recipe For Bacon-Induced Comas // WFAEats

  5. I am recent convert to bacon! I even started collecting the bacon grease left in the pan for other cooking. I still can not bring myself to try bacon chocolate and candy but weekend breakfast table boasts a good selection of bacon 🙂

  6. JRogers

    What a delightful story, and what wonderful memories of bacon and other guuilt foods. I try to avoid these things on a regular basis, but every once in a while one has to indulge. Otherwise, we are missing out on not only one of the great pleasures of life, but we are also becoming more disconnected to the foods of our last and our ancestors. It is just one of the many ways that one can stay more aware of where we come from and how that past informs who we are today.

  7. At first you had me worried since I have at least “sale weight” of bacon in the fridge. But then I thought to myself, “No! The only thing that prevents health nuts from eliminating bacon is for bacon lovers to do nothing.” My credo includes two core beliefs. One, everything is better with the pig. And, two, bacon is the choicest product of the porcine arts.

    So bacon lovers, do not be intimidated by those who would ridicule you. Throw off your chains! Revel in your love of bacon! You have nothing to lose but your craving.

  8. Pingback: Nothing Says ‘I Love You’ Like Bacon // WFAEats

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