"Bacon is hot right now," so says James Norton, blogger for Chowhound's, The Grind. And who can really argue with him with July 7th being day one of Salon's week long series of stories dedicated to the Pork Belly. Sarah Hepola kicked off the event with her article Bacon Mania, in which she ventures to answer the question, 'Why are Americans so batty for bacon?' Now I am a professed lover of bacon and can hardly argue with anyone who wants to blabber excessively on topic however, when bacon becomes the product of intellectual debate, I must admit, it find it wholly unappetizing.
In her article, Hepola attributes part of bacon's growing popularity to the fact that it is, as she puts it, 'rebellion'. Now, sure pork has been forbidden by both the Torah and the Qur'an for hundreds and even thousands of years. And yes, bacon has been condemned by doctors and dietitian alike, but be honest people, can we really claim that Bacon's popularity is merely a fat drenched means of 'giving the finger' to the healthy, kosher, and halal. Though for some the finger factor may be an added benefit, I am certain that it is only secondary to the number one reason for its popularity, and that is that it tastes good!
Hepola goes on to claim that bacon is also 'sexy.' This one would be hard for me to contradict considering only four posts ago, I myself described how I made Candied Bacon ice cream in an attempt to woo a boy, claiming that in my opinion, 'any man who could turn down a scoop of this stuff atop a stack of pancakes must have some serious problems, or he could be a vegetarian. Either way, I'm not interested.' But wooing is very different than seducing and the notion of bacon as sexy makes me think of the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza is attempting to eat a pastrami sandwich while in bed with his girlfriend. Ah, not so sexy.
My biggest gripe with Hepola's claims about the 'bacon chick movement,' is that she claims that it is an Internet joke. To support her claim she links to this bacon flow chart, this add for a Bacon Robot, and the invention of Bacon cake, and Bacon ice cream. Though yes, these all happen to be very funny, they are at the same time, quit serious. Why just the other day i was frying up some bacon for a salad I was making and my thinking just so happened to flow down may of the same avenues mention in the flow chart. As for the robot, we all know how seriously I take my foodie robots. And the cake and ice cream, there is nothing funny at all about how freekin' amazing Bacon ice cream is. In fact, its so good, it doesn't make me want to laugh, it makes me want to cry. But perhaps, to some, this is extremely funny. To each his own.
Truthfully, when I think about it, Hepola's claims are not at all unfounded. What bothers me about it is just that, thinking about it. Bacon has somehow been transformed from a decadent breakfast item that is to be eaten, into an indulgent intellectual item that is to be dissected; so some of use like to play with our food, and some of us like to eat it. If there is something I myself am guilty of, its thinking and talking way to much about food. The one part of Heola's story I can really jive with is that, 'Bacon is America.' America is a free country and therefore, for you bacon can be subversive, silly, and sexy, and for me bacon can be breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I guess what I am trying to say is that, if bacon is anything, for me, Bacon is freedom.
Some more bacon for thought,
Bacon is dead! Long Live Bacon!
Belly Of The Beast
Going Whole Hog