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Bacon mania

Bacon mania

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Bacon mania refers to passionate bacon
Bacon
Bacon is a cured meat prepared from a pig. It is first cured using large quantities of salt, either in a brine or in a dry packing; the result is fresh bacon . Fresh bacon may then be further dried for weeks or months in cold air, boiled, or smoked. Fresh and dried bacon must be cooked before eating...

 enthusiasm in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Canada, and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. Especially fervent in the United States, the enthusiasm has been described as forming a "Bacon Nation". Novelty bacon dishes and other bacon related items have been popularized rapidly via the internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

, and bacon-loving partisans have identified themselves as bacon fanatics, "bacon freaks" or "bacon wankers" [Phillips, 2009].

The movement has been traced to the 1980s and 1990s when high-protein foods became a more prominent diet
Diet (nutrition)
In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. Dietary habits are the habitual decisions an individual or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat. With the word diet, it is often implied the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management...

 focus due in part to the Atkins diet. Since then, bacon focused events and gatherings celebrating the food have been reported and bacon related exploits have been featured in media accounts.

Taste


Arun Gupta of The Indypendent has pointed out how bacon
Bacon
Bacon is a cured meat prepared from a pig. It is first cured using large quantities of salt, either in a brine or in a dry packing; the result is fresh bacon . Fresh bacon may then be further dried for weeks or months in cold air, boiled, or smoked. Fresh and dried bacon must be cooked before eating...

 possesses six ingredient types of umami
Umami
Umami , popularly referred to as savoriness, is one of the five basic tastes together with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.-Etymology:Umami is a loanword from the Japanese meaning "pleasant savory taste". This particular writing was chosen by Professor Kikunae Ikeda from umai "delicious" and mi ...

, which elicits an addictive neurochemical response. According to Gupta "the chain lards on bacon" give foods a "high flavor profile" creating a "one-of-a-kind product that has no taste substitute." This led Dr. David Kessler
David Aaron Kessler
David Aaron Kessler is an American pediatrician, lawyer, author, and administrator...

, author of The End of Overeating, to note how the standard joke in the restaurant chain industry goes, "When in doubt, throw cheese and bacon on it."

Innovation



Newer bacon creations have joined more traditional foods like the BLT, Cobb salad
Cobb salad
The Cobb salad is a main-dish garden salad made from chopped salad greens , tomato, crisp bacon, boiled or roasted chicken breast, hard-boiled egg, avocado, chives, red-wine vinaigrette and Roquefort cheese.-Origin:Various stories of how the salad was invented exist...

, clams casino
Clams casino
Clams casino is a clam "on the halfshell" dish with breadcrumbs and bacon. It originated in Rhode Island in the United States. It is often served as an appetizer in New England and is served in variations nationally.-Ingredients:...

, and club sandwich
Club sandwich
A club sandwich, also called a clubhouse sandwich or double-decker, is a sandwich with two layers of fillings between 3 slices of toasted bread. It is often cut into quarters and held together by hors d'œuvre sticks....

. Bacon appears most frequently alongside eggs and other breakfast foods, but has also been adapted into products including bacon bubble gum, bacon band-aids, sizzling bacon flavored rolling papers, and bacon air freshener. The growing popularity of bacon has also encouraged product introductions such as bacon salt, maple bacon donut
Maple bacon donut
The maple bacon donut is a culinary dessert specialty that has become popular in some areas of the United States. They are distinct from other donuts because of the prominent bacon and maple syrup–flavored glaze used for toppings and have been also discussed in the media as part of the phenomenon...

s, and baconnaise
Baconnaise
Baconnaise is a kosher mayonnaise-based product that was especially made to taste like bacon. It was created by Justin Esch and Dave Lefkow, founders of J&D's Foods, in November 2008 and sold 40,000 jars within six months. It was test-marketed in Grand Forks, North Dakota, in order to determine the...

.

Bacon
Bacon
Bacon is a cured meat prepared from a pig. It is first cured using large quantities of salt, either in a brine or in a dry packing; the result is fresh bacon . Fresh bacon may then be further dried for weeks or months in cold air, boiled, or smoked. Fresh and dried bacon must be cooked before eating...

 food oddities include the bacon explosion
Bacon Explosion
A Bacon Explosion is a pork dish that consists of bacon wrapped around a filling of spiced sausage and crumbled bacon. The American-football-sized dish is smoked or baked....

, chicken fried bacon
Chicken fried bacon
Chicken fried bacon consists of bacon strips dredged in batter and deep fried, like chicken fried steak. It is an American dish that was introduced in Texas in the early 1990s...

, bacon ice cream, and chocolate covered bacon
Chocolate covered bacon
Chocolate-covered bacon is a North American dish that consists of cooked bacon with a coating of either milk chocolate or dark chocolate. It can be topped with sea salt, crumbled pistachio or almond bits. References on the internet date back at least to 2005. The popularity of the dish has spread...

, all popularized over the internet. A bacon alarm clock that wakes people up with the smell of cooking bacon has also been announced. A 2009 Baltimore Sun story describes bacon as being "more than bacon," and stated that for "obsessive and adoring Bacon Nation it's about cheap thrills and a chance for Internet fame." Calling it "like an extreme sport," the article described the innovators and enthusiasts celebrating bacon in all its incarnations.

Organization



The increased interest in bacon has led to Bacon-of-the-month clubs, bacon recipe contests, blogs, and even "bacon camps." Seattle hosted a "bacon camp" where bacon was included in an assortment of bacon dishes and other bacon-related items. Bacon has even been referred to as a fashion statement after a bacon bra was photographed.

The Portland Monthly
Portland Monthly
Portland Monthly is a monthly news and general interest magazine which covers events and culture in Portland, Oregon. The magazine was co-founded in 2003 by siblings Nicole and Scott Vogel. Nicole had previously worked for Cendant Corporation and Time Warner, and Scott had been a journalist at The...

noted that "Bacon is such a quintessential breakfast staple, even vegetarians stake a claim to their own versions." A website called "Bacon Today" was started to provide updates about bacon related happenings.

The San Francisco Weekly reported on the first "BaconCamp" held "in solidarity with the growing popularity of events (see the recent Grilled Cheese Invitational)" and reported that the event "demonstrated just how much of a high bacon is currently on in terms of notoriety and how far people are able to stretch one culinary theme". The event included lectures on bacon as art, a Power Point presentation of the Obacon project (a recreation of the famous Obama Hope poster
Barack Obama "Hope" poster
The Barack Obama "Hope" poster is an image of Barack Obama designed by artist Shepard Fairey, which was widely described as iconic and became synonymous with the 2008 Obama presidential campaign...

), as well as judging and awards. The slide show from the event includes a wide range of innovative food and decorative bacon entities. The San Francisco Weekly advised those attending to live, breathe, and smell like it and to bring a bacon dish.

Events


In and around Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, bacon has featured at various eating and drinking establishments. There is a "clamoring" for the bacon happy hour at Bad Decisions bar in Fells Point which includes a menu that is completely redone with bacon dishes and big bowls of bacon served on the bar (using up to 30 pounds of bacon in a two hour period). A cafe in Hampden offers the Bacon Bulleit, a cocktail of bourbon, lemon, and maple syrup, "with applewood smoked bacon replacing the swizzle stick."

The "Bacon Takedown
Matt Timms
Matt Timms is a promoter of American food events, in particular a "legendary" series of casual "takedown" competitions in which local amateur chefs compete to cook a particular ingredient...

" competition in Brooklyn, New York, was held March 29, 2009 and featured 30 contestants vying for the best bacon dish. The winner was bourbon-bacon ice cream. The "Bacon Mania" ABC News segment covered the event and noted that $2 billion in bacon was sold in the United States in 2008 and that "with the bacon business booming... you might say our love affair with the breakfast meat is more passionate than ever".

On February 28, 2009, the second annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival in Des Moines Iowa hosted a sell-out event for more than 300 people. First held March 1, 2008, on National Pig Day
National Pig Day
National Pig Day is an event held annually on March 1 in the United States to celebrate the pig. The holiday celebration was started in 1972 by sisters Ellen Stanley, a teacher in Lubbock, Texas, and Mary Lynne Rave of Beaufort, North Carolina...

, it was founded by Brooks Reynolds, a Des Moines insurance salesman who had been going on summer weekend bacon pilgrimages before deciding to bring the fried feast to the masses. The event included a bacon eating contest. Atwood's Tavern in Cambridge Massachusetts hosts an annual bacon eating contest.

Humor about bacon includes an April Fool's day story about a putative all-bacon restaurant and the supposed creation of "squeezable bacon" including a video advertisement.

Finally, a group of graduate students in Boulder
Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is the county seat and most populous city of Boulder County and the 11th most populous city in the U.S. state of Colorado. Boulder is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of...

, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, has established an International Bacon Day
International Bacon Day
International Bacon Day or Bacon Day is an unofficial observance, often celebrated on the Saturday before US Labor Day...

 celebration which is now in its fifth year.

Possible decline


Negative publicity surrounding swine flu
Swine flu
Swine influenza, also called pig influenza, swine flu, hog flu and pig flu, is an infection by any one of several types of swine influenza virus. Swine influenza virus or S-OIV is any strain of the influenza family of viruses that is endemic in pigs...

, which is not transmitted via pork product consumption, hit sales and prices in the pork
Pork
Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig , which is eaten in many countries. It is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC....

 industry. Heather Lauer
Heather Lauer
Heather Lauer is the author of the Bacon Unwrapped blog and the book Bacon: A Love Story: A Salty Survey of Everybody's Favorite Meat. The book was published May, 2009, and the blog will be in its fourth year as of July 2009.-Writing on bacon:...

, author of Bacon: A Love Story, said of the impact, "Bacon has been around for thousands of years. It has survived numerous health scares. Anyone who attempts to capitalize on this recent event in an effort to destroy the best meat ever will fail."

Seattle's The Stranger
The Stranger (newspaper)
The Stranger is an alternative weekly newspaper in Seattle, Washington, USA. It runs a blog known as Slog.-History:The Stranger was founded by Tim Keck, who had previously co-founded the satirical newspaper The Onion, and cartoonist James Sturm. Its first issue came out on September 23, 1991...

published a story entitled: "The End of Baconmania: Our Long Coronary Nightmare Is Almost Over", and predicted the movement had "almost run its course" and was in its "terminal stage". "First, there was Bacon Salt... Then came its inevitable progeny, Baconnaise—like Bacon Salt, only with mayonnaise... Then, in quick succession: bacon maple doughnuts; gummi bacon; bacon-flavored lip balm; chocolate-covered bacon; bacolicio.us, a URL add-on for superimposing a photo of a strip of bacon onto any webpage; the Wendy's
Wendy's
Wendy's is an international fast food chain restaurant founded by Dave Thomas on November 15, 1969, in Columbus, Ohio, United States. The company decided to move its headquarters to Dublin, Ohio, on January 29, 2006. It has been owned by Triarc since 2008...

 Baconator
Baconator
The Baconator sandwich is a hamburger sold by the international fast-food restaurant chain Wendy's. It is one of their late-teen–to–young-adult, male-oriented products.-Product description:...

 (self-explanatory); and the Bacon Explosion
Bacon Explosion
A Bacon Explosion is a pork dish that consists of bacon wrapped around a filling of spiced sausage and crumbled bacon. The American-football-sized dish is smoked or baked....

, a bacon-wrapped loaf of pork sausage that was the subject of an 1,100-word article in the New York Times... Not to mention bacon vodka
Bacon vodka
Bacon vodka is vodka infused with bacon flavor, part of a larger trend of "carnivorous cocktails" and the addition of savory flavor to mixed drinks...

, bacon tattoos, the bacon bra, bacon-flavored dental floss, and bacon bandages."

The author refers to the mania as an anti-foodie trend, a time when declaring one's love for and consuming large quantities of bacon products became a sign of joie de vivre
Joie de vivre
Joie de vivre is a French phrase often used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life; an exultation of spirit. Joie de vivre"can be a joy of conversation, joy of eating, joy of anything one might do… And joie de vivre may be seen as a joy of everything, a comprehensive joy, a philosophy...

 and noted, "Trends inevitably go through their phases—early adoption, buzz, general excitement, overexposure—and bacon is in its terminal stage, clinging to relevance, grasping at any opportunity to cash in on its dwindling cachet as its 15 minutes come to an end". The article suggests a time when battered, deep-fried, bacon-wrapped bacon sandwiches might not be celebrated as the most enjoyable of food experiences and the "killjoy"s and "food Nazi"s who denounce bacon overconsumption for its negative health implications may soon prevail in their granola
Granola
Granola is a breakfast food and snack food, popular in North America, consisting of rolled oats, nuts, honey, and sometimes rice, that is usually baked until crisp. During the baking process the mixture is stirred to maintain a loose, breakfast cereal-type consistency...

 eating and vegan advocacy. The article concludes: "Take off the 'I Love Bacon' shirt, cancel your trip to Baconcamp, and go eat a piece of celery. It's over."

The day after the "end of" story was published, an article starting with the words "All Hail Bacon!" noted that a Poynter Institute
Poynter Institute
The Poynter Institute is a non-profit school for journalism located in St. Petersburg, Florida. The school's mission statement says that "The Poynter Institute is a school dedicated to teaching and inspiring journalists and media leaders. It promotes excellence and integrity in the practice of...

 report found bacon taking the social media networks "by storm" and that the meat's popularity is "now practically at an epidemic pace, as all of these socially interactive sites are literally pulsating with posts, updates, comments, even clubs / groups dedicated exclusively to the LOVE of Bacon!" Efforts to alleviate flu concerns and fight back against the anti-pork and bacon tide have also been reported.

See also


  • List of bacon dishes
  • Seduced by Bacon
    Seduced by Bacon
    Seduced by Bacon: Recipes & Lore about America's Favorite Indulgence is a cookbook about bacon written by Joanna Pruess with her husband Bob Lape...

    book on the subject
  • Heather Lauer
    Heather Lauer
    Heather Lauer is the author of the Bacon Unwrapped blog and the book Bacon: A Love Story: A Salty Survey of Everybody's Favorite Meat. The book was published May, 2009, and the blog will be in its fourth year as of July 2009.-Writing on bacon:...

     – author of the Bacon Unwrapped blog and book on bacon
  • Epic Meal Time
    Epic Meal Time
    Epic Meal Time is a YouTube cooking show known for creating extremely high-calorie meals, generally out of meat products and including alcohol . It debuted in October 2010, and since then has started to release an episode every Tuesday. It is hosted by Harley Morenstein and a group of his friends...


Further reading

  • Joanna Pruess Seduced by Bacon: Recipes & Lore about America's Favorite Indulgence October 1, 2006 The Lyons Press 192 pages ISBN 1-59228-851-0 ISBN 978-1-59228-851-9
  • Bacon: A Love Story: A Salty Survey of Everybody's Favorite Meat Heather Lauer

External links