Bacon and Hams

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Bacon and Hams
Bacon and Hams page.jpg
Page from Bacon and Hams
Author George J. Nicholls
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Subject Bacon
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher Institute of Certified Grocers
Publication date
Media type Hardback
OCLC 18696679

Bacon and Hams is a 1917 book by George J. Nicholls, the director of a provisions company and had multiple titles for the Institute of Certified Grocers. The book details the then-modern bacon industry which was not the current definition of bacon as known today. The book includes the history of the pig and the popular breeds in the United Kingdom. The industry is examined from the bacon factory to the retail distribution of the bacon, focusing on the popular Wiltshire cut. The book was referred to with approbation by the Saskatchewan Overseas Livestock Marketing Commission which described it as an "admirable and important treatise". Despite having entered the public domain, the book is rare and collectible and generated interest for its "unparalleled" anatomical details of pigs found in its fold-out pages.


According to the title page of the book, George J. Nicholls was the director of George Bowles, Nicholls & Company. He was also a Trustee, Member of Council, Chairman of Finance Committee, and honorary Examiner to the Institute of Certified Grocers. He was also a member of the Home and Foreign Produce Exchange and Chairman of Committee of the Wholesale Produce Merchants' Association in London.[1] Nicholls followed in the footsteps of his father in the provision trade and hoped that two of his three sons would continue the family tradition.[1] Nicholls was such a lover of bacon that he dressed himself up as a side of bacon, and won first prize at the Covent Garden Fancy Dress Ball in April 1894.[2]


The book is divided into nine chapters with seven appendixes.[1] The first chapter details the pig and its use in antiquity before summarizing the nutrient components of pork in comparison to beef.[1] The second chapter opens with the defining characteristics of a good bacon pig. The six principal breeds of the United Kingdom at the time were the Large White Yorkshire, the Middle White, the Tamworth, the Berkshire, the Lincolnshire Curly Coated and the Large Black.[1] The Large White Yorkshire breed is traced to Robert Bakewell and highlights the importance of the breed for its quick maturity, fatten rapidly and provide a long side.[1] Nicholls describes the other breeds and provides information on the number of pigs and the state of the industry and classification of pigs for the market.[1]

The third chapter details the industry outside the United Kingdom.[1] The fourth chapter discusses the current practices of the bacon factory, including the stages in which the pigs are received, killed, branded and processed.[1] The usage of the entire carcass is covered, from the blood to the fat and hair of the pig. Chapter five details the distribution and wholesale centers of the industry and the terms and regulations used.[1] Chapter six details the selection and grading of the cuts, beginning with the most popular Wiltshire cut.[1] Chapter seven and eight details the retail distribution of the bacon, and dividing the Wiltshire cut into different cuts and pricing.[1] Chapter nine concludes with the retail distribution of the American and Canadian cuts.[1] The book includes fold-out anatomical charts that were popular during the time.[2]

Release and recognition[edit]

Bacon and Hams was first released in 1917 and published by the "Institute of Certificated Grocers" and printed by Richard Clay & Sons of London.[1] A second edition was published in 1924.[3] The book was referred to with approbation by the Saskatchewan Overseas Livestock Marketing Commission which described it as an "admirable and important treatise."[4] and the Bulletin of the British Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.[5] Though the book has entered the public domain, the book is rare and collectible.[6] The website "Cooking Issues" featured the obscure book and created an interactive animation in Adobe Flash of "George J Nicholls' unparalleled fold-out pig".[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Nicholls, George J. (1917). Bacon and Hams. Richard Clay & Sons. 
  2. ^ a b c Arnold, Dave (2009-12-01). "Bacon and Hams (1917): Our First Book Review". Cooking Issues. The French Culinary Institute. Retrieved 2009-12-03. 
  3. ^ "Bacon and hams". Worldcat. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Dept. of Agriculture, Saskatchewan; Agricultural Research Foundation (1928). Report of the Saskatchewan Overseas Livestock Marketing Commission, 1927. J.W. Reid. p. 175. 
  5. ^ Bulletin 123-128. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. 1941. p. 57. 
  6. ^ Duggan, Tara (2009-01-14). "At S.F. shop, cooks find pages from the past". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-12-08.