Bacon mania

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A melted chocolate bar drizzled over bacon

Bacon mania refers to passionate bacon enthusiasm in the United States[1][2][3][4][5] and Canada.[6][7] Novelty bacon dishes and other bacon related items have been popularized rapidly via the internet.[8][9]

The movement has been traced to the 1980s and 1990s when high-protein foods became a more prominent diet focus due in part to the Atkins diet.[10][11] Since then, bacon focused events and gatherings celebrating the food have been reported and bacon related exploits have been featured in media accounts.

Taste[edit]

Arun Gupta of The Indypendent has pointed out how bacon possesses six ingredient types of umami, which elicits an addictive neurochemical response.[12] 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."[13] This led Dr. David Kessler, 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."[13]

Innovation[edit]

There is: bacon ice cream; bacon-infused vodka; deep-fried bacon; chocolate-dipped bacon; bacon-wrapped hot dogs filled with cheese; brioche bread pudding smothered in bacon sauce; hard-boiled eggs coated in mayonnaise encased in bacon — called, appropriately, the 'heart attack snack'; bacon salt; bacon doughnuts, cupcakes and cookies; bacon mints; 'baconnaise', which Jon Stewart described as 'for people who want to get heart disease but are too lazy to actually make bacon'; Wendy's 'Baconnator' — six strips of bacon mounded atop a half-pound cheeseburger — which sold 25 million in its first eight weeks; and the outlandish 'bacon explosion' — a barbecued meat brick composed of 2 pounds of bacon wrapped around 2 pounds of sausage.

— Arun Gupta, The Indypendent[13]

A Bacon Maple Bar from Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon

Newer bacon creations have joined more traditional foods like the BLT, Cobb salad, clams casino, and club sandwich. 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,[14] and bacon air freshener. The growing popularity of bacon has also encouraged product introductions such as bacon salt,[15] maple bacon donuts, and baconnaise.

Bacon food oddities include the bacon explosion,[16] chicken fried bacon, bacon ice cream,[17] and chocolate covered bacon, all popularized over the internet.[18] A bacon alarm clock that wakes people up with the smell of cooking bacon has also been announced.[19][20][21] 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."[22] Calling it "like an extreme sport," the article described the innovators and enthusiasts celebrating bacon in all its incarnations.[22]

Organization[edit]

The increased interest in bacon has led to Bacon-of-the-month clubs,[23][24] bacon recipe contests, blogs,[25] and even "bacon camps."[26][27] 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.[1]

The Portland Monthly noted that "Bacon is such a quintessential breakfast staple, even vegetarians stake a claim to their own versions."[28] A website called "Bacon Today" was started to provide updates about bacon related happenings.[22][29]

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".[30] The event included lectures on bacon as art, a Power Point presentation of the Obacon project (a recreation of the famous Obama Hope poster), as well as judging and awards.[30] The slide show from the event includes a wide range of innovative food and decorative bacon entities.[31] The San Francisco Weekly advised those attending to live, breathe, and smell like it and to bring a bacon dish.[32]

Events[edit]

In and around Baltimore, Maryland, 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).[22] A cafe in Hampden offers the Bacon Bulleit, a cocktail of bourbon, lemon, and maple syrup, "with applewood smoked bacon replacing the swizzle stick."[22]

The "Bacon Takedown" competition in Brooklyn, New York, was held March 29, 2009[33][34] 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".[5]

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.[35][36][37] First held March 1, 2008, on National Pig Day, it was founded by Brooks Reynolds,[38] and the 2013 sold 8000 tickets in three minutes.[39]

Humor about bacon includes an April Fool's day story about a putative all-bacon restaurant[40] and the supposed creation of "squeezable bacon" including a video advertisement.[41]

A group of graduate students in Boulder, Colorado, has established an International Bacon Day celebration which is now in its fifth year.[42][43]

In Portland, Oregon there are multiple bacon events each year, including Portland Baconfest. These are described as "some of the happiest places in the world" by attendees. These events focus on fun just as much as bacon.[44]

Possible decline[edit]

Negative publicity surrounding swine flu, although not transmitted via pork product consumption,[45] hit sales and prices in the pork industry.[46][47] Heather Lauer, 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."[48]

Seattle's The Stranger 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".[49]

The day after the "end of" story was published, an article starting with the words "All Hail Bacon!" was published on NewsBlaze.com, noting that a Poynter Institute 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!"[50] Efforts to alleviate flu concerns and fight back against the anti-pork and bacon tide have also been reported.[51]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hepola, Sarah (2008-07-07). "Bacon mania: Why are Americans so batty for bacon? It's delicious, it's decadent--and it's also a fashion statement.". Salon.com. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  2. ^ Jenkins, Kathie (2008-11-06). "Baconmania is sweeping the nation". TwinCities.com. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  3. ^ Lapan, Tovin (2009-04-03). "Bacon Mania: Are U.S. Pigs Magical?". San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on 8 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  4. ^ "Robin Roberts also talked about Bacon-mania, and the country seemingly going bacon obsessed. 'Baconographers' say this is because bacon is a comfort food, and people are taking highly geat pleasure in eating something that's nutritionally taboo, and then extracting even more bliss by exponentially increasing the decadence factor!" Tamsen, Trevor. "Robin Roberts Chats With News10 Goodmorning". KXTV. Archived from the original on 14 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  5. ^ a b Bacon Mania March 30, 2009 ABC News
  6. ^ Amy Grigg [Bacon, bacon everywhere:] Toronto gets reacquainted with a fatty friend, Daily Dish, Pantry Raid March 20, 2009 Toronto Life
  7. ^ Simone Abrahamsohn Get wrapped up in a sizzling culinary trend All over Hogtown, bacon is the new 'It' ingredient, Hip to the Strip June 10, 2009 Toronto Star
  8. ^ Meehan, Peter (2009-04-04). "Bacon is dead! Long live bacon!". Salon.com. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-05.  ]
  9. ^ Marvel, Bill (2009-04-04). "We are living in the Golden Age of Bacon". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 30 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  10. ^ "'I'm a bacon fanatic,' he said. 'When I go out to breakfast, I order oatmeal with bacon on the side. Nothing tastes like bacon.'" "The fat of the land: popular, high-protein diet helps fuel bacon blitz". Rocky Mountain News. 200-06-06. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  11. ^ "So why are so many people suddenly so into bacon? James thinks it's about people taking guilty pleasure in eating something that's nutritionally taboo, and then extracting even more bliss by exponentially increasingly the decadence factor. A hot dog is bad for you. A hot dog wrapped in bacon and sandwiched between two oblong maple doughnuts is hard-core food porn." Jill Rosen, "Bacon nation."
  12. ^ "Bacon as a Weapon of Mass Destruction" - video report with Arun Gupta by Democracy Now!, August 3, 2009
  13. ^ a b c Gonzo Gastronomy: How the Food Industry Has Made Bacon a Weapon of Mass Destruction by Arun Gupta, AlterNet, October 9, 2010
  14. ^ http://rollingsupreme.com/Products/Rolling_Papers/Juicy_jays/
  15. ^ Lazor, Drew (2009-03-24). "Bacon Salt: Don't Snort It". Philadelphia City Paper. Archived from the original on 28 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  16. ^ Cochrane, Kira (2009-03-05). "Going the whole hog". Mail & Guardian. Archived from the original on 18 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  17. ^ "Candied bacon ice cream". DavidLebovitz.com. Archived from the original on 12 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  18. ^ "Get Your BBQ On: Bacon-Infused Webinar Sheds Light on Social Media Marketing Viral Marketing Sensation BBQ Addicts Join Marketbright for a Free Webinar on Marketing 2.0". Marketwire. 2009-03-24. Archived from the original on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  19. ^ "10 minutes before you're supposed to wake up, it'll start cooking the bacon. The smell will waft out, waking you up to the odor of sweet, sweet hogfat." Wake and Bacon is most delicious alarm clock ever Portalino
  20. ^ [1] July 30, 2008 Dvice
  21. ^ Wake n Bacon
  22. ^ a b c d e "Dan Taylor slathers Baconnaise on turkey sandwiches and has used it as a sauce to dunk steamed shrimp. The Lutherville foodie also makes a dip by crumbling bacon into warm cheese that he calls 'life-altering.' Phillip Kerrigan... recently tried bacon bread pudding, bacon peanut butter cups, bacon toffee and bacon rum. For a friend's birthday, he whipped up a batch of homemade bacon and egg ice cream. Here are just two proud soldiers of the burgeoning Bacon Nation, marching forward boldly and bravely, if somewhat greasily, striving to push the conventional limits of a once-ordinary breakfast meat." Rosen, Jill (2009-03-25). "Bacon nation: Devotees take this cheap meat to extremes". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  23. ^ "Bacon of the Month Club". The Grateful Palate. Archived from the original on 22 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  24. ^ "Food Gifts That Keep On Giving: From Utensils To Treats, Bobby Flay Likes To Give (Or Receive) These Presents". CBS. 2007-12-13. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  25. ^ "It inspires big-city chefs, down-home cooks and local food fans alike. It shows up at breakfast, lunch and dinner--even in dessert. The secret ingredient? Bacon... With a growing number of bacon blogs such as IHeartBacon.com and BaconToday.com, fans of the flavorful meat have plenty to talk about." Ketzenberger, Jolene (2009-03-24). "Bacon: An old favorite goes upscale". NewarkAdvocate.com. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-06. [dead link]
  26. ^ Bacon camp.org
  27. ^ Bacon camp.com
  28. ^ Barker, Brian (March 2009). "B... Is for Bacon: Pork-Drunk Love". Portland Monthly. Archived from the original on 30 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  29. ^ "Bacon Today". Yards Media. Archived from the original on 22 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  30. ^ a b Tamara Palmer Saturday Gluttony: BaconCamp March 23, 2009
  31. ^ BaconCamp slide show
  32. ^ Michael Leaverton March 13, 2009 Food Apocalypse San Francisco Weekly
  33. ^ Weekend Scheduler Bacon Takedown New York Magazine
  34. ^ Bacon takedown website
  35. ^ Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival
  36. ^ Bacon Fest 101 February 24, 2009 Des Moines Metromix
  37. ^ Tom Perry 'Best' bacon made in Iowa February 25, 2009 Des Moines Register
  38. ^ Bacon Festival NPR Blog
  39. ^ "Bacon Enthusiasts Converge in Iowa for Festival". The New York Times. 9 February 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  40. ^ Baconalia
  41. ^ Nina Garin BACON PRANK: SqueezBacon, real or not? April 1, 2009 SignsonSanDiego.com
  42. ^ http://bacontoday.com/september-5th-is-international-bacon-day/ September 5th is International Bacon Day
  43. ^ International Bacon Day blog
  44. ^ http://pdxpipeline.com/monthly-event-list/2012-portland-baconfest-east-burn/
  45. ^ Paul R. La Monica It's still safe to bring home the bacon Call it swine flu or H1N1. But the outbreak has led to bans on pork and falling prices of commodities and pork processors. It looks like an overreaction. May 1, 2009 CNNMoney.com
  46. ^ "Eat bacon!" Clytie Bunyan Campaign could save pork’s bacon May 3, 2009 News OK (website of Oklahoman)
  47. ^ "The threat of a global pandemic of swine flu has not only threatened the economic recovery, it’s put one of America’s greatest love affairs on the rocks. I am, of course, speaking of bacon." Cindy Perman Swine Flu Myths: Wash Your Hands, Eat the Bacon April 29, 2009 CNBC
  48. ^ Cindy Perman April 29, 2009 Swine Flu Myths: Wash Your Hands, Eat the Bacon CNBC
  49. ^ Erica C. Barnett The End of Baconmania: Our Long Coronary Nightmare Is Almost Over May 5, 2009 The Stranger
  50. ^ Rocco 'Boss Hog' Loosbrock Bacon Bigger Than Oprah, CNN and Ashton Kutcher! May 06,2009 Newsblaze
  51. ^ Indrani Sen A Swinish Proposal May 5, 2009 Diner's Journal New York Times

Further reading[edit]

  • 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[edit]