My Love Affair With Bacon began when I was but a wee lad of three or four. It has been a life-long love affair that will last until my dying day!
My Love Affair with Bacon
Almost anywhere in the world you find pigs, you’ll find some form of bacon. I could not possibly be happier over this fact. It means that the varieties of my beloved meat treat are vast and my love affair with bacon will not be denied.
Of course what one place calls “bacon” may not be the same as “bacon” in other places. The differences may have to do with which cuts of pork are used, how they are cured, how they are cut, and how they are packaged.
What is Bacon Anyway?
In its most basic definition, bacon is the meat derived from the back, sides, or belly of a pig, which is then cured. Granted, this is fairly vague and it opens the age-old question about the line between pork-belly and bacon. In America, we prefer thinly-slice cuts of cured pork belly for our bacon. When it comes to curing, we like our bacon to be either sugar-cured, smoked, or a combination of both.
When you’re in Britain and order a “full breakfast”, it will likely feature their definition of bacon, which is made from brine-cured whole pork loin. Although you can get it anywhere in the British Isles, it was originally called “Irish Bacon”.
And Then Comes Canadian Bacon
Around the time of World War One there was a pork shortage in England. This necessitated the importation of pork products from Canada. The Canadians had their own style of bacon, which started with eye of loin. Since refrigeration was not readily available, and the pork had to be preserved, the Canadian solution was to smoke the meat to cure it for shipment. The British were not familiar with the process of smoking or the taste it imparted, but they were so happy to have pork back on their menus again, they were willing to give it a try. Markets and restaurants had to inform buyers that the bacon they were about to purchase was different than what they were used to. Thus, the term “Canadian Bacon” was coined.
This new meat variation became very popular and industrial meat packers started packing the product into meat casings, instead of leaving it in the natural eye of loin shape. Today, Americans purchase a sizable amount of “Canadian Bacon”. It is an integral part of a certain breakfast sandwich enjoyed daily by millions, courtesy of a burger franchise whose trademarks include a clown and two semi-circles.
Don’t Forget Back Bacon
Canadians are also responsible for another variation of our beloved breakfast meat. If you travel to The Great White North, you may hear the phrase “back bacon” used. This refers to an eye of pork loin which has been smoked, then encrusted with ground split peas. It may sound a bit odd at first, but you can’t argue with its popularity.
Bacon Sandwich, Bacon Soup, Bacon Salad . . .
The methods of serving bacon are limited only to imagination. In addition to being a classic part of any breakfast platter, there is the always-popular bacon-cheeseburger, and the beloved BLT. Additionally, bacon can be found imparting its goodness when wrapped around gourmet hot dogs, cocktail sausages, filet mignon and scallops. It is very often incorporated into various types of casseroles, too.
Bacon has even found a niche in the vegetable world as baked potatoes and salads are often enhanced with bacon bits. You’ll find bacon candy and even bacon-flavored coffee.
My Love Affair with Bacon is Forever
Bacon has become an iconic piece of meat, and rightfully so. No matter how you cut it, cure it, cook it, or serve it, bacon will add enjoyment to any meal or snack, and it even stands on its own as a tasty treat. Even dogs love the taste of bacon in their food, and who are we to argue with our best friends?