Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bacon, the secret to long life.

     I've wanted to write this one forever, but now have the anecdotal evidence to back it up.  A 105 year old Texas women who was recently interviewed about her longevity credited it to her habit of eating bacon almost every day. ( 105 year old bacon woman)

     What is not to love about bacon? The subtle smokey taste?  The saltiness?  The underlying sweetness ? The mouthfeel where
the fat easily coats the lean with just the right ratio?  It is an incredible meat, both by itself or when added to another one.  A scallop is great, after all, but isn't a bacon wrapped scallop even better?  Sure it is.

     Bacon was one of the first processed meats ever eaten.  The origins of bacon go back to China in 1500 B.C.  The word bacon itself is derived from "Back" or "Back of the animal", although now it seems to refer solely to the belly.  It's history is interesting, and it is said that European peasants would showcase the bacon that
they made so that people would appreciate what they had.  Have you ever heard of the expression, "To bring home the bacon"?  It was derived from a 12th century church in Dunmow England that offered any man a slab of bacon if they could go a year and a day without fighting with their spouse.  If they made it, they were held in high regard, and they brought home the bacon. Incidentally, in England they call a slice of bacon, a "rasher".   Bacon makes everything better, it's just that simple, marriages and even art.  The picture above is Van Gogh's Starry Night but it is done entirely in bacon.  Now, that's art. Did you know that a 250 lbs pig will only yield about 23lbs of bacon?  Less than 10% of the total live weight of the animal, but highly prized, some say, even addictive.  Bacon, you see, has 6 different types of umami in it, and these are known to cause addictive neurochemical responses.  That's probably why we (US citizens) eat almost 2 billion lbs of it
Bacon mayonnaise
each year (18lbs per person).  Did you know that bacon is good for pregnant women?   It is, due to the choline that it contains, which pregnant mothers need.  A recent poll in Canada had 43% of the respondents choosing bacon over sex, now I like bacon, but that is ridiculous. As ridiculous as bacon candy, cupcakes, ice cream and  mayonnaise?   Yes, they all exist.  On my bucket list is to make the dish called "The Bacon Explosion"  The recipes calls for a lb of ground sausage to be surrounded by a lattice work of bacon and wrapped, then smoked and covered in BBQ sauce.   I think subconsciously I've been putting this one off in case it becomes my last meal.   I did do a bacon wrapped pork loin once for a family gathering and it went over very well. I once took bacon training (there is too such a thing) and learned that in order to make the best grade of bacon, a

number one bacon, the primary line of lean has to extend 3/4 of the length of the strip and the secondary has to run 1/2 of the length.  This makes a consistent piece of bacon and if it doesn't make it, it's considered a number 2 bacon, slightly inferior to number one.  In spite of this, I can say that I've never had a bad piece of bacon, ever. 

     Although I started this blog stating that bacon can increase your lifespan, I'll admit that bacon in not the healthiest food out there, however, it still does not lack some health benefits.   It's packed with protein, averages about 45 calories per slice, it actually helps to regulate blood pressure and blood sugars, it boosts brain

Making a bacon explosion
function and boosts your memory, it is chock full of essential vitamins and minerals and it is an effective mood elevator.  Have you ever been sad while eating bacon?  Me neither.  Lastly, I'll state that just a little bacon in a dish enhances the dish's flavor tremendously.  I personally save the grease and store it in the fridge to be used for cooking.  My clam chowder recipe has always included bacon grease to start it. 

     In conclusion I think I've made the case that bacon can be a healthy part of your 105 year long life.  If you don't live that long, well at least if you are eating bacon, you'll likely die happy.

My bacon wrapped pork loin

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