In an effort to familiarize myself with blogspot and to use up a little time between experimental time points, I'll post about something that seems to have become an American obsession: bacon.
These days it seems all it takes for someone to garner attention to their food is to add bacon. Or even say the word "bacon" in the title. For example, this past March I went to the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show. The true star of the show? Chicken Fried Bacon. Not making it up. Fried bacon garnered more press than ZZ Top, or even Hannah Montana. For those wondering what "chicken fried" is, well, it's a process. Chicken Fried means that the cook/chef coated something in the same batter that would normally used for fried chicken then deep fried it. If you're wondering about chicken fried chicken and chicken fried steak, those are pieces of meat that have been pounded flat and then battered and fried. What does it taste like? Like fried chicken with bacon in it. The texture is WAY too crispy because the bacon is fried beyond recognition before being battered and fried again.
However the American love affair with bacon doesn't even come close to stopping there. I just googled bacon and got 42,900,000 entries, including this rather disturbing "bacon briefcase." On a recent trip to Hastings I found a display with a bacon wallet, bacon jelly beans and gummy bacon. LOL...wut? There are even multiple blogs dedicated to exclusively to bacon, including Iheartbacon, baconunwrapped, and bacontoday.
So does this love for all things bacon mean that Americans are eating tons of the stuff? As a matter of fact, it does. According to US Census projections, sliced bacon will account for $2.83 billion in sales in 2010. The foodservice industry is paying attention and according to the same link, bacon as a business has seen a 5% growth in the last 5 years. And this article was written in 2004. From what I've seen the business has only grown bigger since.
So is America the largest consumer of pork products as a result of our worship of bacon? Not by a long shot! According to Wikipedia, China consumes almost 6 times the pork products that the US does. And much of China also salts and preserves their pork in a manner not unlike bacon.
Why do Americans (and Canadians) seem to have a peculiar obsession with bacon? Again, according to Wikipedia, Bacon Mania was brought about by, of all things, by the Internet. In short, bacon is popular because everyone is talking about it being popular. It's ubiquitous (according the allbusiness.com, more than 50% of all American households keep a supply of it in their refrigerators), it's something we can all identify with and, let's face it, it's darned tasty.
And, just in case you haven't seen/heard/read about enough bacon for today. Here are 100 uses for a strip of bacon.