Tag Archives: bacon

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: deadly birds, succulent swine and a heaping helping of high fructose corn syrup

Barack Obama, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and the election of a president.  John Bryson, Tim Geithner and the state of the national economy.  John Roberts, Ruth Ginsburg and civil rights and liberties.  Tim Tebow, Jeremy Lin and the continued fascination with athletic drama.

Yeah… I’m starting to realize that the issues described in this blog will always take a backseat to the mainstream media’s coverage of more important and pressing subjects.  It happens.  I get it.  But what the heck – consider this posting an update on a few newsy issues may somehow become lost in the shuffle of the daily cycle.

Earlier this month, we posted an article that described a few strange facts about the surprisingly relationship between candy and a handful of professional athletes.  The article also discussed a new nutritional initiative by Mars, Inc., to reduce the caloric value of its candy to less than 250 calories per serving.

That’s a good thing, right?  Not so fast.  WebMD is carrying a user-created blog that is skeptical of Mars’ commitment, and its author explains that the entire initiative may well be illusory.  The specific wording of the company’s strategy suggests that Mars may well be able to implement this healthy plan without making any substantive changes to its marketing or its products – simply by changing the serving size reflected within the nutritional label of its products.  Definitely a good read.

You may not recall a previous article about a growing cult-like fractionation with bacon, but your arteries certainly can’t forget the surreal recipe for the Bacon Explosion, greasy goodness of the Bacon Pie, and the sandwich that may have killed Elvis Presley.  It’s once again time to celebrate the gut-busting glory of BaconMania.  ‘tis the season, and all that stuff.

Last weekend, the Iowa State Fair hosted the Fifth Annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, subtitled BACONPOCALYPSE NOW: I love the smell of bacon in the morning.  The “Iowa Bacon Board” and the “Bacon Ambassadors” welcomed a sold-out crowd of 4,400 attendees, who were provided with the opportunity to taste bacon, watch a film about bacon, listen to songs about bacon and hear a couple of folks pontificate about bacon as part of the “Bacon Lecture Series.”  Did you hear that, PETA?  Sounds like a challenge.

Do you remember when Michael Stipe and REM sang a little song that told us that it was the end of the world as we know it, but they felt fine?  Do you remember a handful of recent articles that described a new man-made version of the H5N1 avian flu that may be capable of creating a pandemic that could result in the deaths of tens or hundreds of millions of people?  Well, Michael Stipe, REM and infected birds have a heck of a lot in common.

I won’t spend too much time exploring the details – you can read the previous articles here, here and here if you’re interested in learning about a somewhat tongue-in-cheek possibility of the end of the world.  Last week, however, attendees at a closed-door summit called by the World Health Organization announced a surprisingly and unexpected agreement to publish details of the research.  The agreement constituted a sharp rejection of the official position of our country and did little to alleviate concerns that the publication of the details could serve as a blueprint for terrorist groups and hostile countries to develop a biological weapon capable of killing millions of innocent people.

Around the same time, the price of remote land deep in the heart of Montana skyrocketed.

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BACON MANIA: because we can always resolve to lose weight and get healthy next year

The sugarplums are no longer dancing and the fat man in the funny red suit has drifted off into the cinematic sunset.  It’s now time to turn the page on the ‘ol calendar and prepare for the coming year.  That means that it’s also time to resolve to accomplish a specific goal or change a longstanding habit over the next twelve months.

Nearly half of the country will make a resolution this year, and many will pledge to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Unfortunately, as few as twelve percent of people who make resolutions will succeed in accomplishing their goals.

Frankly, I blame the pigs.

It’s clearly their fault.  These little even-toed ungulates are dirty, raunchy and mean.  For centuries, they’ve been carrying nasty parasites and infectious diseases such as trichinosis, taenia solium, cysticercosis, and brucellosis.   Their most corrupt aspect – and perhaps the biggest impediment to the success of our resolutions – may damn well be the cured belly of their carcasses, otherwise commonly known as bacon.

I’m guessing that I don’t need to spend much time introducing the world to bacon.  We should already know that it’s tasty, delicious, and readily slides down the esophagus even when it’s burnt to a crisp.  We should also already know that bacon isn’t necessarily the most nutritious meat.  An ounce of bacon contains around 30 milligrams of cholesterol, and somewhere around 68 percent of its calories are derived from fat, with almost half of those calories are classified as saturated fats.  It gets worse, though: each serving of bacon may increase the risks associated with heart disease by 42 percent and diabetes by 19 percent.

Logic and reason necessarily dictate that we should limit our consumption of bacon or simply eat it in moderation.  Heck, even Apu Nahasapeemapetilon recognized the dangers of cured pig belly, and he’s not necessarily the most venerable or sage fictional character.  Still, Abu once famously remarked:

Let’s see-Farmer Billy’s smoke-fed bacon, Farmer Billy’s bacon-fed bacon, Farmer Billy’s travel bacon… Mr. Simpson, if you really want to kill yourself, I also sell handguns!

If a cartoon character can figure it out, anyone can figure it out.  That’s not happening, though, and Bacon Mania is now spreading like a contagious disease… or at the very least like trichinosis, taenia solium, cysticercosis, and brucellosis.

Foodies are maintaining blogs and authoring books.  Organizers are creating not-so-secret societies.  Retailers are selling themed apparel, scented candles, action figures, flavored tooth picks, christmas tree ornaments, board games and dental floss.  Distributors are marketing bacon gift baskets and memberships to bacon-of-the-month clubs.  Kids are trick-or-treating while disguised as bacon.  And, of course, the culinary maestros are crafting recipes that highlight greasy strips of swine.

The hallmark recipe of the bacon mania movement is undoubtedly the Bacon Explosion.  This nefarious creation is the size of a football and consists of strips of bacon wrapped around spiced sausage and crumbled bacon.  It weighs in at around 5000 calories.  That’s somewhere just south of two pounds of additional body fat.

Of course, there’s always the family-sized Fool’s Loaf Sandwich.  This scale-busting concoction is nothing more than an impending heart attack masquerading as a warm, hollow loaf of bread filled with one jar of peanut butter, one jar of grape jelly, and a full pound of bacon.  Rumor has it that this sandwich was part of the meal that killed Elvis

These recipes aren’t limited to main courses, however, because bacon knows no boundaries.  A handful of rather remarkable, artery-clogging desserts have been designed to compliment the Bacon Explosion, the Fool’s Loaf Sandwich or the bland but healthy green salad that’s a fundamental part of your new year’s resolution.  These dishes can easily be paired with bacon ice cream, bacon pie, frosted maple bacon cupcakes, or bacon chocolate candy bars.  And, of course, we can’t forget about pig candy.  It’s the perfect combination of smoked bacon and pecans coated with caramel and sugar.  Apparently, everything’s better with caramel and sugar.  Even swine.

The phenomenon of Bacon Mania isn’t even confined to solid foods and meals.  Hell no.  Bacon Mania universally embraces drinks, beverages and other refreshments.  Dr. Frasier Crane wasn’t too far off when he prophetically exclaimed

Yes, I’ll have a non-fat, decaf latte, please. Oh, what the hell? Look, make it a full-fat mocha with extra whipped cream. What the hell, put a slice of bacon on it!

At the very least, bacon vodka should help folks better cope with unsatisfied resolutions and unfulfilled expectations.  Anyone who chooses to indulge in a couple of Pigs on the Rocks or a half dozen Mitch Morgans with that special someone should, however, at least consider the almost inevitable consequences of consuming the meaty libations.  Be prepared.

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