May 15, 2009

IF ONLY JAMES JOYCE HAD SAID THAT ONCE IN ULYSSES...:

'Bacon Tastes Good, Get Over It' (Julie Powell, 5/15/09, Daily Beast)

[I] was skeptical when I picked up Bacon, A Love Story. Still, Lauer, a self-professed “lifelong bacon enthusiast,” started off decently enough. Her first chapter, “On the Eighth Day, God Created Bacon,” covers the history of hog domestication and the development of the process of curing and smoking pork belly from ancient China to the European Middle Ages to early America. The overly chipper and insufficiently witty tone can be overlooked when you’re discovering that, for instance, France passed laws against urban pig-raising in 1131 when Prince Philip, son of Louis VI, “was killed when his horse threw him after being startled by a stray pig.” Theories on the origins of phrases such as “bringing home the bacon” and “chew the fat”—which Cockney slang shortened to “chat”—kept me reading happily enough, until the historical timeline reached the present day. This is where I began to feel uncomfortable.

For people who write and think seriously about food, the ethics, health concerns, and environmental issues surrounding where our meat comes from has become an increasingly fraught issue in the last few years. In fact, the current bacon mania sweeping a nation of foodies is in large part an offshoot of this. The availability of local, heritage pork raised ethically by small farmers is part of what has gotten people interested in making their own bacon at home, for instance. So it’s odd that Ms. Lauer has no particular concerns about how her pork is raised. In fact, she seems to have no point of view that she’s trying to get across at all, beyond that bacon is the “Best Meat Ever.”


...his novel would have a single redeeming sentence.



Posted by Orrin Judd at May 15, 2009 6:32 AM
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