April 10, 2010


Extreme bacon: The rebel food appears in some unlikely, but ever more common, places (Richard Asa, 4/09/10, Chicago Tribune )

You think Lady Gaga is extreme? Bacon has been spotted in gourmet chocolate bars, heaped atop cupcakes, blended into mayonnaise and salt, suspended in lollipops, infused into vodka (which in turn is used for bacon bloody Marys and martinis) and wrapped around hot dogs to make a heart bomb that is pure indulgence. There's chicken-fried bacon served with gravy that can hold up a spoon, and French toast topped with bacon ice cream. And, of course, there's bacon jam.

If one includes bacon-flavored products, the list extends to dental floss, lip balm, jelly beans, gumballs and candy of various shapes and origins. The real fun starts with bacon as pop art; apparel of all sorts (hats, dresses, belts, entire suits), the bacon gun and an attractive lampshade that starts out raw and presumably ends up cooked.

Many of the more rib-tickling bacon products, edible and not, are found at Archie McPhee, a mail order house in Seattle that for years has catered to the weirdness in all of us by jumping on trends and taking them to obvious extremes, just for the fun of it.

David Wahl, the company's marketing chief, says simply "bacon is the most delicious food that has ever existed. It isn't very surprising that people want to celebrate its extreme deliciousness with products and festivals. It has more recently become a rebel food, the kind that is obviously bad for you, but one you're going to keep eating."

In his "bacon eater's manifesto," which conjures the fictional 1950s Society for Culinary Acceptance of Bacon, Wahl zeros in on the phenomenon that has inspired many, disgusted some and launched more blogs than can be counted. Bacon, Wahl notes, is universal, "enjoyed by everyone from the lowliest hobo to the wealthiest Wall Street tycoon."

The Bacon Eater’s Manifesto (David Wahl, Monkey Goggles)
1. There is nothing that cannot be improved by the addition of bacon.

Some might hold out sweets as being spoiled by adding bacon or a gourmet chef might say that the balance of a dish will be upset by the addition of bacon, but we state here and now that they are wrong. There is no food, or indeed no event, that cannot be improved with the addition of bacon. A single slice of bacon can act as a magnifying glass on the smallest amount of goodness or happiness in something, and magnify it to skyscraper size.

2. Bacon may shorten your life, but what is life without bacon?

Doctors, health nuts and vegetarians are constantly whispering in our ears that bacon poses some kind of health risk. That your life would be longer without it. But, we ask, what is your life without it? It’s a cupcake without frosting. A marriage without love. A summer without a sunny day. Quality of life must be taken into consideration when choosing your food. Do not waste time with green beans and squash; fill all the empty moments with the king of meat.

3. Bacon is the best thing at a breakfast buffet.

Loading up on toast or eggs is a tragedy. For they are simply buffer foods to distract you from bacon.

4. Bacon is so delicious, some people claim it wrote the works of Shakespeare.

We have our doubts that it did. For if bacon could write, why would it write something so boring and inscrutable to the common man?

5. The greatest odor in the world is the smell of cooking bacon.

If one were to truly and dutifully bottle its essence, even a woman plain as tap water could attract a square-jawed, Hollywood dreamboat. If it were promised that heaven smelled like bacon, surely men would do no evil from that moment forward.

Can a hearty breakfast help you lose weight? UAB researchers think it may (Jeff Hansen, 3/31/10, The Birmingham News)
Two UAB researchers have found that mice that eat a high-fat breakfast and a low-fat dinner gain less weight and are healthier than those that do the opposite.

Feeding the mice a low-fat meal at the beginning of the waking period and a high-fat meal at the end leads to cardiometabolic syndrome -- a hallmark of obesity and a risk for diabetes, heart disease and strokes.

If the same is true in humans, eating higher-fat breakfasts and lower-fat dinners may help control weight and prevent onset of metabolic disease.

"We would like to show in humans that you can reduce weight without reducing calories," said Molly Bray, a professor of epidemiology in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. "It would mean there's not bad food -- that it's not a quantity of food issue, it's a timing issue. "

Bray's husband and fellow researcher, Martin Young, associate professor of medicine in UAB's Division of Cardiovascular Disease, found that the first meal the mice ate seemed to program their metabolism for the rest of the day.

A carbohydrate-rich breakfast promoted utilization of carbohydrates throughout the rest of the day without the ability to switch to fat metabolism. A fat-rich breakfast left the mice with the flexibility to change their utilization of fats or carbs throughout the rest of the day.

"The data were so convincing," Bray said, "that everybody in the lab started eating chicken biscuits and sausage biscuits in the morning."

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 10, 2010 5:43 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus