There are certain smells that you have vivid memories of that have permeated your home over the years. For some, a cup of coffee brewing in the morning makes the sun rise. On Thanksgiving, you remember the smell of Turkey permeating the house as you get ready for the big meal. On special occasions, you might come home to the smell of your mother’s chocolate chip cookies permeating the house. And on other days, the smell of freshly baked bread lights up your senses. But there is one smell with corresponding sizzle that makes almost every person want to run into the kitchen and grab a bite. It’s Bacon. And as the Guide is out there for promoting all things food holiday we would be remiss if we didn’t celebrate National Bacon Lovers Day, August 20th.
Bacon Stories For Bacon Lovers Day
As for stories about bacon, who hasn’t had a tale of the amazing meat that comes with a perfect sizzle to go along with it. While out running errands with my daughter today, I decided to ask her about what interesting tale she had of bacon was. She told me of her former classmate Isaac who had to do an art project back in Kindergarten. Every student had to choose an animal with which to celebrate. Isaac said he had to pick pigs because they were his favorite animal. My daughter, being the curious girl that she was, had to ask him why it was his favorite animal.
“Because I love to eat bacon,” was the precocious kindergartener’s answer.
I am not sure that I would have done that about some animal I loved. I have an interesting tale of Mongolian beef and dog that probably would fit well right about here, but I will save that for another time. Today is the tale of bacon and all things bacon.
As for my tales with bacon, I don’t know that I have a particular one in mind. But I will save bacon for a great recipe at the end of this piece that might be worth your while. Really, I just remember having all sorts of bacon meals for breakfast when I was a kid. And I remember staring at my mother in disbelief the first time she tried to pass off turkey bacon as bacon. That’s sacrilege. For those who love it, I am not complaining. I’m glad you do. But don’t pretend it’s bacon.
What I can say is that Bacon makes almost anything better. Whether that’s pairing it together with other meats, sticking it in salads, putting it with soups or almost any other thing, bacon adds so much to whatever dish you may be speaking. Although bacon and chocolate just do not work for me. I do not mind salty and sweet together. But the bacon and chocolate is a strange combo that goes too far for me. And I am all about strange combos. (I still like pickles and peanut butter. I know it’s strange.)
Fake History Of Bacon For Bacon Lovers Day
As this is another food holiday, we here at the Guide are dedicated to giving you the best in fake food histories. Who can tell you more about how a food or meal really didn’t come to be? Or did come to be? Or kind of came to be? I am never sure. What I do know is that we here at the Guide are dedicated to our fake food histories. And so we bring these fake food histories to you with all humility.
11,000 years ago, in the land of Middle Earth, there lived men and Elves who saw these strange creatures with funny shaped tales roaming about the woods. Later, the men decided that the funny creatures were cute little fuzzballs that needed to be protected from the harms of this world. The Elves warned the humans that bringing pigs into the fold was a bad idea. They suggested that any animal who would gore Robert Baratheon could not be considered a good animal. Unfortunately, humans, being the stubborn folk that we were, decided to domesticate these animals and get in bed with these pigs, as it were. Ah humans!
Then one day, 10,999 years ago a human named Bacon Manderly, decided to have a pig farm outside of his fathers stables. He was out working with his favorite pig Oinky when when he got called into the house. When he came back out Oinky noticed him and came running towards him. Unfortunately there was a big fire pit outside the house and Bacon tried stopping Oinky from coming. But sorry to say for Oinky, he ran into the fire, consumed by the flames. Bacon didn’t know what to do, but then the waft of smell that eminated from the flames pierced the senses. And before long Bacons whole family came out. They all wanted to revel in that delicious smell.
Bacon’s daughter Beverly asked Bacon what he was cooking. When he replied to her that he was cooking Oinky, she grew very upset. Bacon tried desperately to think about what the smell was because he didn’t want her to cry over the loss of her beloved Oinky. He needed to think of something quickly.
“Pork!” He exclaimed. “I’m cooking pork.”
This seemed to assuage Beverly for the time being, but he didn’t know what he was going to tell her when she got up the next morning. He needed to get rid of the evidence. So he cut up Oinky, and served “pork” to his family to hide the evidence. And then he just told his family that Oinky disappeared the next morning. And that’s how we got Bacon.
Wait. No?!? You don’t believe that there were Elves and a Robert Baratheon? That’s Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings you say? Hmmmm…. maybe. Ok so there was none of that, and not even a person called Bacon Manderly. They didn’t have last names back then I don’t think. What I do know is that they did start to domesticate pigs back in the middle east around 9000 B.C.E., which is basically the beginning of modern recorded history. Some of me finds that fascinating as most middle eastern countries seem to have something about eating meat from pigs. But then again, maybe they were just pets. Who knows?
Either way, someone came up with the bright idea of cooking up these animals for meat. Whether someone just got upset at one someday and decided they had enough of the crooked tail on the animal. Or someone noticed how fat the pig was getting and thought that maybe there would be a good deal of meat inside. Someone in the middle east decided to cook up these animals, and we have been pork lovers ever since.
Setting that aside, the term bacon comes from the Middle English term bacoun, which referred to all the meat that came from a pig. I am not sure how Pork got extracted from that later. Up until the 1700s, everything that came from a pig was thought to be bacon. And by that time it was one of the most popular meats on the dinner table. If you can believe it, Indians loved the taste of pork so much that they would accept pigs as peace offerings. (Just crazy!!)
Evidently, around the mid 1700s, some English pig farmers noticed that some of their pigs were getting a little hefty around the mid section. I am not sure whether this was due to overfeeding or they were lifting side pig weights. You will have to tell me. What I do know from the pre-eminent fake news source (the internet) is that these pig farmers decided to cut up this side of pig meat and sell it separately. It grew so popular that everyone started referring to it as bacon instead of the entirety of the pig. They always salted and curated pig so the fact that they would do it for the side of pig did not change how bacon as it stands today was prepared.
So there you have it, the 11,000 year old or longer history of bacon that had nothing to do with Egyptians or architecture. Wow. I guess that makes bacon the original OG food. And we here at the Guide agree. Almost anything is better with bacon. So get yourself a slice today. Just don’t dip it in chocolate.
Our Favorite Bacon Lovers Day Recipe
Other than a simple BLT, or cooking bacon in an oven on a rack over a pan to catch the drippings at 400, I tried to think of my favorite bacon recipe. The Guide always tries to give you the best in recipes or locations to get our favorite foods. I just didn’t think five great places cooked bacon so much better than everyone else you had to go there. If you know of great bacon places, please leave comments in the comment section. So I decided that to give back today I would be doing one of my favorite recipes with Bacon. It is a variation on Tyler Florence’s recipe at the Food Network, with my own little twists on it.
I feature this recipe every Thanksgiving. And I know that I have had people love it so much that they have made their own and even put up youtube videos and facebook pages dedicated to this amazing way of cooking Turkey. And if you cook it this way, you might never want to go back to any other way. It might find its way to your Thanksgiving table this November. Ultimately, you should pair it with Alton Brown’s mashed potatoes, but that is for another day entirely. So without further ado I present my favorite bacon recipe.
Maple Bacon Turkey
1 14 to 20 Pound Turkey
1 Stick of Butter
8 Celery Ribs
2 Apples Quartered
1 Onion Quartered
8 Strips of Bacon
1 8oz Bottle of Maple Syrup
1 Roasting Pan
String to tie turkey legs
1 Meat Thermometer
Defrost turkey in advance of cooking.
Bring butter to room temperature.
Preheat over to 450 F.
Wash outside of turkey and take out the package with neck and gizzards.
Chop up a few sprigs of rosemary, thyme, and sage.
Mash up butter and mix in chopped up rosemary, sage, and thyme.
Get underneath the skin of the turkey with your fingers separating the skin from the meat.
Slide the mashed up butter underneath the skin with your fingers.
Put celery and carrots on the bottom of a roasting pan.
Put the turkey in the roasting pan.
Stuff apples (or some other fruit with citrus)and onions inside the cavity of the turkey.
Place slices of bacon in a checkerboard pattern on top of the turkey.
Place turkey in the oven.
After 30 minutes pull out the turkey and baste with warm Maple Syrup mixed with two tablespoons of warm water.
Put turkey back in oven and turn down the temperature to 350 F.
Baste turkey every 30 minutes with Maple Syrup until internal temperature of the turkey reaches 155 F.
Pull the turkey out of the oven and make an aluminum foil tent over the turkey and let the turkey rest for a half hour. Internal temperature should reach 165 F.
Carve and serve as soon as possible.
Continue The Conversation
So what did you think of the history of bacon? And what is your favorite recipe for bacon? What is your favorite combination with bacon? And if you don’t do bacon, what are some of your favorite bacon substitutes? Also, if any of you decide to try out the recipe, please let me know and let me know how it goes for you. Thanksgiving is coming up faster than you think. And this recipe is awesome.
If you loved this post, please check out some of the other food holiday posts and follow me at the Guide. All email subscribers will get access to the Dad Rules. These are ten rules that every day should know about and follow or they won’t be bringing home the bacon. Thanks again for stopping by.
Until next time, this is me signing off.
David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life