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Bacon Backlash?


slkinsey
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As I have noted a few times recently, it seems like bacon is perilously close to jumping the shark. Not only does it seem like an interminable length of time that internet foodies have been making a fetish of bacon, but even the fast food and "casual dining" megachains have been catching on with their offings of just about everything "baconized." Even relatively late-to-the party old media are starting to go bacon-wild, and as Steven noted, "typically by the time a trend gets recognized by the New York Times it is already on the decline among the people who actually drove the trend."

Now Win Rosenfeld of The Big Money weighs in with similar thinking.

None of this is to say that I don't still love bacon. It's tasty as hell. But I long ago stopped obsessing about it, eating it every chance I had, and thinking things such as bacon-flavored mayonnaise were charming, cool or even delicious.

Thoughts?

--

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Nothing can ruin bacon. If the Internets and hipsters died tomorrow or I was somehow de-tethered from the zeitgeist tractor beam, I'd still be thinking about bacon within, say...48 hours. 72 hours tops. And I don't even eat it on a weekly basis, it's just my magical fantasy food.

ETA: it's like salted caramel, or real salmon, or dark chocolate. Or fresh corn. Or....hey. Was this a trick question?

Edited by markemorse (log)
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I think it's already jumped the shark, and I thought it as soon as I saw the Times piece (this was before it was posted on eGullet and FatGuy made his excellent point).

One of the other sites I frequent is Reddit (a social news/link website), and there's a "subreddit" devoted to bacon and its worshippers. When I first subscribed, it still felt like the submissions brought new ideas to the table or were at least novel. I never thought that much about making bacon chocolate chip cookies, for example. Now, it feels like very post is either: about Baconnaise; a "new" and ludicrous topic like "How much bacon is enough?" with 10 posts that are a variation on either "There's an upper limit? BLASPHEMY!" or "Until it kills me"; something with bacon piled on so high that the "chef" should have just made a pound of bacon and not wasted time on making the rest of the dish because it's all you would taste anyway; or another photograph of bacon photoshopped/scotch-taped-and-photographed onto small children/animals/nerd-bait. It's nothing really new (anymore) and yet people keep acting like they've done something completely amazing by wrapping yet another meat dish in more bacon, which isn't exactly a new practice. Wasn't bacon-wrapped food big already at one point, years ago??? ARGHHHH.

It's a fad, and not just among "foodies" (as you mentioned, slkinsey), and when the Times featured the "bacon explosion" it was definitely at or past its peak. I rolled my eyes at it, as I have about almost every bacon thing I've seen lately.

It's not that bacon sucks, or that it's been ruined by all this attention. It's just that maybe, hopefully, people will soon back to acting like bacon isn't some sort of godly amalgamation of cure and pork. I just want people to continue to cook and eat it without making such a big deal about it.

However... maybe my opinion is such because I spend too much time on the internet. :hmmm:

Edited by feedmec00kies (log)

"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

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Nothing can ruin bacon. If the Internets and hipsters died tomorrow or I was somehow de-tethered from the zeitgeist tractor beam, I'd still be thinking about bacon within, say...48 hours. 72 hours tops. And I don't even eat it on a weekly basis, it's just my magical fantasy food.

ETA: it's like salted caramel, or real salmon, or dark chocolate. Or fresh corn. Or....hey. Was this a trick question?

I don't care what they say. If I was stranded on a desert island with one food it would be bacon.

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Hehe, I don't know about being stranded on an island with nothing but bacon, but I do often use it as almost if it were a spice to add to my dishes. I know what you mean about the crazy hype it has gotten over the past few months. I know that last summer I tried desperately to "grill bacon" I was told (read: I read online) that it was the absolute tastiest way to eat bacon. Unfortunately, I only ever ended up with blackened strips of some strange charcoal resembling substance. The hype for this type of bacon was enough that I'm still devoted to trying it. Has anyone ever gotten grilled bacon to work?

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Four years ago I was on a panel at the Miami Book Fair with Ted Allen and Daisy Martinez. The last question the moderator asked us was "What's your favorite food." Ted and Daisy both spoke about stuff they had eaten growing up or whatever. I answered last. I said, "Bacon." Everybody laughed uproariously. It was the highlight of the day. The energy was great.

Can you imagine anybody finding that answer shocking, funny or interesting today? In 2005 you could really catch people off guard by saying your favorite food is bacon. Today that would be the most predictable, tired answer you could possibly give. I love bacon today just as much as I loved it in 2005, but yes, the bacon-equals-subversive-hip trend has run its course.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Hehe,  I don't know about being stranded on an island with nothing but bacon, but I do often use it as almost if it were a spice to add to my dishes.  I know what you mean about the crazy hype it has gotten over the past few months.  I know that last summer I tried desperately to "grill bacon"  I was told (read: I read online) that it was the absolute tastiest way to eat bacon.  Unfortunately, I only ever ended up with blackened strips of some strange charcoal resembling substance.  The hype for this type of bacon was enough that I'm still devoted to trying it.  Has anyone ever gotten grilled bacon to work?

I can understand wanting to impart grilled flavor on to bacon (or any meat), but this seems difficult; don't you want to slowly cook the bacon, anyway, in its own fat?

And welcome, ChefKnives...

Edited by Reignking (log)
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Thanks for the welcome!

I also wanted to add that a few years back a chef friend of mine offered her favorite bacon indulgence - Bacon wrapped Swedish fish. Apparently her method was to wrap the bacon around a Swedish fish and saute them together.

I haven't been brave enough to try...

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  • 2 weeks later...

There's an amusing post on the Grub Street blog about bacon jumping the shark. Their position is that not only has bacon jumped the shark, but also saying bacon has jumped the shark has jumped the shark!

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Salty pork "seasoning meats" (bacon, tasso, ham hocks, pickle meat) will never go out of style in my kitchen. Perhaps the trend was driven by Cali-cuisine-brainwashed, orthorexic types who felt the need to rebel? 'Cause some folks never stopped using bacon in an unironic, unapologetic fashion: bacon slow-cooked with green beans, bacon-wrapped broiled oysters, rouxs made of bacon grease, a swipe of leftover bacon grease in a black iron skillet before the cornbread batter goes in...

Hell, those bacon hipsters probably never even saved bacon grease in a jar on the back of the stove. Mere bacon pretenders, they were.

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I had hot duck fat in my frying pan yesterday, so I threw in some bacon. Yum! I used part of the resulting greasy mess in a vinaigrette; the rest awaits.

Duck fat is the new bacon. :biggrin:

I think that lamb fat might become fairly popular too.

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Surely the pendulum will swing the other way? Bacon and organ meats are hip as a response to the so-yesterday hipness of veganism. Bad boys react, the trend begins.

So, then, if bacon is hip today, what is its opposite?

Show me an egg salad with bacon pieces in it, and I'll eat it.

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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I find myself feeling a bit regretful about this trend. The baconization of everything burned hot and bright: over the last year who hasn't seen at least one random add-bacon-to-something-unusual article per week? And sometimes many more? And just like every other trend, once it moved from "only the cool kids get it" to "everyone gets it," well, "it's dead, Jim."

I really do like bacon, quite a lot in fact. Alas, now it seems that liking bacon has become passé. But hell, I liked bacon before the trend, and I liked it during the trend, and now that we're moving into the anti-bacon trend, I still like bacon. I also still think adding bacon to everything is a dumb idea, and was only funny the first few times. So, just like every food trend (hell, every trend of any kind), bacon settles back down into comfortable obscurity. It had its moment in the sun, and, just like Keyser Söze and (hopefully) the phrase "jumped the shark," it's gone.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I think I agree with the general sentiment already expressed: Bacon as a fad may be over (don't really know or care,) but bacon tastes good, so it will never truly go out of fashion.

So sorry if it's treyf or haraam for you, but that means more for me. :smile:

Edited by Human Bean (log)
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  • 5 months later...

Bacon's not over, yet...

For the bacon loving survivalist or gamer who can't be bothered to cook:

Tac Bac - Tactical Canned Bacon

Delicious bacon, canned, so it has a 10+ year shelf life.

:blink:

:laugh:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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  • 2 weeks later...

I couldn't care less about fads or jumping sharks (though I'd like to see one!).

Bacon Bacon Bacon Bacon Bacon Bacon Bacon Bacon Bacon!

:-)

PS: bacon and toast fried in the bacon fat is the PERFECT camping breakfast! The wasps had no chance to get at any last weekend :-D

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Thank God I haven't been tragically hip about bacon or anything else for 30 years. And yes, I've seen the nitrite tsunami coming at us for the last two years. Kerry Beal's chocolate bacon is sublime. I like candied bacon too. I love tiki stuff like rumaki. I like bacon cheeseburgers.

But I mostly love bacon with its classic Fred and Ginger partner, the egg. A shark would just mope away when sniffing bacon, eggs and toast.

(Well, maybe I am a fanatic. My Band-Aids are shaped like bacon and eggs, and I have glorious bacon wrapping paper.)

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I believe the price of pork bellies is right now very near historical lows. I don't know exactly how to interpret the price chart but here's the info:

http://futures.tradingcharts.com/chart/PB/M

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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