Bacon Fun Facts
1. BACON DATES BACK TO 1500 BCE.
The Chinese were the first to cook salted pork bellies more than 3000 years ago. This makes bacon one of the world’s oldest processed meats.
2. ROMANS CALLED BACON PETASO.
Bacon eventually migrated westward, where it became a dish worthy of modern-day foodies. The Romans made petaso, as they called it, by boiling salted pig shoulder with figs, and then seasoning the mixture with pepper sauce. Wine was, of course, a frequent accompaniment.
3. THE WORD BACON REFERS TO THE “BACK” OF A PIG.
The word bacon comes from the Germanic root “-bak,” and refers to the back of the pig that supplied the meat. Bakko became the French bacco, which the English then adopted around the 12th century, naming the dish bacoun. Back then, the term referred to any pork product, but by the 14th century bacoun referred specifically to the cured meat.
4. THE FIRST BACON FACTORY IN THE USA OPENED IN 1770.
For generations, local farmers and butchers made bacon for their local communities. In England, where it became a dietary staple, bacon was typically “dry cured” with salt and then smoked. In the late 18th century, a businessman named John Harris opened the first bacon processing plant in the county of Wiltshire, where he developed a special brining solution for finishing the meat. The “Wiltshire Cure” method is still used today, and is a favorite of bacon lovers who prefer a sweeter, less salty taste.
5. THE PHRASE “BRINGING HOME THE BACON” DATES BACK CENTURIES.
These days the phrase refers to making money, but its origins have nothing to do with income. In 12th century England, churches would award a flitch, or a side, of bacon to any married man who swore before God that he and his wife had not argued for a year and a day. Men who “brought home the bacon” were seen as exemplary citizens and husbands.
6. THE AVERAGE AMERICAN CONSUMES 18 POUNDS OF BACON EACH YEAR.
Savory, salty, and appropriately retro: The past couple of years have been a bonanza for bacon, with more than three quarters of restaurants now serving bacon dishes, and everything from candy canes to gumballs are now flavored with bacon. Recent reports linking processed meats to increased cancer risk have put a dent in consumption, and may have a prolonged effect. But for now, America’s love affair with bacon continues.
7. THERE’S A CHURCH OF BACON.
This officially sanctioned church boasts more than 25,000 members under the commandment “Praise Bacon.” It’s more a rallying point for atheists and skeptics than for bacon lovers, per se, and there’s no official location as of yet. But the church does perform wedding ceremonies and fundraisers, and has raised thousands of dollars for charity. All bacon praise is welcome, even if you’re partial to vegetarian or turkey bacon over the traditional pork. Hallelujah!
8. THERE’S ALSO A BACON CAMP.
Bacon camp is like summer camp, but with less canoeing and more bacon cooking. Held every year in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Camp Bacon features speakers, cooking classes, and other bacon-related activities for chefs and enthusiasts eager to learn more about their favorite food.
9. THE FIRST MEAL ON THE MOON WAS…
Bacon. Of course, they had other things with bacon as well, like peaches, sugar cookies, pineapple-grapefruit drink, and coffee.
10. BACON HAS ITS OWN NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL DAYS.
Bacon has, not just one, but two celebratory days. September 3rd is International Bacon Day, while December 30th is the U.S. National Bacon Day. So now you have an excuse to eat Kurobuta Ranch uncured bacon at least twice a year! (Though, let’s be honest…who needs an excuse to eat bacon?)