Points of View

The Shrine of Swine

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The Shrine of Swine
Photo via The Bacon Cam

I thought I was alone in my love of Bacon - quite simply my most savored meat, maybe even my most savored food - but it turns out I'm not. It seems that the food I miss most now that live away from England, the food I long to have is being celebrated for a whole week. A whole week honoring the salty, succulent and crispy qualities of bacon.

Bacon Connoisseurs Week started on the 19th March and is seven days set aside for the British public to celebrate bacon. Why a week dedicated to bacon? Why not? The humble bacon sandwich is the UK's fastest growing snack to be eaten outside the home. Annually the British consume 1.3 billion pounds of it a year, over 200,000 tonnes, and there's records of the Roman's salting bacon as early as 200BC - a firm history and popularity that deserves to be celebrated.

Unfortunately the week doesn't surmount to any actual events, more a search - fronted strangely by UK celebrity Angela Rippon -  to find the country's best bacon. To me it seems bacon often falls into this pattern of homage - something to be worshipped rather than, lets say, presented at a food festival. It's strange like that bacon, people just seem to salute it and Bacon Connoisseur week is just one of the examples.

Take the work of photographer Henry Hargreaves and his porky partner in crime, stylist Sarah Guido. Together they created an entire alphabet fashioned entirely from bacon - that's 26 letters in streaky typeface, the ultimate calligraphic bacon homage:

Then there's the ultimate bacon shrine from American food chain Denny's, who last year launched their own ten week bacon celebration with seven limited edition dishes called the 'The Bacon Pyramid.'

For ten weeks a person could eat bacon meat-loaf, bacon flapjacks and finish with a maple bacon sundae - a sort of fast food version of Heston Blumenthals bacon and egg ice cream.

This all out bacon fest was something Denny's took to the extreme in the interests of marketing but it was certainly a sign of their prowess in tapping into the current rise of 'baconmania'. They've even provided true bacon nuts with their own bacon TV channel - something that allows people online to watch bacon sizzle away at any time of day.

This is just the begining - it's bacon painting, bacon sculpting and bacon fashion galore online, bacon chocolate, bacon tattoos, bacon hats, bacon cats (fortunately I made that one up). A quick search on Google for 'strange bacon recipes' will bring back over 2 million hits. It has its own week, an international day, a following of passionate bacon advocates everywhere, a sort of 'cult of pig'.

It's something no other food seems to have and something I'm proud to be part of. Proud to say that when the swientologists of the world unite, I'll be there supporting my bacon brothers, kneeling down ready to worship at the shrine of swine...but right now, right this second... I'd settle for this rather delicious looking face bacon with fried kale from chef Dan Barber at the Blue Hill restaurant in New York.

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