My dearest readers, I’m sorry that yesterday went by without a post, but I was otherwise consumed. However, I will make it up to you today with a post dedicated to bacon!
As a kid, I remember waking up on Saturday mornings, and immediately being hit with that very distinctive smell of bacon wafting through the air. Trying to describe what bacon smells like is trying to describe what licorice tastes like. It’s really hard. I guess the best way is to describe it, is like frying pork chops, smoky barbeque, and dripping oil. As the sugars and fat combine together, they create a truly distinctive scent as it caramelizes and browns in the pan.
Personally, I’m not a fan of bacon. Yep. Oh the horror! I know. Whenever I say that, it’s like one of those scenes in a movie, when something very surprising is said, and the music stops and everyone’s head swivels to you. “What? You don’t like BACON?!” No, sorry. But what fascinates me is the wild popularity surrounding bacon. It almost has a cult-like following! I set out today to find out why bacon is so dang popular.
|Meanwhile, here's an awesome hat from|
Zazzle Hats I discovered!
First, let’s start with the question: what is bacon?
Bacon is a cured meat prepared from a pig. It is first cured using large quantities of salt, either in a brine or in a dry packing; the result is fresh bacon (also known as green bacon). Fresh bacon may then be further dried for weeks or months in cold air, boiled, or smoked. Fresh and dried bacon must be cooked before eating. Boiled bacon is ready to eat, as is some smoked bacon, but may be cooked further before eating.
Bacon is prepared from several different cuts of meat. It is usually made from side and back cuts of pork, except in the United States, where it is almost always prepared from pork belly (typically referred to as "streaky", "fatty", or "American style" outside of the US and Canada). The side cut has more meat and less fat than the belly. Bacon may be prepared from either of two distinct back cuts: fatback, which is almost pure fat, and pork loin, which is very lean. Bacon-cured pork loin is known as back bacon.
Bacon may be eaten smoked, boiled, fried, baked, or grilled, or used as a minor ingredient to flavor dishes.
Flavorings such as brown sugar or maple are used for some products. If used, sodium polyphosphates are added to improve sliceability and reduce spattering when the bacon is pan fried. Today, a brine for ham, but not bacon, includes a large amount of sugar. Historically, "ham" and "bacon" referred to different cuts of meat that were brined or packed identically, often together in the same barrel.
OK, now that we know what bacon is, why is it so popular?
I mean, I have seen entire shows dedicated to the pork product, and have stumbled across numerous websites devoted to the sizzling strips. There was even a link I saw on my twitter feed that sent me to pictures of bacon underwear and other attire. Then there’s the Internet phenomenon “Epic Meal Time” – a YouTube sensation where a bunch of guys get together and cook with bacon and liquor. There are countless uses for bacon too, from the savory, to the sweet and even broke into the cocktail realm. There are countless recipes for dishes that include bacon, and many that you wouldn’t even think of. Bacon donuts anyone? Bacon martini?
Well, in my search as to why bacon is so insanely popular, I came across a site that explained how bacon’s allure stems from science.
It was reported that the allure of bacon is caused by a chemical reaction. Elin Roberts, a science communications manager at the Centre for Life education centre in Newcastle, says that people are attracted to bacon because of a while the bacon is cooking.
Ms Roberts said: “The smell of sizzling bacon in a pan is enough to tempt even the staunchest of vegetarians. There’s something deeper going on inside. It’s not just the idea of a tasty snack. There is some complex chemistry going on”.
Roberts explains that it’s a basically perfect storm of smells and flavors that draw us to the frying of bacon.
She goes on to say, “Meat is made of mostly protein and water. Inside the protein, it’s made up of building blocks we call amino acids. But also, you need some fat. Anyone who’s been on a diet knows if you take all the fat from the meat, it just doesn’t taste the same. We need some of the fat to give it the flavour.”
She says it’s called it a Maillard reaction when the reducing sugar reacts with the amino acids at a high heat. What the heck is a Maillard reaction?
The Maillard reaction (French pronunciation: [majaʁ], mah-yar) is a form of nonenzymatic browning similar to caramelization. It results from a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar, usually requiring heat.
Vitally important in the preparation or presentation of many types of food, it is named after chemist Louis-Camille Maillard, who first described it in the 1910s while attempting to reproduce biological protein synthesis.
Bacon lovers already knew that the allure of bacon was deeper then just a love of good food. I just hope now that this information is out I will stop hearing the question, “Why Bacon”? If I still do I will answer, “Well you see, there are amino acid and reducing sugars in bacon. At a high temperatures this starts a Maillard reaction that….”
Even though the taste of bacon doesn’t do it for me like it does for what seems like every other person on the face of the planet, it makes sense why everyone loves the sizzling and spitting pork product. Maybe I just need to give it another chance…
What is it about bacon that you love?
(sources: wikipedia, latimes.com, my head)