After the recent announcement by the World Health Organization that meat causes cancer (vegetarians and vegans worldwide rejoice while I cry in the corner), some of us might be more inclined to lay off the meat. But there’s some of us that can’t really comprehend a world without meat, and one of those meats is bacon. One of the US’s most prized meats, and loved around the world, it has somehow captured the hearts of millions of Americans.
But why do we love bacon so much? It’s not like it comes from an endangered animal, or possesses the same kind of jaw-dropping effects that wagyu beef and other specialty meats produce: it’s simply the underside of a pig. Despite it’s meager origins, bacon mania has swallowed the US, evident by the number of websites, cookbooks, clubs, and blogs (as well as a dating app) all revolving around the love of bacon.
What is it about the delectable meat that makes it so appealing? Why does it make our mouths water? A lot of it has to do with science. When bacon is heated, sugar, fats, and amino acids combine to produce 150 volatile compounds that stimulate the body’s olfactory system, resulting in that mouth-watering effect so many of us have experienced throughout our lives. Bacon is said to possess umami, also known as the fifth flavor (alongside sweet, salty, bitter, and sour) or, as some have described it, deliciousness. The salty, sometimes sweet, taste is a food memory your mouth and brain will never be able to forget.
The bacon craze has almost become a movement unlike any other. With hundreds of blogs dedicated to the meat, and thousands of novelty items, it’s a wonder why this meat was only viewed as just a typical breakfast food for so many decades. Some associate bacon’s rise as a top breakfast food to the many high protein/low carbohydrate diets of the late 1990s and early-to-mid aughts. As more and more Americans allowed themselves to indulge and partake in bacon, the meat found a place at many breakfast tables throughout the US. Others would argue that as the general populace puts more emphasis on where their food comes from and what it’s made up of; artisan butchers and craftsman have been able to cater to those looking for high-quality food, especially meat.
Despite why and how bacon made a comeback in the US, the fact remains that the meat is a wonderful gift from God/the Creator. Regardless of whether or not you eat meat, take a moment to appreciate the beauty that is bacon. It has been known to turn some vegetarians and vegans back to meat!