A History of Bacon, Bombs, and Bacon Bombs.
Our civilization’s fascination with smoked, cured meat isn’t entirely a new phenomenon – it actually goes back quite a ways. Before electricity, before the revolutionary war, even before the Roman Empire – the people of the world were making, and therefore consuming; tasty, tasty bacon. Last year, Americans bought 864 million pounds of bacon and spent $4.4 billion on everyone’s favorite pork-based treat.
The history of bacon can be traced back to 1500 B.C.E, when the Chinese began curing pork belly with salt – unsmoked bacon, essentially, which can still be found in modern supermarkets today. However, some food historians believe that this practice may trace back even further to 9000 B.C.E when pigs were first domesticated. Of course, Bacon Explosions didn’t exist yet – sausage dates back to this time period, but barbeque sauce wasn’t invented until sometime between the 15th and 18th centuries by the Polish or Germans, depending on how you want to define it’s invention.
The Romans had their own variation of what we know today as bacon called Petaso, which contained cured pig meat boiled with figs, the browned and seasoned with pepper sauce. Not quite as appatizing as a Bacon Explosion or a double bacon cheeseburger, but they had to make dude. The phrase “Bringing Home the Bacon” came into modern parlance a few hundred years later in the 12th century. The English town of Dunmow promised to award a side of bacon to any married man who swore to the lord above and the church congregation that he would not bicker with his wife for one year plus one day. The divorce rate dropped dramatically with happy wives and well-fed husbands – or so the story goes. England continued to be a leader in the world of delicious pork products with John Harris bringing bacon to the masses, stepping up the first large-scale curing business in the 1770’s ensuring that everyone could enjoy a delicious breakfast.
Bacon remained unchanged for the most part until the modern ages, with an invention much more significant then sliced bread. In 1924, Oscar Mayer patented the first version of packaged, presliced bacon – no more need to keep an entire side of bacon in the icebox! Back in those days, bacon was $0.46 per pound – compared to today, with prices hovering around 5-6 dollars per pound. Unfortunately they had to walk 10 miles uphill in the snow to get their bacon from the local grocer, as your grandparents will be happy to tell you all about.
Bacon not only was a hit due to it’s tasty goodness, but also because of it’s relatively affordable price during World War II. After households cooked bacon, they would return the fat to the butcher, who would then pass it along to the war effort – in which bacon fat was used to help make explosives. Great taste and helping to eliminate an evil empire? Let’s see chicken do that! America continued being the world leader in freedom and bacon innovation as the 1960’s brought the advent of Brown N’ Serve precooked bacon. Bacon’s dominance as the America’s favorite pork product was threatened into the 1990’s when the Atkins/low-carb diet craze took hold. Fortunately, bacon never stepped out of the spotlight with turkey bacon getting more attention from the low-fat, high-protein diet crowd.
And then, the moment which changed the world forever – The Bacon Explosion . First brought to the world by Jason Day and Aaron Chronister of BBQ Addicts, the first legitimate Bacon Bomb was a log of meat wrapped in bacon and smothered in BBQ sauce. Since then, thousands of individuals have taken on the challenge of creating, and consuming, this epic culinary delight, from Epic Food Time to our very own blog.
Bacon has went from a practical method of preserving pork to the most popular breakfast meal in America, a common burger topping, in ice cream sundaes at Burger King, and now featured in a bacon-wrapped pizza at Little Caesar’s. And with bacon prices dropping from a high of $6.10 a pound in 2014 to a more reasonable $5.56 per pound in 2015, we expect to see even more bacon – be it in explosions, explosives, or in your ice cream – in the near future!
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