Bacon Is A Food Crutch Society Needs To Get Over

Don’t go bacon my heart

Everything tastes better with bacon.” This oft-repeated mantra has led to the elevation of a simple breakfast staple to manic-level popularity. Not even strong evidence that bacon causes cancer can quell bacon sales.

No longer just an accompaniment to eggs, bacon can (and will) appear in every meal and every course, dessert included. But, as bacon’s popularity has increased, so has the over-reliance on the cured meat. Rather than being used to take good food to the next level, bacon has made mediocre food taste more like bacon.

Growing up in a moderately kosher home, bacon was never on the menu. While we didn’t separate milk and meat, nonkosher animals were strictly off-limits. With age, I have become more lax and my palate has expanded considerably, but I still haven’t developed a taste for bacon.

Fans will talk about the complex flavors—sweet, salty, umami—and textures. That complexity is why bacon has always been a key ingredient in traditional cooking. Flip through a pre-baconmania cookbook and it’s not surprising to see bacon listed as the first ingredient. Coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon both start by sautéing bacon and reserving the fat to cook the rest of the ingredients. The result is a hint of bacon that permeates the dish—the star is still the chicken or the beef, but the dishes are elevated by the smokiness of the bacon.

When bacon stops being the bridesmaid and wants to be the bride, it becomes a crutch. In the mid-to-late 2000s, bacon began appearing prominently on menus and the dishes that included bacon sold better. Suddenly, more dishes had bacon—even dishes that didn’t need it. Everyone was so swept up in the novelty of it all, they failed to recognize what had been lost along the way.

I love macaroni and cheese the way a lot of people love bacon. If I see mac ’n’ cheese on the menu, I almost always order it. Making a good one usually involves picking the right combination of high-quality cheese and pairing it with a sturdy pasta that holds up against the thick, creamy sauce. When bacon hit its peak, it became the ingredient to add to mac ’n’ cheese. After a while, instead of following everyone else who was ordering their mac ’n’ cheese with bacon, I had to start ordering mine without.

One evening, my dinner companion ordered mac ’n’ cheese with bacon, but I was not impressed. The cheese combination was bland; the pasta was overdone and mushy. It was as if the addition of bacon allowed the kitchen to stop trying.

Not just a crutch, bacon is also a gimmick. Pinterest is filled with recipes for bacon breakfast cups, bacon-wrapped everything, and pies with bacon lattice tops, to name a few. And who can forget Wendy’s commercials for the “Baconator”? Artisanal donut shops have been including candied bacon atop their wares for years, but Dunkin’ Donuts got in on the action for a limited time with the Deluxe Bacon Donut—an eclair-type donut topped with two strips of bacon. Not surprisingly, there are entire cookbooks devoted to cooking with bacon.

I'm not antibacon. I just think that bacon, like all things, has a time and place. It’s important to learn how to cook and how food comes together to make a good meal. Bacon can be a useful ingredient in the kitchen, but it shouldn’t always be the primary ingredient. A meal is more than just the sum of its parts. Relying on bacon to make food taste better will only lead to every meal tasting like, well, bacon.

via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

Keep Reading Show less

Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet