Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Baconic Aesthetic

Friend, ex-coworker, and general "Good Dude" Bronson (BJJ/MMA blog, current post food-related) just linked me to this New York Times story about a 4-lb. grilled bacon and sausagecreation that has gone viral on the Interwebs. That story reminded me of the Bacon Cheese Baconburger, which led to my coining the word "baconic" to describe that characteristic while the BCB story has in greater quantity than the bacon-sausage roll. When I say baconic, I don't just mean "of, or relating to, bacon," though of course that is part of the definition. The term also references a bacon-centric (baconic - see how useful this word is!) aesthetic that seems to pop up regularly among foodies and on their blogs. Part of bacon's appeal among these people is doubtlessly its delectable smoke and pork and salt flavor, carried (and how cool is this?) by its own grease. That bacon taste of course traditionally enhances all sorts of dishes, from salads to soups to mashed potatoes, but it can also work well in strange places like desserts (with chocolate) despite its characteristic assertiveness.

So flavor is one reason why food enthusiasts love bacon. But just as bacon has complex flavor, the bacon aesthetic has many facets as well. One facet is that bacon is contrarian. In an era (and I'm talking here about a length of time measured in decades) that is decidedly anti-fat and anti-salt, bacon is pretty much wrapped in those gastronomic demons. Even smoke is, or should be, controversial because of its carcinogenic effects. Fresh, natural ingredients with clean flavors are another fixation of modern cooks, and deservedly so. Bacon is so heavily processed and distinctly flavored that the uninitiated would probably be unable to identify it as pork. And as a preserved food intended for long-term storage, it's not anywhere near fresh. So of course we love it and love talking about it, because we're all about the naughty stuff. Bacon is a smoky, greasy finger in the eye of conventional culinary wisdom, and the bacon aesthetic is all about going our own way with food, especially if it's the wrong way. Bacontakes a stand for everything that is forbidden us, and it does it in a brash, in-your-face way: when you put bacon in a dish, you simply cannot cover it up. It says, in a most baconic fashion, "I'm here, even if I shouldn't be. And you love it."


  1. DLim you rock. Never before have a seen a more moving, yet true, ode to bacon.
    <3 Abes.

  2. why is it that the pictures of that bacon abomination make me want to scream DEATH TO AMERICA and fly a plane into our cuilinary institutions? explain please.

  3. Because everyone has a little food terrorist inside them.