Bacon has long been a breakfast staple in most American households and pancake restaurants, but in recent years the savory foodstuff has infiltrated every meal and food item imaginable.
Bacon has appeared on just about every menu in the country, and it's no holds barred when it comes to menu items that can (and do) contain bacon. Even the most casual observer cannot help but notice the bacon-infused appetizers, desserts, and liquors. America's love of bacon continues to grow.Just how popular is bacon?
Food service professionals will tell you that, next to french fries, bacon is the most popular food among customers of all ages-- and eating habits.
Phoney Baloney, the world's first (and probablyonly) producer of Coconut Bacon, has such confidence in consumer addiction to bacon that they now market their gluten-free, vegan Coconut Bacon at nationwide Fresh Markets and are enjoying brisk sales of their "fake" bacon-- with a hint of tropical coconut.
Real Bacon v. Fake Bacon
Why do people go to such great lengths to imitate the smell, taste and crunch of bacon by making "fake" bacon? CompoundChem has an answer in the chemical breakdown of the aroma of bacon.
We primarily think of bacon as a salty or savory food, but it also contains sugars which react with amino acids when you toss it into a hot frying pan. Known as theMaillard reaction, the chemical process that occurs when foods brown in contact with heat— bread turned to toast, white ale roasted into brown beer and pink, raw bacon transmogrified to crispy brown strips of heaven— enhances the flavor of food. Combine the Maillard reaction with the simultaneous thermal breakdown of fats and mouthwatering aroma is produced.
Scientists have posited that this complex biochemistry involved in heating the sugars, acids and fats in bacon actually fuels the addictive response we humans have towards bacon.
Alternatives to real bacon, like Phoney Baloney's vegan coconut bacon attempt to capture the essence of the Maillard reaction in bacon while still ticking of the health benefits that today's conscientious consumer wants to see-- reduced fat, less calories and cholesterol and minimal preservatives.
By using refined bacon grease, seasonings and curing processes in non-pork "bacon," fake bacon provides a facsimile of the distinctive smell and taste of the real thing.
Food Service Establishments Dish Up the Bacon Dishes
To satisfy customers clamoring for "more bacon," the food service industry has created unique ways to serve real and fake bacon. Trina's Starlite Lounge in Boston serves chocolate-covered bacon while Scampo's offers a bacon, butterscotch and bourbon doughnut. Craving bacon and egg-flavored ice cream? Book a flight to The Fat Duck in Bray, UK and order its signature dish prepared tableside with dry ice, custard and, of course, bacon.
The obsession doesn't stop with bacon infused meals or passable bacon alternatives, though.
People love bacon so much that a strange variety of commercial products offer consumers a low-quality version of bacon smells and tastes without having to cook it--a type of baconv"quick fix". Unbelievably, bacon fanatics can purchase bacon vodka, bacon mints, bacon dental floss, bacon chewing gum and yes, even bacon-flavored toothpaste. Want to breathe in the wonderfully salty, bacon-y odor of bacon? Just grab a can of bacon air freshener and spray away!
All Things Bacon-- Now and Forever
Although it is common knowledge that overindulging in bacon does your weight and cholesterol no favors,we still crave bacon. Whether it's the Maillard reaction making bacon more addictive than illicit drugs or just the fact that humans love to eat meat, the food service industry will probably never have to worry about bacon being pushed aside for healthier foods that aren't quite the real thing.