By Timothy Dillon
Bacon flavored cupcakes.
Photo courtesy of Dave Bellous.
Do you love excessively high-fat, moderate-protein proportions? How about spoonfuls of salt? Is grease your thing? So far, if your appetite is waning in response to these questions, there is one more question to ponder. Do you love bacon?
If you answered “Yes,” with a sigh of relief, know that you are not alone.
It is unclear when the bacon craze really took hold, but recently, chefs, restaurants, and entrepreneurs are jumping to take advantage of the most popular breakfast meat. How big is the hype exactly? From bacon brownies to full-fledged bacon-themed businesses, these fat-streaked strips of meat have defied the nutritional odds of becoming the most popular and versatile meat in America.
In July of 2011, Jim Angelus, a San Franciscan small business owner and self-proclaimed foodie, opened his popular Bacon Bacon food truck. Since it began making rounds throughout San Francisco, the truck has met great success, allowing Angelus to open a brick and mortar location in San Francisco’s Cole Valley neighborhood. The quaint shop is modest in size but packed with flavor and the wonderful aroma of freshly cooked bacon. The kitchen services not only the quiet, often fog-laden neighborhood, but also serves as the base of operations for the truck.
The truck and shop have seen their fair share of success, but like all small businesses trying to build themselves, Bacon Bacon has seen its own fair share of trials and tribulations.
In an interview with San Franciscan blog Fare & Square this past March, Angelus said, “I took out one small business loan that the fed government was offering (real small) and then maxed out two credit cards. Not ideal, but it’s what I needed to do.”
Once the truck had been established and the demand became great enough, Angelus opened his permanent location just seven months after the truck began making rounds. Though they have a solid following on Twitter with over 8,000 followers, the shop is not currently able to grow beyond its one truck. This past May, Angelus’ Kickstarter failed to meet its goal of $25,000, falling short at a little over $10,000, despite 121 generous backers. While the Bacon Bacon fleet may not be ready to take America by storm, the bacon sensation certainly stretches far beyond San Francisco.
In New York, Baconery has become the king of bacon-infused goodies, not through a shop or a mobile food truck, but via online deliveries. Salty and sweet is just a few clicks away from the bacon obsessed website. If you are looking for a more subtle use of the meat and a decent afternoon outing, then there is a truck to be hunted down. The Cupcake Crew food truck features maple bacon cupcakes through their mobile food eatery around the five boroughs since October of 2010.
The word Traif means “unkosher” and for the Traif restaurant in Brooklyn, it is not so much a disclaimer as it is a promise. While their menu offers an array of foodie delights, it is one of the few locations in the city that offers bacon dipped doughnuts. A sweet dulce de leche flavor highlighted with the savory and fatty taste of fried pork belly. Is your mouth watering yet? Probably, but this may have more to do with what bacon does to you, rather than the taste itself.
Doctors, dietitians, and nutritionists have mountainous evidence to support that foods high in fat and sugar are, in fact, addictive. Bacon is unique in this case, because not only is its protein-to-fat ratio nearly one to one, it also contains various types of umami, a neurochemical that has been shown to be important in forming addictive habits. Like all addictions, the more you feed them, the worse they get. As with all things, Doctors suggest moderation and common sense. If you’re looking to pig out on any of these bacon-infused foods, please proceed with caution and be sure to take a few days off.
This September marks numerous celebrations for bacon culture. On September 2nd, Bacon Fest NY kicked off in celebration of the producers, chefs, and consumers of bacon. September 3rd marked International Bacon Day, and foodies everywhere celebrated with bacon garnished bloody mary’s, double bacon melts, or perhaps just getting extra bacon with your morning eggs. Bacon Fest NY may have come and gone, but they are already opening up registration for 2013. Their motto is “NEVER Underestimate The Power of Bacon.” With figures like 1.7 billion pounds of bacon being consumed each year and it being present in almost 70 percent of food-oriented business, they are certainly right.