Bacon Camp: Has Bacon Finally Jumped the Shark?

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I love bacon. I said it. I may have mentioned bacon once or twice on my blog, at some point, and suddenly I was inundated with helpful readers pointing out All Things Bacon to me, as if I'd declared I worship weekly at an altar of pig fat.

"Have you tried bacon salt?" (We did, and we like it.)

"Do you need a box of bacon bandages?" (Um, no?)

"Look, it's bacon chocolate!" (A friend gave us a bar, and I didn't like it.)

"OMG, have you seen this bacon explosion recipe?" (This is where I contemplated going vegetarian with my daughter. Does that recipe actually look good to anyone? Because it just made me feel nauseous.)

"Bacon ice cream! Chocolate-covered bacon! Candied bacon! Bacon jam! Bacon vodka!"

I began to suspect that I didn't like bacon nearly as much as some of the people around me. And also that I had way less free time on my hands than they did.

But despite the fact that, as fads go, bacon is probably considered on its way "out," a loyal cadre of bacon-lovers are ready to make sure that true bacon amore is nurtured and informed. That's right: For those called to more mature bacon love, last week they headed to Michigan for Bacon Camp.

Camp Bacon was to be a one-day Davos of cured and/or smoked pork. Many luminaries of the bacon world, plus new, rising stars, would be here: Allan Benton, the humble Tennessean whose pork bellies have made chefs swoon from New York to Napa; Herb Eckhouse, whose La Quercia pancetta and prosciutto from Iowa stand up to the best from Italy; and Nick Spencer, a Brit based in Chicago who began making back bacon this spring. Bacon poetry readings and a performance by 73-year-old R&B artist Andre Williams, who wrote a song called "Bacon Fat" in 1956, would help define the meat's cultural impact.

"It's a thinking person's bacon camp," said Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of Ann Arbor's gourmet mecca Zingerman's, which hosted the event. "I want to get people off the 'I love bacon' thing: 'Give me any and give me more.' I want them to know the differences between them and how to use them."

Ah, well, that's a welcome relief if you were worried that bacon camp would just be the next crop of bacon novelty items. No, this is about discerning the differences in products, knowing which cuts and flavor tones to use for which applications, and just generally paying homage to this versatile, beloved food.

I know this will probably get me kicked out of the club for saying so, but I'm not sure I'd want to spend a whole day discussing bacon. But maybe I should eat some bacon before deciding....

Bloggers Love Bacon

  • Check out this wrap-up and slideshow of Bacon Camp San Francisco from March.
  • And here's the instructions for the bacon fruit cups Christy Canida took to that event.
  • Stacey at Today's Distraction is a vegan who really wanted to go to Bacon Camp. Really.
  • See Jen Eat was inspired to write her own ode to bacon in honor of the Bacon Camp concept.
  • If you really want to see bacon fever, read the comments on Daily Fork's post about bacon roses.
  • How do you feel about bacon these days?

    BlogHer Contributing Editor Mir used to say she loves bacon, but now she thinks maybe she and bacon should just be friends. She blogs near-daily about issues parental and otherwise at Woulda Coulda Shoulda, and posts all day long about the joys of mindful retail therapy at Want Not.

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