1. mcfrank0 says

    In case y’all haven’t heard this song too many times yet: Interstate 80 Iowa!

  2. weylguy says

    Red State residents appear to worship bacon. They put it in and on everything—triple-bacon cheeseburgers, whole-hog pizza, fall-off-the-bone pork ribs, bacon-wrapped steak, bacon sushi, bacon ice cream.

    I’m reminded of that old Simpsons episode where Marge tries to keep the family’s pork servings down to five nights a week, despite Homer’s protests. Lisa informs her father that ham, bacon and pork all come from the same animal, to which Homer sarcastically replies “Oh, yes, Lisa, it’s a wonderful, magical animal!”

    I’m now convinced that Springfield, the home of the Simpsons, is in Iowa.

  3. says

    I lived in West Springfield for a while, and the guy across the street was the brother of former showrunner Mike Scully, who had grown up there, so I figured that was as good a reason as any for Massachusetts to claim ownership. Now I live in New York, and have become rather agnostic about the whole thing.

    For the World is Hogfull and I Have Touched the Sty.

  4. cartomancer says

    I’ve tried American “bacon”. It’s not a patch on Danish bacon. One of my fellow students on my staircase during my Masters year was Jewish, and he made an exception for Danish bacon. Also, stop frying it until it’s just a crumbly mass of pig-adjacent carbon – bacon should be soft and pale pink, not crunchy and maroon.

    That is all.

  5. Tethys says

    bacon should be soft and pale pink, not crunchy and maroon

    Blasphemer!!! Properly cooked bacon should be so crisp it fractures into shards. Soft and pale pink bacon is raw.

  6. jrkrideau says

    @ cartomancer & Tethys
    I don’t think that you are talking about the same product though both bacons are, likely, from pigs.

    That said, Tethys is obviously mistaken. Even North American style bacon should be distinguishable from a lump of coal.

  7. jrkrideau says

    It occurs to me that the caption in 1948 was prefectly reasonable. Print techniques, I believe, would have been analogue not digital so there should have been no dots in the totally black areas.

    It was not a failure in the legend; the authors failed in clairvoyance. Or the commenters know no history?

  8. PaulBC says

    @jrkrideau I agree that bacon strips should be crispy but not burnt. There is some latitude for individual taste, but if it has been reduced to charcoal, there is not much point.
    “soft and pale pink” sounds more like prosciutto to me.

  9. jrkrideau says

    @ 11 PaulBC
    “soft and pale pink” sounds more like prosciutto to me
    Depends on the bacon. If you are from Canada, think of Danish bacon (well I did eat it in the UK but I think it came from Denmark) as more like peameal bacon than a Canadian bacon rasher. No idea if there is a US equivalent.

    Definately not like prosciutto.

  10. Tethys says

    I believe the bacon which should be cooked to crispy, perfectly browned strips ( but not burnt to charcoal) is referred to as streaky bacon, and the Danish bacon which is usually round and should be pink and tender is what Americans call Canadian bacon. It tastes like ham or thick proscuitto however, so you can’t fool me into considering it bacon, or a pizza topping. /s

  11. Matrim says

    Eat bacon however you like it. Don’t ridicule other people’s opinions on the matter.

    Personally I like bacon very crunchy. To me it has the most satisfying texture and flavor.

  12. johnson catman says

    One should be able to hold a strip of bacon horizontally at one end, and it should not flop. Crispy but not overdone, as Tethys has commented. Of course, YOU can cook and eat your bacon any way you please, but I don’t want undercooked pork belly.

  13. cartomancer says

    Streaky bacon? Pfft. Streaky bacon is to real bacon what cardboard is to a salad. Technically it comes from the same place, but you wouldn’t confuse the two and would be very disappointed if someone mixed them up.

  14. brucej says

    Having ridden a motorcycle across Iowa, it’s pretty hard NOT to notice it’s full of pigs.

    Well, strictly speaking, I observed olfactorily that it was full of pig shit but surely that implies a lot of pigs, although another hypothesis that there are a handful of very large pigs crapping out tons and tons of shit is not ruled out.

  15. Nekomancer says

    I just want to know why there isn’t a HUGH dot over Washington, D.C.? Though I gather they have trouble keeping one of them in it’s nice white painted pen. It keeps escaping and runs off to the nearest golf course.

  16. Tethys says

    All this talk of bacon has made me decide to make some up for BLT sandwiches. I’m sure the UK version of back bacon is good for breakfast, but it would make a very unsatisfactory BLT. It is amusing that “Danish” bacon is a popular brand of back bacon
    , rather than another type of bacon.

  17. Onamission5 says

    Out of curiosity I looked up Danish bacon. Seems it’s cured pork tender loin rather than sliced pork belly, which to me explains the disagreement over cooking preferences. I wouldn’t want crispy pork loin either! Crispy American bacon, on the other hand, is delish.

  18. chigau (違う) says

    cartomancer #18
    …Technically it comes from the same place…
    Like, off of a pig?
    One can get side “bacon” and back “bacon” off the same animal.
    They are not the same thing and no one would mistake them.
    bacon is large and contains multitudes.
    Wanna talk about pizza?

  19. chigau (違う) says

    Tethys #21
    re: BLT sandwiches
    bacon aside…
    what kind of lettuce?
    what kind of tomato?
    what kind of bread?
    *shudder* margarine?

  20. Tethys says


    I’ve been buying Campari salad tomatoes while I wait for the real deal from the garden. For my BLT’s I used romaine lettuce, toasted country white bread, and some mayo. It was quite tasty. I also make a BLT salad, which is coarsely chopped onion, tomatoes, and cucumbers sprinkled with dill and rice vinegar. Add some romaine, a bunch of crumbled bacon and some thousand island dressing. Yum!, especially when most of the veggies come straight from the garden.

  21. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    If you put onions on a BLT, wouldn’t that make it a BOLT? Or perhaps a BLOT? (Sounds delicious, though; if the onions are done right, I could see eliminating the bacon all together.)

  22. says

    The process for curing bacon, as per my Golden Wattle cookbook (28th edition, 1989).

    The recipe starts with a caution that the pig should not weigh more than 50kg.

    You start by cutting off the head of the pig, cutting this in two, and cleaning it thoroughly, cutting away all bony matter from nostrils.
    Put the heads in strong salt water for two days to allow bleeding.
    Cut sides across between third and fourth rib to form shoulder and across at bottom of rib to form ham. Remove the ribs.
    Run a steel down the bones as close as possible in the ham and shoulder, and down the hocks where the feet have been cut off, and pack in fine salt, paicking it in well with steel.
    Place hams, shoulder and sides in prepared brine for two days to allow bleeding. Drain well.

    Brine recipe:

    36 litres rainwater
    8 kg salt
    1 kg brown sugar
    2 tablespoons saltpetre

    Boil this mixture for 1 hour and skim frothy matter rising to surface. Strain into a clean barrel. Best to make this a day before, so it has time to cool.

    Weight the hams, etc down so that the brine completely covers them.
    Put fly-proof cover over barrel. A chaff bag placed across barrel with hoop to tighten it down makes a good cheap cover
    (Note: the head, trotters and tongue may be put in this brine after the hams etc are taken out and allowed to remain there for two weeks, when they will be ready for use).
    Now prepare the following mixture, which has to be rubbed in for three days and sprinkled for eleven more days, turning the meat in rotation:

    5.44kg fine salt (5440g)
    1.8kg brown sugar (1800g)
    480g powdered all spice
    240g mustard
    30g saltpetre

    Do not be afraid to use the mixture freely and make more if required.
    Place skin sides down one day then reverse next day. Cover well from flies. Put heavy weight on meat, as pressing squeezes out the moisture.
    After curing, meat may be washed, dried and smoked.

    Smoking: Smoking takes about 3 days. An effective smoke house is an old iron tank. Hang the meat on wires. Sawdust makes a good, thick smoke.

    (I should, perhaps, note the first edition of this cookbook was produced back in 1926. I collect these sorts of cookbooks for these little gems of historical knowledge. My other prize is the CWA cookbook which starts with instructions on how to cater for a sale of stock for 300 people, and includes a recipe for curry for 50 people which has an ingredient half a tin of plum jam. You can see why Australian foodies tend to be very much in favour of multiculturalism).

  23. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Anyway, give me pancetta, or prosciutto. Or better yet, jamón ibérico (just don’t make me pay for it).

  24. chigau (違う) says

    Tethys #25
    I approve. I’m a few weeks away from anything from my garden.
    Except for lettuce. Which apparently seeded-out last fall.
    And is now turning up everywhere.
    oh and all the onion-like things
    which we’ve been eating for a few weeks
    tonight’s rhubarb, dipped in sugar

  25. chigau (違う) says

    Meg Thornton #27
    What do they do with the rest?
    brains, eyeballs, liver, lights, etc.?

  26. Tethys says


    I’m a few weeks away from anything from my garden.
    Except for lettuce. Which apparently seeded-out last fall.
    And is now turning up everywhere.

    We got a 18 to 24 inch blizzard in late April so spring gardening season has been compressed into just a few weeks. I’m slowly getting caught up, but I still haven’t cleared out half the garden so it can be planted. I do have the tomatoes in the ground. Marjoram, violets, and black eyed susans are attempting to take over the veggie beds and lawn between beds. I’ve got chives in full bloom, and could supply a restaurant with peppermint that managed to ninja runner itself deep into my strawberry bed.

    It was in the 90s and 100’s F all last week, so sadly I won’t even bother trying to seed lettuce or the other cool season crops until fall.

  27. jazzlet says

    Of course you can also get Scottish bacon which has the back and streaky in one glorious long piece … best of both.

  28. blf says

    Locally, the organic market stall people with the tomato fetish have been going even more tomato — last time I counted seven different varieties of tomatoes (and purchased samples of five of them). In total, the tomatoes had colonised about half the stall (in area and perhaps volume, but were probably outweighed by the melons huddling in the corner). Tomato, tomato, tomato, tomato, and for a difference mozzarella di bufalae and prosciutto crudo, plus another tomato, salad with an olive oil and moutarde de Dijon dressing, coming up !


    The mildly deranged penguin maintains the best bacon is not from the side or back of pig, or indeed from a pig, but from just under the frill of Ceratopsia dinosaurs (such as the Triceratops, albeit they aren’t the best choice). Perhaps the best is smoked Protoceratops, albeit they are so tasty they were often eaten raw. The ancient Greeks so prized this sort of bacon they tried to disguise the source of the meat, calling them Grýphōn.

    Smoking the Ceratopsia bacon results in an exceptionally tasty meat. It was the mildly deranged penguin’s attempt to build a smokehouse which resulted in the K–T extinction. Whilst that did smoke a considerable quantity of Ceratopsia, she hadn’t been planning to do all of them at once, or to roast or lava-fry that many. It also messed up the tomato garden, with perhaps the minor advantage saber-toothed tomatoes have become exceptionally rare.† So keeping the snails under control is now a problem (gardens where the plants eat the pests are fairly easy to keep, just make sure you wear sufficient armour when harvesting).

      † Next market day I’ll try asking the tomato fetish stallholders if they can get some. « Pardon, madame, pouvez-vous avoir des tomates à dents de sabre? »

  29. catbutler says

    @2…not just red states. They have bacon topped maple donuts in the Minneapolis airport.

  30. frankb says

    My county, Johnson County, Iowa is totally blacked out. Just like the oceans. I don’t even notice the hogs, and I like my bacon thick and chewy.

  31. Onamission5 says

    @catbutler #34:

    Indeed, the first occasion I recall meeting bacon ice cream was in Oregon in the mid-late 80’s. Although whether OR was yet a blue state at that point might be up for debate, as it didn’t officially flip, I think, until the election of ’88.

  32. blf says

    In N.Carolina, Underreporting of toxic waste at hog farms prompts inquiry:

    Authorities in North Carolina have launched an investigation into widespread underreporting of dangerous toxins in dozens of feces-filled cesspools on giant hog farms that dot the eastern part of the state.

    Testing of 55 waste lagoons at 35 hog raising operations by regulators showed large discrepancies in levels of key pollutants compared to what was self-reported to the state by farmers. Excessive nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, which can poison the water supply, were, in many cases, much higher than that reported by the farms.

    The presence of hazardous heavy metals such as zinc and copper in the waste lagoons was even greater — zinc levels were as much as 101,108% higher in the regulators’ testing compared to what was reported to them.

    Inspectors from North Carolina department of environmental quality (DEQ) took the samples from farms on 13 April and compared them to what was self-reported on that day. The farms are supposed to adhere to permits that restrict harmful pollutants befouling the air and water of nearby residents.

    There are around 2,000 industrialized hog farms in North Carolina, making the state the second largest pork producer in the US. […] The pig farms of North Carolina produce around 10 billion gallons of feces a year, which is more than the volume of waste flushed down toilets by the human population of Germany.

    [… E]nvironmental groups and a band of North Carolina residents claim the industry has tainted the air and water for decades with little intervention from supine state regulators.


    In letters to the 35 hog farm operators, state authorities apologized “for the short notice” given ahead of inspections. […]

    The sample letter linked-to in the above excerpt shows, for the farm in question, a discrepancy almost 10,000% (yes, ten thousand) in the amount of copper (Cu).