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Why is Bacon Called Bacon? and Other Food Name Origins

Why is Bacon Called Bacon? and Other Food Name Origins


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It’s a little odd to think of the fact that every single word that we say, in any language, has its origins somewhere. From bacon to bread, the name of every single food in existence also got its start somewhere. We rounded up 10 of the most essential foods around, did some digging, and tracked down where their names came from.

Why is Bacon Called Bacon? and Other Food Name Origins (Slideshow)

Like most English words in general, the names of most foods are Latin in origin. But that doesn’t mean that every word has ancient roots: certain foods, like sandwiches, are named after people. Many foods have roots with the cultures that first brought them to English-speaking countries; foods that were popular with Eastern European Jews, for example, continue to bear monikers similar to the ones bestowed on them centuries ago.

The culinary world is a living, breathing thing, and new foods are being invented all the time. The current rage is portmanteaux, or the fine art of taking two food names and combining them into a completely new word. Take the Cronut, for example, invented last summer by pastry chef Dominique Ansel. It’s an amalgam of the words croissant (which is French for ‘crescent’) and doughnut, a word which was actually first written down by writer Washington Irving, who described them as "balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog's fat” in his 1809 History of New York (they were most likely closer in resemblance to doughnut holes, which look more or less like “dough nuts”).

So next time you’re munching away on a bagel, take a second and remember that once upon a time, there was no word for that delicious orb of dough, and some baker thought long and hard before christening it accordingly. Maybe one day, when you’re tinkering around in your kitchen at 1 a.m., you too can invent a food that nobody’s ever eaten before, and you can invent a food name as well. In that case, we’d suggest brushing up on your Latin.

Read on to learn the origins of 10 of the world’s most popular foods.


Why are Dishes That Feature Spinach called Florentine?

There is a great trick to get your kids to eat spinach: cook it into scrambled eggs. This is how my folks got me to eat it, as passed down by my grandmother from her mother before her. I actually loved this scrambled eggs with spinach mixture as a child. But, I had a curious name for it. See, my grandmother called it Eggs Benedict. Weird, no? Most of us, today, being so food savvy, know that Eggs Benedict is a poached egg with ham and Hollandaise sauce, served on an English muffin. The original dish may well have included bacon (or even fish?), and most of the time, of course, the “ham” used is Canadian bacon.

So, why did I think that eggs Benedict was scrambled eggs and spinach for so long? Well, because, in French cooking, dishes served on a bed of spinach are called à la Florentine.

Of course, eggs Benedict is not actually French. The two common origin stories have it originating in New York but neither of these is likely correct as you can read in the article linked above. However, most professional chefs are well versed in French cooking terms, and so when the ham was replaced with a bed of spinach, it was called eggs Florentine. To be clear, placing entree’s on a bed of spinach is a traditional practice, and anytime you put eggs on top of spinach you can call it eggs Florentine, regardless of whether it is served with Hollandaise sauce. Serving entrees on a bed of spinach is so traditional, in fact, that I have grown disgusted by how many wannabe fine dining restaurants seem to think that anything becomes gourmet if you put greens underneath it. Others, of the rustic swank variety, seem to think that Eggs Benedict must always have spinach scattered around the plate. But I digress.

Incidentally, there is another way of serving eggs and spinach, whereby scrambled eggs are placed on top of a bed of spinach (usually fresh or lightly blanched) and served on top of toast. It is hard to say if my association of spinach and scrambled eggs could have come from this practice, but probably not, as this seems to be just one of endless egg and spinach dishes that may be called Florentine, and is likely a version of the Eggs Benedict style dish. We also see omelets with spinach being called Florentine, and let’s not forget Quiche Florentine. Most modern renditions of Eggs Florentine à la Benedict are really just Eggs Benedict with a layer of spinach added, often with tomatoes, chives, or other ingredients as well.

My Grandmother, once a professional cook, although not a trained chef, must have derived this association between eggs Benedict and spinach from this variation of the dish. She was obviously unaware of what Eggs Benedict was, and had no idea that dishes served with spinach were called Florentine by fancy-pants chefs, although this Southern cook could undoubtedly teach some of them a thing or two. Anyway, we see the connection between Eggs Benedict and spinach, but what does it have to do with Florentine?

Where did the name Florentine Come From?

Florentine refers to Florence, Italy, and the term would translate into something like “in the manner of Florence.” The origin of the term comes from a French queen named Catherine de Médicis, who was born in Florence and, in 1533, married Henri (Henry), the second son of King Francois I. Henry was the heir-apparent to the French throne, known as the dauphin in those days. When Francois I died in 1547, Catherine became the Queen of France. Quite ruthless, and justifiably paranoid, she imported her own cooks from Florence, and also is said to have brought along spinach seeds to grow. Se had her cooks make dishes with spinach, and this practice became popular enough that it came to be known as spinach à la Florentine, to denote the origin of the vegetable, and then eventually simply Florentine. Catherine is also claimed to have introduced many aspects of table etiquette to France, and to have introduced the fork to that country.

Spinach itself (Spinacea oleracea), gets its name from the old Persian word aspanakh. Spinach is believed to have originated in Persia and, in fact, still grows wild in Iran. It has been cultivated for over 2000 years. It was introduced into China as early as 647 BCE, but it did not reach Europe until the ninth century, when the Saracens invaded Sicily. Arabs alse brought it to Spain in the eleventh century, and it reached England by the mid-1500’s. In those days, it was called variously spinech, spinage, spinnedge, or even spynoches.

Other Use Of Florentine

Florentine has also been used to name a nut and candied fruit biscuit with a layer of chocolate on one side. Up until the 1800’s, this was a meat pie or tart with minced meat, currants, species, eggs, and other ingredients baked together. Similar to mince-meat pies or “mince pies”, it is hard to say what this dish had to do with Florence, Italy.


Contents

Roman Era

According to food historians, the Romans ate a type of bacon which they called petaso, which was essentially domesticated pig meat boiled with figs, then browned and seasoned with pepper sauce.

1600's

Bacon, a relatively easy to produce and cheap meat source, becomes a staple for European peasants. Smoked Bacon is considered the highest quality.

1770's

John Harris, an Englishman, is credited as the forefather of large scale industrial bacon manufacturing. He opened his company in Wiltshire, still considered the bacon capital of the world.

Oscar Mayer introduces pre-packaged, pre-sliced bacon to America.

1990's

Ordinary bacon is no longer enough to satisfy bacon lovers. Many varieties of bacon spin-offs appear, including Chicken-Fried Bacon and Bacone

21st century

Bacon has become super popular, with mebsites, blogs, a Wikia (Hey! look at me!), t-shirts and a plethora of products all appreciating the goodness that is Bacon.


The Origins of Odd Food Names, from Funeral Potatoes to Welsh Rarebit

Most recipes and menu items sport pretty straightforward names that tell you what it is you’ll be eating, like Chicken Noodle Soup, for instance. Some even allude to the preparation method: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Enchiladas. Then there are things like Funeral Potatoes, where at least you know the main ingredient, and Toad in the Hole, where you hope the titular amphibian isn’t in the actual dish.

Cracking the Code Why Do We Call Deviled Eggs 'Deviled'? Why do some foods have such odd names? At heart, because people love wordplay, and probably have since the beginning of spoken language. But the specific names for individual dishes are often inspired by their appearance, their taste (take deviled eggs), their preparation (see Vietnamese shaking beef), their cultural significance, or their creation stories (if you’ve ever wondered why mayor of Flavor Town Guy Fieri calls his signature aioli-esque condiment “donkey sauce,” here’s your answer). Others, like puppy chow, have murkier origins, but all are intriguing in their own right.

Even basic culinary words we consider ordinary now, like doughnuts, ladyfingers, and sweetbreads, are a bit peculiar when you stop to ponder them and how they came to be. But the world of linguistics, even filtered down to just food-related terms, is incredibly vast, so let’s focus on specific recipe names that make you say huh, and maybe make you giggle.

Funeral Potatoes

Funeral potatoes are delicious, despite their dire name, which comes from the fact that they’re often served at luncheons following funeral services. The casserole of shredded potatoes enriched with cheese, sour cream, and condensed soup—and topped with crunchy cornflakes (or potato chips)—is easy to make, super comforting, travels well, and can feed a lot of people, so it makes sense. They’re also sometimes called Mormon potatoes, since they’re especially popular in Utah and often turn up at various LDS functions. And they got a lot of online attention last year, thanks to Walmart’s ads for a frozen version of the regionally popular hotdish that took the internet by storm. Memes may die, but funeral potatoes live on as a classic. Get the Funeral Potatoes recipe.

Augason Farms Funeral Potatoes, $9.98 at Walmart

Are these disturbing, or to die for?

Welsh Rarebit (née Welsh Rabbit)

This dish of toast smothered in thick cheese sauce was enjoyed in Wales in some form since the 1500s, but they called it “caws pobi” (“baked cheese”)—the English were the ones who jokingly applied the “Welsh rabbit” name, first recorded in 1725. There’s never been any meat in the dish, nor was it meant to emulate it rabbit was just considered an amusingly fancy term to apply to such a humble meal. There were nearly identical recipes for Scotch rabbit and English rabbit alongside the Welsh in the 1747 edition of “The Art of Cookery.” Rarebit seems to have been a misspelling that gained popularity, although some sources claim it was adopted to prevent potential confusion about the ingredients—in which case, “Cheese Toast” would have sufficed, but been nowhere near as fun to say. Get our Welsh Rarebit Bites recipe.

Spotted Dick

While your only exposure to spotted dick may have been from a can that was passed around amid plenty of chuckling at a White Elephant party, it’s a beloved British dessert, similar to figgy pudding. The “spotted” part of the name refers to the dried currants or raisins speckling the dough, while the rest is probably a corruption of the last syllable of “pudding” (the general term for British desserts, as well as a specific type of dish made from baked or steamed batter). The name’s been in use since at least 1849, when spotted dick first appeared in a cookbook, “The Modern Housewife.” Get the Spotted Dick recipe.

Simpson's Spotted Dick Sponge Pudding, $8.01 on Amazon

In case you want to try it. or wrap it up for a White Elephant party.

Devils on Horseback

This one’s more mysterious. Some sources say the vaguely red-and-black colors of the dish account for the devilish name (conveniently ignoring the whole “horseback” part maybe “devils on pigback” just didn’t sound impressive enough). Other sources say they’re a diabolical answer to “Angels on Horseback” (oysters wrapped in bacon), and were originally the very same dish with spicy pepper added, hence the hellfire-denoting name change. According to this same source, the prunes that became associated with the Satanically titled dish were simply a cheaper and more readily available substitute for the shellfish, but had nothing to do with the infernal name itself, which is probably correct—but that still leaves the mystery of how the original dish got its angelic designation. Oyster shells do look vaguely like wings (and the bivalves are considered heavenly by their fans…?), so perhaps that accounts for the angel bit—as for “horseback,” your guess is still as good as mine. Get our Devils on Horseback recipe.

Bubble and Squeak

Here’s a vastly more straightforward member of the delightfully named food family. Bubble and squeak is an English dish traditionally comprised of leftover vegetables from a Sunday roast, primarily potatoes and cabbage or brussels sprouts. It can include other veggies and even chopped or shredded meat, but the indispensable cabbage makes bubbling and squeaking sounds as it’s cooked, hence the adorable title. Get the Bubble and Squeak recipe.

Toad in the Hole

Another charming British bite, toad in the hole is made from sausages baked into Yorkshire pudding. Presumably, the dish is named for the look of the partially-concealed sausages peeking up out of the batter. One perhaps too-good-to-be-true tale says it was created in gentle jest after real toads ruined a putt during a golf tournament, but even if that’s not the case, someone had to have clocked the resemblance (or imagined it…) and come up with the name. “The Art of Cookery” does have a recipe for “Pigeon in the Hole” that actually contains pigeon (with other meat like rump steak or lamb kidneys suggested as possible substitutes), but there’s no record of anyone ever using frogs or toads in the dish. (You’ll also see some people use “toad in a hole” to describe an egg cooked inside a piece of toast, but most call that Egg in a Nest, for far more obvious reasons.) Get our Breakfast Toad in the Hole recipe.

Scotch Woodcock

French Tart/Genius Kitchen

Similar to Welsh rabbit, this Victorian-era British dish does not contain any woodcock (a red-breasted, white-legged fowl often called the king of game birds). Instead, it’s made from soft scrambled eggs piled on toast and topped with anchovies, and traditionally calls for “Gentleman’s Relish” (or Patum Peperium), a super-secret-recipe spiced anchovy butter you can make at home or buy online. As to why this combination was christened Scotch Woodcock, someone must have thought it sounded jolly amusing (and the Scotch refers to Scotland, where it was invented) another highbrow name for a humble dish. Although it seems best fit for breakfast, lunch, or even a light dinner, it was often served as a savory end-of-meal alternative to a sweet dessert. Get the Scotch Woodcock recipe.

Patum Peperium: The Gentleman's Relish, $8.15 on Amazon

Allegedly, only one member of staff in the factory knows the actual recipe for this classic British anchovy paste.

Hushpuppies

A Southern specialty, these soft-centered, crisp-shelled cornmeal fritters come with plenty of stories behind their creation—most of which aren’t true, but are oft-repeated enough that they’re widely accepted as fact. This is a fascinating, in-depth look at the actual origins of both the fritters (which used to be called, in different regions of the South, red horse bread, red devils, three finger bread, and wampus) and how they came to be commonly known as hushpuppies. Get our Shrimp and Okra Hushpuppies recipe.

Pets de Nonnes

If you’re not a fluent French speaker, “pets de nonnes” sounds fairly lovely, and indeed, it describes a wonderfully airy, fried, sugar-dusted beignet. Unfortunately—or amazingly, if you have a juvenile sense of humor like me—the literal translation of the name is “nuns’ farts.” The pastry’s dainty and delicate nature is thought to account for the moniker, but in actuality, it may have originally been “paix de nonnes” (“nuns’ peace”), which just so happens to sound nearly identical to the more flatulent phrase in French. There are similar pastries called “nuns’ sighs” (“suspiros de novicia”) in Spain, lending credence to the latter theory. But once the cruder name caught on, there was no stopping it. You can also find “pets de soeurs” (soeurs means “sisters”) in Quebec—these are often confused with the puffs, though in fact they’re flaky pastries that look like flat, thin slices of cinnamon rolls. Both are delicious, and sure to elicit snickers from certain audiences. Get the Pets de Nonnes recipe.

All featured products are curated independently by our editors. When you buy something through our retail links, we may receive a commission. For more great hand-picked products, check out the Chowhound Shop.

Note: The original version of this post was written on April 5, 2018 it was updated with new links, text, and images on February 13, 2019.


What&aposs the Difference Between American and British Bacon?

Both Americans and Brits can agree that bacon plays a critical role at breakfast, but any American who’s had the pleasure of eating a full English breakfast�ns, fried tomato, eggs, and all—knows that British bacon is different from American bacon. American bacon is generally served in crispy strips, streaked with fat, while British bacon, also known as rashers, is chewier and thicker, served in round slices it’s closer to a slice of grilled deli meat than what an American would traditionally call �on.” But what, exactly, causes the difference between British and American bacon? And British expats complain about the lack of British bacon here in the United States, so why is this style of bacon so hard to find in the United States?

The difference between British and American bacon doesn’t really have to do with preparation of the meat. Even though American bacon is often smoked for flavor, and British bacon is often left unsmoked, or “green,” both styles of bacon are cured. (That curing process is, after all, what makes bacon bacon.)

The cut of meat is what makes all the difference. American bacon is streaky with fat because it comes from pork belly, one of the fattiest parts of the pig. Rashers, on the other hand, are cut from the loin, located in the middle of the pig’s back where the meat is leaner. The cut of meat that’s used for British bacon is actually the same cut as a pork tenderloin or loin roast, just sliced and cured differently.


4. Popsicles

If you love Popsicles, you can thank 11-year-old Frank Epperson of California.

In 1905, young Frank accidentally left a cup of water and powdered soda on his porch. The glass also had a stick for mixing. The sweet concoction froze overnight, so Frank released the ice pop by running it under hot water. He dubbed them “Episicles” and continued making them for his friends.

As a father, Frank also made the treats for his children, who convinced him to call the ice pops “Popsicles.”

It was a play on the word “Pop’s ‘sicles.” In 1923, Frank patented the Popsicle, and by 1925, he teamed up with Joe Lowe Company in New York to distribute the treat throughout country.


Contents

Peameal bacon is a type of unsmoked back bacon. It is made from centre-cut pork loin, trimmed of fat, wet-cured in a salt-and-sugar brine and rolled in cornmeal. [5] It can be sliced and cooked on a grill, griddled or fried or roasted then sliced and served. [6] The brining process makes it nearly impossible to overcook. [7] The low fat content keeps it juicy, and the cornmeal gives it a crispy edge. [8]

Cooked peameal bacon has a mild salty-sweet flavour and tastes more like fresh ham (when compared to smoked back bacon or side bacon). [6] The cooked slices have been described as resembling small pork cutlets. [9] It is eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, [8] served in slices or as an ingredient in a pork dish. [6]

The name peameal comes from the dried yellow peas that were ground into meal and packed around the meat to preserve it in the Victorian era. This has since been replaced by cornmeal, but the original name remains. [6] [8] Peameal bacon is rarely found outside of Southern Ontario, [10] [11] and is often simply referred to as "back bacon". Similarly, a peameal bacon sandwich is often called "back bacon on a bun". [12] [13]

Some Americans refer to peameal bacon as Canadian bacon. However, this should not be confused with Canadian-style bacon or Canadian back bacon, which are terms used by the US-based North American Meat Institute for an American style of smoked back bacon. [10] [6] This may be sold in US supermarkets as "Canadian bacon", though it is not in any way Canadian. [6] [7] Americans use these names to differentiate from what they call American bacon, a US term for side bacon (a.k.a. streaky bacon). [10]

England's Wiltshire Bacon has been well known since as early as 1765. [14] The bacon is brined, "dusted" or "mopped' in peameal, and may be mildly smoked or unsmoked. [15] On March 30, 1905, an ad for "Pea Meal Wiltshire Bacon" appeared in the Montreal Gazette. Throughout April, the same seller also advertised "pea meal ham", "pea meal boneless Breakfast Bacon " and "pea meal Windsor bacon". On Friday, August 25, 1905, an ad for "Pea Meal Bacon" appeared in Winnipeg's Manitoba Morning Free Press.

The origins of peameal bacon have not been firmly established. Curing pork with brine has been practiced for centuries, in many parts of the world. [7] Peameal bacon has been linked to pork-packer William Davies and the Toronto-based William Davies Company, though it is uncertain if the process was invented by Davies, an employee, or if it was otherwise acquired by the company. [16] Davies immigrated to Canada from Britain in 1854, and set up a shop in Toronto's St. Lawrence Market. [9]

According to Toronto's oral history, [7] Davies sent a side of brine-cured pork loins to relatives in England. To help preserve this shipment, he packed it in ground yellow peas. [17] [6] This was well received, and Davies continued rolling cured loins in pea meal to extend shelf life. [10] The William Davies Company expanded, forming Canada's first major chain of food stores, [2] [18] and becoming the largest pork exporter in the British Empire. [17] By the early 1900s, the company's Front Street plant processed nearly half a million hogs per year. This contributed to Toronto's longstanding nickname of "Hogtown". [7] [8] Following World War I, cornmeal replaced the pea meal crust, due to the former's availability and improved refrigeration practices. [6]

In the 1960s, customers of Joe Hoiner's St. Lawrence Market butcher shop opted for the centre cut of cured peameal loins, leaving him with the ends. He partnered with Elso Biancolin, who ran a bakery shop at the market, and they sliced and fried the bacon ends and sold them on buns. Biancolin's sons, Robert and Maurice, expanded the family's Carousel Bakery during the market's 1977 renovation, and their featured peameal bacon sandwich on a fresh kaiser roll received national and international attention from food critics and TV chefs. [5] It is noted in many tourist guides and visiting chefs often seek it out. [9]

The Carousel Bakery's peameal bacon sandwich is simple, without complicated sauces, toppings or layers. It is composed of 1 ⁄ 8 -inch (3.2 mm) slices of peameal bacon cooked on a griddle long enough to crisp, drizzled with honey mustard, served on a soft fresh roll. There are options to add an egg or side bacon. [9]

It was served at the inaugural Canadian Comedy Awards in 2000. [19] In 2016, the peameal bacon sandwich was named Toronto's signature dish. This was announced by Mayor John Tory at a local food festival with several versions offered. [20] [21] [22] Peameal bacon sandwiches were included in a wager between Tory and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf during the 2019 NBA Finals. [23]

Because peameal bacon is lean, it compares favourably to side bacon and is less processed than turkey bacon. While turkey bacon has a healthier image, popular brands have higher sodium and carbohydrates from added corn syrup. Nutritionist Theresa Albert compared 100-gram (3.5 oz) samples (about 4 slices of side bacon or turkey bacon, and 2 thick slices of peameal bacon): [1]

  • turkey bacon: 382 calories, 2,285 mg of sodium, 3.1 g of carbohydrates and 28 g of fat
  • side bacon: 541 calories, 1,717 mg of sodium, 1.4 g of carbohydrates and 42 g of fat
  • peameal bacon: 157 calories, 904 mg of sodium, 1.7 g of carbohydrates and 7 g of fat

In 2018, a laboratory analysis was conducted on Carousel Bakery's 241-gram (0.531 lb) peameal bacon sandwich. It found the sandwich to have 499 calories, 2,520 mg of sodium, 49 g of carbohydrates, 8 g of fat, and 57 g of protein. Dietitian Shannon Crocker felt the calories and protein would make it a satisfying meal, but the sodium was 10% above the maximum recommended daily limit. [24]


Guys, the “Club” in Club Sandwich Isn’t an Acronym

Okay, before you post that gif of a confused toddler shifting her eyes from side to side or type the word “shook,” just hold on a sec. A few days ago an 18-year-old British guy posted a sandwich fact that he’d just discovered, and several thousand people pressed their hands against the top of their heads trying to keep their minds from being completely blown. But the thing is … that dude is probably wrong.

“No way am I 18 and I’ve only just found out a club sandwich stands for chicken and lettuce under bacon,” Saul J. Henderson wrote.

We can’t dispute his age or the fact that he just learned that club was an acronym like NASA or C.R.E.A.M., but just because he “learned” something doesn’t make it true. Although there doesn’t seem to be an official consensus on where or how the club sandwich originated, in historical literature its name has always been a reference to any number of member’s clubs who claim that they’re the ones who served it first.

The Long and Harried History of the Club Sandwich

The Saratoga Club House (now known as the Canfield Casino) in Saratoga Springs, New York, has long claimed that the sandwich was invented in its own kitchen in 1894 — but that ignores the references to club sandwiches that had been previously printed. The Union Club, then located on Fifth Avenue and 21st Street in New York City, was being celebrated for its sandwich five years before its upstate counterparts even thought to put one on a plate.

“Have you tried a Union Club sandwich yet?” the New York Evening World asked in November 1889. “Two toasted slices of Graham bread, with a layer of turkey or chicken and ham between them, served warm.” (Graham bread was a high-fiber white bread that its inventor claimed was extra-wholesome.)

“A famous institution of the Union Club is what the epicures of the club have proudly christened ‘the Union Club sandwich,'” the Pittsburgh Dispatch wrote, just a day after the Evening World‘s mention. “It differs essentially from any other sandwich made in town, and […] heretofore the composition of this sandwich has been a mystery to the outside world. The club chef toasts well two slices of Graham bread cut thin, and between them places a layer of chicken or turkey and ham, and serves the sandwich warm.”

So there’s no bacon or lettuce, and the chicken is only one of several acceptable protein options, so the sandwich’s origin seems to differ from what that acronym claims. According to The Sandwich Tribunal, one of the earliest published recipes for a Club-House Sandwich was in an 1894 book called Sandwiches: “Club-house sandwiches may be made in a number of different ways, but are served warm as a rule on bread carefully toasted at the last moment. Put on top of a square of toasted bread a thin layer of broiled ham or bacon on top of this a thin slice of Holland pickle, on top of that a thin slice of cold roasted chicken or turkey, then a leaf of lettuce in the center of which you put a teaspoonful of mayonnaise dressing cover this with another slice of buttered toast. Press the two together, and cut from one corner to another making two large triangles, and send at once to the table.”

The recipe also suggests that the ham might be swapped for turkey or chicken, but the acronym is totally jumbled here (bacon and chicken under lettuce). This publication also hints that the name “club” might be less about the ingredients and more just lopping off the “house” part of its “club-house” name.


A quick and easy recipe for spaghetti carbonara topped with bacon and peas made without being intimidating! This recipe is as easy as making the pasta and bacon and tossing it together with rich egg yolks and a bit of reserved pasta water to make the creamiest easiest sauce ever. It’s like stepping into Rome, Italy with the benefit of it taking as long as a normal weeknight dinner.

One of the most intimidating things about making carbonara pasta is the egg sauce. People worry about scrambling the eggs or eating raw eggs because of the heat of the pasta. Before publishing this recipe I tested it 5 times and tossed it with the eggs even taking an extra minute or so, tossing it slower or faster, trying to come up with ways you guys may approach the directions differently.

The only version that ended with scrambled eggs was pouring in the eggs directly into the pan fully before tossing (which is not how the directions are written, but I wanted to test all the ways it may be carried out.


Contents

Historically, before the advent of cheap and widespread artificial refrigeration in the modern era, the curing of pork was necessary for the safe long-term preservation of meat. However, the flavor imparted to the meat by the various curing processes had become much prized, and although the curing process is in general no longer necessary in the developed world, it continues in wide use due to the flavor and other properties it imparts to the meat.

Bacon is cured through either a process of injecting it with or soaking it in brine, known as wet curing, or using plain crystal salt, known as dry curing. [1] [7] Bacon brine has added curing ingredients, most notably nitrites or nitrates, which speed the curing and stabilize colour. Fresh bacon may then be dried for weeks or months in cold air, or it may be smoked or boiled. [1] Fresh and dried bacon are typically cooked before eating, often by pan frying. Boiled bacon is ready to eat, as is some smoked bacon, but they may be cooked further before eating. Differing flavours can be achieved by using various types of wood, or less common fuels such as corn cobs or peat. This process can take up to eighteen hours, depending on the intensity of the flavour desired. The Virginia Housewife (1824), thought to be one of the earliest American cookbooks, gives no indication that bacon is ever not smoked, though it gives no advice on flavouring, noting only that care should be taken lest the fire get too hot. [8] In early American history, the curing and smoking of bacon (like the making of sausage) seems to have been one of the few food-preparation processes not divided by gender. [9]

Bacon is distinguished from other salt-cured pork by differences in the cuts of meat used and in the brine or dry packing. Historically, the terms "ham" and "bacon" referred to different cuts of meat that were brined or packed identically, often together in the same barrel. Today, ham is defined as coming from the hind portion of the pig and brine specifically for curing ham includes a greater amount of sugar, while bacon is less sweet, though ingredients such as brown sugar or maple syrup are used for flavour. Bacon is similar to salt pork, which in modern times is often prepared from similar cuts, but salt pork is never smoked, and has a much higher salt content. [10]

For safety, bacon may be treated to prevent trichinosis, [11] caused by Trichinella, a parasitic roundworm which can be destroyed by heating, freezing, drying, or smoking. [12] Sodium polyphosphates, such as sodium triphosphate, may also be added to make the product easier to slice and to reduce spattering when the bacon is pan-fried.

Varieties differ depending on the primal cut from which they are prepared. [10] [1] Different cuts of pork are used for making bacon depending on local preferences.

    Side bacon, or streaky bacon, comes from the pork belly. [10][1] It has long alternating layers of fat and muscle running parallel to the rind. [10][13] This is the most common form of bacon in the United States. [10]
      is an Italian form of side bacon, sold smoked or unsmoked (aqua). It is generally rolled up into cylinders after curing, and is known for having a strong flavour. [10][1]
    • Back bacon contains meat from the loin in the middle of the back of the pig. [10][14] It is a leaner cut, with less fat compared to side bacon. [1] Most bacon consumed in the United Kingdom and Ireland is back bacon. [10][15]
    • Collar bacon is taken from the back of a pig near the head. [10][16]
    • Cottage bacon is made from the lean meat from a boneless pork shoulder that is typically tied into an oval shape. [10]
    • Jowl bacon is cured and smoked cheeks of pork. [17]Guanciale is an Italian jowl bacon that is seasoned and dry cured but not smoked.

    The inclusion of skin with a cut of bacon, known as the 'bacon rind', [18] varies, though is less common in the English-speaking world.

    Bacon is often served with eggs and sausages as part of a full breakfast. [19]

    Australia and New Zealand

    The most common form sold is middle bacon, which includes some of the streaky, fatty section of side bacon along with a portion of the loin of back bacon. In response to increasing consumer diet-consciousness, some supermarkets also offer the loin section only. This is sold as short cut bacon and is usually priced slightly higher than middle bacon. Both varieties are usually available with the rind removed. [20]

    Canada

    In Canada, the term bacon on its own typically refers to side bacon. [21] Canadian-style back bacon is a lean cut from the eye of the pork loin with little surrounding fat. [21] Peameal bacon is an unsmoked back bacon, wet-cured and coated in fine-ground cornmeal (historically, it was rolled in ground, dried peas) [21] it is popular in southern Ontario. Bacon is often eaten in breakfasts, such as with cooked eggs or pancakes. Maple syrup is often used as a flavouring while curing bacon in Canada.

    Germany

    Some of the meanings of bacon overlap with the German-language term Speck. Germans use the term bacon explicitly for Frühstücksspeck ('breakfast Speck') which are cured or smoked pork slices. Traditional German cold cuts favor ham over bacon, however Wammerl (grilled pork belly) remains popular in Bavaria.

    Small bacon cubes (called Grieben or Grammerln in Austria and southern Germany) have been a rather important ingredient of various southern German dishes. They are used for adding flavour to soups and salads and for Speck dumplings and various noodle and potato dishes. Instead of preparing them at home from larger slices, they have been sold ready made as convenience foods recently as Baconwürfel ("bacon cubes") in German retail stores.

    Japan

    In Japan, bacon (ベーコン) [22] is pronounced "bēkon". It is cured and smoked belly meat as in the US, and is sold in either regular or half-length sizes. Bacon in Japan is different from that in the US in that the meat is not sold raw, but is processed, precooked and has a ham-like consistency when cooked. [23] Uncured, sliced pork belly, known as bara (バラ), is very popular in Japan and is used in a variety of dishes (e.g. yakitori and yakiniku).

    United Kingdom and Ireland

    Back bacon is the most common form in the UK and Ireland, and is the usual meaning of the plain term "bacon". A thin slice of bacon is known as a rasher about 70% of bacon is sold as rashers. [24] Heavily trimmed back cuts which consist of just the eye of meat, known as a medallion, are also available. All types may be unsmoked or smoked. The side cut normal in America is known as "streaky bacon", [25] and there is also a long cut, curving round on itself, known as "middle bacon", which is back bacon at one end, and streaky at the other, as well as less common cuts. [26] Bacon is also sold and served as joints, usually boiled, broiled or roast, [27] or in thicker slices called chops or steaks. These are usually eaten as part of other meals. [7]

    Bacon may be cured in several ways, and may be smoked or unsmoked unsmoked bacon is known as "green bacon". [7] Fried or grilled bacon rashers are included in the "traditional" full breakfast. Hot bacon sandwiches are a popular cafe dish in the UK and Ireland, [28] and are anecdotally recommended as a hangover cure. [29]

    United States

    The term bacon on its own generally refers to side bacon, which is the most popular type of bacon sold in the US. Back bacon is known as "Canadian bacon" or "Canadian-style bacon", and is usually sold pre-cooked and thick-sliced. [30] American bacons include varieties smoked with hickory, mesquite or applewood and flavourings such as chili pepper, maple, brown sugar, honey, or molasses. [31] A side of unsliced bacon is known as "slab bacon". [32]

    USDA regulations only recognized bacon as "cured" if it has been treated with synthetic nitrites or nitrates (e.g. sodium nitrate or potassium nitrate). This means that bacon cured with nitrites derived from celery or beets (which has the same chemical outcome) must be labelled "uncured" and include a notice such as "no nitrates or nitrites added except for that naturally occurring in celery". There is also bacon for sale uncured with any nitrites from any sources. [33]

    The United States and Canada have seen an increase in the popularity of bacon and bacon-related recipes, dubbed "bacon mania". The sale of bacon in the US has increased significantly since 2011. Sales climbed 9.5% in 2013, making it an all-time high of nearly $4 billion in US. In a survey conducted by Smithfield, 65% of Americans would support bacon as their "national food". [34] Dishes such as bacon explosion, chicken fried bacon, and chocolate-covered bacon have been popularised over the internet, [35] as has the use of candied bacon. Recipes spread quickly through both countries' national media, culinary blogs, and YouTube. [36] [37] Restaurants have organised and are organising bacon and beer tasting nights, [38] The New York Times reported on bacon infused with Irish whiskey used for Saint Patrick's Day cocktails, [39] and celebrity chef Bobby Flay has endorsed a "Bacon of the Month" club online, in print, [40] and on national television. [41]

    Commentators explain this surging interest in bacon by reference to what they deem American cultural characteristics. Sarah Hepola, in a 2008 article in Salon.com, suggests a number of reasons, one of them being that eating bacon in the modern, health-conscious world is an act of rebellion: "Loving bacon is like shoving a middle finger in the face of all that is healthy and holy while an unfiltered cigarette smoulders between your lips." [42] She also suggests bacon is sexy (with a reference to Sarah Katherine Lewis' book Sex and Bacon), kitsch, and funny. Hepola concludes by saying that "Bacon is American".

    Alison Cook, writing in the Houston Chronicle, argues the case of bacon's American citizenship by referring to historical and geographical uses of bacon. [36] Early American literature echoes the sentiment—in Ebenezer Cooke's 1708 poem The Sot-Weed Factor, a satire of life in early colonial America, the narrator already complains that practically all the food in America was bacon-infused. [43]

    As of December 2016, the U.S. national frozen pork belly inventory totaled 17.8 million lb (8.1 million kg), the lowest level in 50 years. [44]

    Bacon dishes include bacon and eggs, bacon, lettuce, and tomato (BLT) sandwiches, Cobb salad, and various bacon-wrapped foods, such as scallops, shrimp, [45] [46] [47] and asparagus. Recently invented bacon dishes include chicken fried bacon, chocolate covered bacon, bacon jerky, bacon ice cream and the bacon explosion. Tatws Pum Munud is a traditional Welsh stew, made with sliced potatoes, vegetables and smoked bacon. Bacon jam and bacon marmalade are also commercially available.

    In the US and Europe, bacon is commonly used as a condiment or topping on other foods, often in the form of bacon bits. Streaky bacon is more commonly used as a topping in the US on such items as pizza, salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, baked potatoes, hot dogs, and soups. In the US, sliced smoked back bacon is used less frequently than the streaky variety, but can sometimes be found on pizza, salads, and omelettes.

    Bacon is also used in adaptations of dishes for example, bacon-wrapped meatloaf, [48] and can be mixed in with green beans [49] or served sautéed over spinach.

    Bacon fat liquefies and becomes drippings when it is heated. Once cool, it firms into a form of lard. Bacon fat is flavourful and is used for various cooking purposes. Traditionally, bacon grease is saved in British and southern US cuisine, and used as a base for cooking and as an all-purpose flavouring, for everything from gravy to cornbread [50] to salad dressing. [51]

    In Germany, Griebenschmalz is a popular spread made from bacon lard.

    Bacon is often used for a cooking technique called barding consisting of laying or wrapping strips of bacon or other fats over a roast to provide additional fat to a lean piece of meat. It is often used for roast game birds, and is a traditional method of preparing beef filet mignon, which is wrapped in strips of bacon before cooking. The bacon itself may afterwards be discarded or served to eat, like cracklings. It may also be cut into lardons.

    One teaspoon (4 g or 0.14 oz) of bacon grease has 38 calories (40 kJ/g). [52] It is composed almost completely of fat, with very little additional nutritional value. Bacon fat is roughly 40% saturated. [52] Despite the disputed health risks of excessive bacon grease consumption, it remains popular in the cuisine of the American South. [53]

    One 10-g slice of cooked side bacon contains 4.5 g of fat, 3.0 g of protein, and 205 mg of sodium. [54] The fat, protein, and sodium content varies depending on the cut and cooking method.

    68% of the food energy of bacon comes from fat, almost half of which is saturated. [55] A serving of three slices of bacon contains 30 milligrams of cholesterol (0.1%). [55] [56]

    Studies have consistently found the consumption of processed meat to be linked to increased mortality, and to an increased risk of developing a number of serious health conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. [57] [58] Although as of 2017 [update] these links have not been definitely established as causal, they are likely to be. [58]

    Bacon can contain nitrites, which can form carcinogenic nitrosamines. In the United States, sodium nitrite cannot exceed certain levels in bacon. Vitamin C (ascorbate) or sodium erythorbate can be added to bacon, which greatly reduces the formation of nitrosamines. Vitamin E (tocopherol) also reduces nitrosamine levels. Bacon fried at higher temperatures potentially has more nitrosamines than bacon fried at lower temperatures. [59]

    According to the World Health Organization, regular consumption of processed meats such as bacon increases the likelihood of developing colorectal cancers by 18%. [60]

    Several alternatives to and substitutes for bacon have been developed for those who cannot or prefer not to eat standard pork bacon, including beef, chicken, turkey, bison, and coconut bacon.

    Turkey bacon

    Turkey bacon is an alternative to bacon. [1] [61] People may choose turkey bacon over real bacon due to health benefits, religious laws, or other reasons. [61] It is lower in fat and food energy than bacon, [1] [61] but may be used in a similar manner (such as in a BLT sandwich). [61]

    The meat for turkey bacon comes from the whole turkey and can be cured or uncured, smoked, chopped, and reformed into strips that resemble bacon. [1] Turkey bacon is cooked by pan-frying. [61] Cured turkey bacon made from dark meat can be less than 10% fat. [62] The low fat content of turkey bacon means it does not shrink while being cooked and has a tendency to stick to the pan. [62]

    Macon

    Macon is another alternative to bacon, produced by curing cuts of mutton in a manner similar to the production of pork bacon. [63] Historically produced in Scotland, it was introduced across Britain during World War II as a consequence of rationing. [64] [65] It is today available as an alternative to bacon, produced for the Muslim market and sold at halal butchers it is largely similar in appearance to pork bacon except for the darker colour. [66]

    Vegetarian bacon

    Vegetarian bacon, also referred to as facon, veggie bacon, or vacon, is a product marketed as a bacon alternative. [67] It has no cholesterol, is low in fat, and contains large amounts of protein and fibre. [67] Two slices contain about 310 kilojoules (74 kcal). [67] Vegetarian bacon is usually made from marinated strips of textured soy protein or tempeh.

    Everything Tastes Better with Bacon, a book by Sara Perry, is a cookbook that compliments bacon's many uses in cooking. [68]

    On the other hand, as with most meat products, producers of bacon have received heavy criticism for how their pigs are treated. Many petitions and protests have been made trying to raise awareness and change how producers treat their pigs. Many of these protests have turned out successful: for example, following NBC News's report of an undercover investigation of an abusive pig farm, Tyson Foods terminated their contract with the pig farm. [69] Similar to NBC's investigation, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) investigated Seaboard Foods, one of the pig breeding facilities that supply Walmart. [70] According to HSUS, the pigs were treated poorly and abused. Walmart spokesperson Diana Gee said, "As soon as we were made aware of the allegations, we immediately reached out to Seaboard to begin investigating the issue . Pending our review, we will take any action necessary." Petitions also exist that oppose poor treatment of pigs, many of which state that the current treatment of pigs in factories is cruel and unethical. [71] [72]

    The popularity of bacon in the United States has given rise to a number of commercial products that promise to add bacon flavouring without the labour involved in cooking it or the perceived negative qualities of bacon.

    Bacon bits

    Bacon bits are a frequently used topping on salad or potatoes, and a common element of salad bars. [1] They are usually salted. Bacon bits are made from small, crumbled pieces of bacon [1] in commercial plants they are cooked in continuous microwave ovens. Similar products are made from ham or turkey, and analogues are made from textured vegetable protein, artificially flavoured to resemble bacon. [73]

    Other bacon-flavoured products

    There is also a wide range of other bacon-flavoured products, including a bacon-flavoured salt (Bacon Salt), [1] [74] Baconnaise (a bacon-flavoured mayonnaise), [1] [75] Bacon Grill (a tinned meat, similar to Spam) and bacon ice cream.


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