“I was recently given some bacon dental floss as part of a birthday gift. My first question was, Who the hell gives dental floss as a gift? But my second question was, Do we need all this bacon-ness in the world? Has bacon gone too far?”
By my estimation, the kind of people who give bacon-flavoured dental floss have problems, beginning with a basic misunderstanding of oral hygiene. It’s very simple: when we clean our teeth and gums, the idea is to remove all the little bits of mushed-up food and God-knows-what and replace them with a clean mouth landscape, preferably minty-fresh. Bacon-flavoured floss is a terrible idea because after going through all the work to remove the vestigial guck of our daily chewing, no one wants to be left with the taste of food they didn’t actually eat. That’s why Stilton mouthwash and whitening strips that taste like Miracle Whip have yet to be invented. It’s a sad fact, but people who would give dental floss of any kind as a gift are tone deaf to the established rhythms and rituals of our society. They are the very same creatures of my childhood Halloweens, the ones who thought it would be a good idea to hand out toothbrushes instead of candy, chips, and chocolate bars. For their high-minded efforts, these folks were shunned by trick-or-treaters and often had their garage doors vandalized.
Now to the meat of the question. Do we need all this bacon-ness in the world? Absolutely not. Has bacon gone too far? No. Because bacon is the victim here. Like most foods beloved by cottagers, bacon has been around for a long time. Bacon is an old-fashioned product that is honest and delicious and so simple you can make it at home if you choose. It might get the cold shoulder from Canada’s Food Guide, but bacon doesn’t mind. Bacon knows it is loved and respected and has incalculable mojo.
The first attempts to siphon off some of bacon’s juice came from those in the fake food movement, who were unable to muster up original names. By definition, bacon is made from pork. And while it is perfectly acceptable to observe a diet that is restricted by personal, moral, or religious beliefs, taking some salty strips of beef or turkey and calling them “bacon” is just wrong. It’s a form of identity theft that diminishes the victim’s good name and misleads the public. Case in point: bacon is delicious and tastes like bacon, while “beefacon” is not delicious at all, something I learned at a breakfast buffet in Malaysia. Vegetarians have also struggled with their naming, and it seems the same plagiarists who gave us veggie burgers and dogs cranked up the copycat machine to make “facon” and “vacon,” which, as you have probably guessed, are salty strips of vegetable stuff. I have nothing against salty strips of vegetable stuff because they exactly define a potato chip. But why not make a new name? Leave bacon out of it.
Think of the outrage that would ensue if an inventor decided to sell baskets of peaches that were actually made from ground veal. Even if they were clearly labelled as “VealPeaches.” I think people would be upset, especially if they missed the smaller label that says “Must be refrigerated. Cook to an internal temperature of 160°F.” Disgusting, right? Terrible. Maybe criminal. But this is the sort of abuse bacon has been putting up with for years. And, yes, it has gone too far. As if fake bacon weren’t bad enough, there is now a disturbing industry based on appropriating bacon’s taste, smell, and likeness. I think it started in the 1990s when bacon held a bad-boy appeal for diet-conscious consumers. Bacon was a rebel. The fast-food industry cottoned on to this and soon spruced up its tired offerings with mountains of wretched rashers. Today, bacon saturation is upon us. Some creations, like bacon-flavoured ice cream, jam, vodka, lip balm, toothpaste, “baconnaise,” and personal lubricant, you can consume. Other stuff, including bacon-themed condoms and bandage strips, as well as bacon-scented oils, candles, and pillows are just meant to be purchased and regretted forever.
Where will this madness end? One solution for the bacon problem could be trademark protection, the legal establishment of a Bacon™ image, content, and likeness that could be employed against makers of stuff like “Magic Vegan Bacon Grease.” Think about it; if both Interpol and the FBI can get their shorts in a knot over an illegal download of Transformers: The Last Knight, surely it’s possible to muster up some legal firepower to protect one of the world’s best foods. I think the lawyers should start by tearing a strip off the turkey bacon people, because they have to start somewhere, and turkey bacon is scary bad. Baconnaise should be next, because it ruins two things at the same time. Ditto for bacon ice cream. And you have to admit it would be fun to send a letter to the manufacturers of bacon-flavoured Mmmvelopes in one of their own products. “Attention, stealer of Bacon™ mojo. You have been served. Wipe your mouth, then cease and desist.”