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The AGgregator

It’s Porktober & We’re Bringing Home the Bacon

October is National Pork Month, a great time to pig out on all things pig. One of America’s favorite pork products is bacon: last year, we ate 1.1 billion servings of bacon, an increase of 6 percent over the year before. That big number translates to 21 percent of American’s eating more than two pounds of bacon in a year, and five percent eating five pounds or more.

How are we eating all this bacon? Much is served as a meat portion of breakfast meals, or on burgers and sandwiches – including the B in the BLT. In recent years, though, bacon has been making its way into meals and snacks enjoyed throughout the day – bacon crumbles on salads or mixed into soups don’t seem like that much of a stretch for this savory meat, but how about some bacon beer with your bacon ice cream topped with chocolate covered bacon? If you want to enjoy bacon without eating it, you can even buy bacon lotion and lip balm.

There’s a simple reason behind the love of bacon: it’s fatty, providing calories are bodies are designed to crave, it’s salty from the curing process used to transform regular pork belly, and it’s often smoked, delivering “umami,” a fifth taste for our taste buds to enjoy. The other four are salty, sweet, bitter and sour.

People have been “bringing home the bacon” since the 12th century, when an English church started offering a side of bacon as a reward to its male congregants who succeeded in not fighting with their wives for a year. And thanks to the 67,000 pork operations across the United States, millions of Americans will also bring home the bacon, and maybe even fry it up in a pan. Iowa tops the list for pork production, marketing more than 49 million hogs in 2012.

Still can't get enough bacon? Our friends at America’s Heartland are working on an entire episode dedicated to the growing baconmania sweeping the nation. It will run next month on PBS and RFD-TV (check your local listings), but in the meantime, here is a clip about the world’s biggest celebration of bacon – the Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour– to whet the appetite of our readers.