By Brian Roulston
Around the world Bacon has long been a staple of many people’s diet from Sunday morning breakfasts, Caesar salads to being wrapped around filet mignon.
The Saturday before Labour Day, September 2, 2017, we celebrate this cooked salty, strip of pork on International Bacon Day.
In Canada an astonishing 44 slices or $22.62 worth of bacon is purchased every second. In 2016 Canadians were expected to spend $715 million on bacon and that did not take into account what was sold in restaurants and other food establishments.
Bacon has been around since the Roman Empire, when it was called ‘Petaso’. The word bacon was derived from the Old High German word “bahho” meaning back of .By the 14th century the word found its way into Old French as “bacun”; some say “bacoun”. Today in Britain many call it “Streaky”.
Bacon is so popular there’s even an air freshener to make the inside of your car smell like bacon. So much for the new car smell,eh! There’s also chocolate covered bacon strips, Chocolate bacon bars, bacon flavored bubble gum and even bacon-scented deodorant.
The Americans tend to call strip bacon Canadian bacon and obviously it is not Canadian. However, peameal is uniquely Canadian created in Toronto around the beginning of the 20th century. It is part of the reason we call Toronto ‘Hog Town’. This bacon is a salty, much leaner piece of cured wet pork. It is taken from the back of the hog and has been trimmed of its fat and rolled in corn meal giving it its yellow crust. Originally it was rolled in crushed yellow peas. This is the origin of the word “peameal”. The brining process makes it almost impossible to over cook this meat. Peameal bacon is rarely seen outside of Canada today.
According to www.environicanalytics.ca Hamilton ranks in the top 5 in the purchase of bacon at $62 per household. Overall Canada ranks 10th, Calgary is number one in bacon consumption while Montreal ranked last among the major urban centers. The rural areas actually account for 43.1% of the bacon consumption in Canada versus 36.8% for the cities.
Just to let you know, in the time it took you to read this article, collectively,Canadians consumed 10,000 strips of bacon.