Seth Brown: Can’t appreciate vegetarian’s taste


NORTH ADAMS -- The third book of the Bible, Leviticus, contains prohibitions against various things. Some of these prohibitions are more popular than others, but one which is repeated in Deuteronomy is the prohibition against eating pig. For this reason, strict adherents to the Torah or Bible do not eat ham, pork or even bacon.

And I believe this is a reason there are so few strict adherents. Bacon is so delicious that it’s hard to hold onto a religion that would deny it; indeed, some people are almost religious in their consumption of it. I have a friend who is a Bacontarian, and I assure you that the flavor of his communion compares favorably with mere metaphorical flesh.

So, while the Judeo-Christian tradition prohibits eating pig, Bacontarianism is the opposite religion, which celebrates it. Many people credit Francis Bacon for the Baconian enlightenment, but in Pittsfield there’s also the pork rind at La Fogata and the bacon at Red Apple Butchers, either of which can serve as just celebration to a crispy pig-flavored god. Their Bible comes mainly from Noah’s son, Ham, although they also quote Matthew who said "The pork you shall always have with you."

Alas, while I may proselytize for Bacontarianism, I know that there are poor souls who may have failed to see the light. Some of these people are called "vegetarians," a regrettable (if sometimes temporary) condition. But just like all the benighted people who believe anything different than I do, there’s little point in trying to convert them. I pray to bacon-wrapped cheese, they pray to a sky-god, and never the twain shall meat. (Presuming Twain was a vegetarian.)

Which is not to say I can’t appreciate a vegetarian’s love of carrots. Carrots are skinny and have a full head of hair, two qualities I’m led to believe are very popular with people looking for relationships. Although to be fair, I guess a carrot’s hair is mostly metaphorical. Very few vegetables are actually hairy, notwithstanding a small enclave of feminist kiwi fruit. Still, carrots are skinny and not bald, leading them to have great success running for political office -- even one strange carrot who has a face the color of John Boehner.

But carrots still cannot compare to the glory that is bacon. And I don’t just say this because my personal devotions have led me to bacon-wrapped scallops, bacon tempura, or even bacon-wrapped pork. It is easy to see that bacon has taken control of America by looking at the available bacon-flavored products. Bacon-flavored mayonnaise. Bacon-flavored salt. Bacon-flavored toothpaste. There is even bacon-flavored massage oil. And that doesn’t begin to get into the weirder stuff like bacon alarm clocks, bacon bandages, and so forth.

Nobody is selling carrot-flavored toothpaste. America wants to eat bacon-flavored, bacon-topped food out of bowls woven from bacon. And there’s a scientific reason why: The Maillard reaction. I know, you’re thinking I’m probably a quack, but I promise you it’s just ducky. The Maillard reaction is what causes food to brown and caramelize when it cooks. And when bacon undergoes this reaction, more than a hundred different aroma compounds are released. For most of us, these are well-nigh irresistible odors.

There are some who will not accept bacon’s inevitable dominance. A friend of mine just the other day inadvertently purchased a chocolate bar that contained bacon, and was disappointed. But when I received chocolate-covered bacon for my birthday last year, I loved it. The key is to use dark chocolate, for one simple reason:

You can’t make a milk purse out of a sow’s rear.

Seth Brown is an award-winning humor writer, the author of "From God To Verse," and ate bacon-flavored crackers while writing this column. His website is


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions