Food & Drink

The End of Baconmania

Our Long Coronary Nightmare Is Almost Over

The End of Baconmania

First, there was Bacon Salt. That was harmless enough. Then came its inevitable progeny, Baconnaise—like Bacon Salt, only with mayonnaise. Then, in quick succession: bacon maple doughnuts; gummi bacon; bacon-flavored lip balm; chocolate-covered bacon;, a URL add-on for superimposing a photo of a strip of bacon onto any webpage; the Wendy's Baconator (self-explanatory); and the Bacon Explosion, a bacon-wrapped loaf of pork sausage that was the subject of an 1,100-word article in the New York Times. Not to mention bacon vodka, bacon tattoos, the bacon bra, bacon-flavored dental floss, and bacon bandages.

For a while, loving bacon was the anti-foodie food trend: snobbery (what, you don't like BACON? I guess you've never had the good stuff) disguised as egalitarianism (everyone can afford it; everyone loves it). Ostentatiously declaring one's love for, and consuming large quantities of, bacon (and its partner-in-trend, pork belly) became a sign of joie de vivre, an indication that you were spontaneous, fun, up for anything. Suggesting that a battered, deep-fried, bacon-wrapped bacon sandwich might not be the subtlest or most enjoyable food experience, conversely, meant you were a killjoy. And suggesting that massive bacon consumption might have health implications made you a food Nazi—one step up from a granola eater or, worse, a vegan.

Thankfully, baconmania has almost run its course. Trends inevitably go through their phases—early adoption, buzz, general excitement, overexposure—and bacon is in its terminal stage, clinging to relevance, grasping at any opportunity to cash in on its dwindling cachet as its 15 minutes come to an end. (Swine flu is not transmitted via pork consumption, though it doesn't make it sound very appetizing.)

One such opportunity was the recent "Baconopolis!" a Tom Douglas–hosted event at the Tom Douglas–owned Palace Ballroom, featuring Tom Douglas–branded bacon-related door prizes and 10 "bacon-enhanced bites" produced by Tom Douglas Restaurants. Several hundred people paid $20 a head to line up for bites of greasy bacon tempura; bacon-spiked, mayo-based pea salad; miniature bacon, peanut butter, and banana sandwiches; breadless BLTs; and so forth.

The snacks were fine, if totally uninspired—pork and beans may indeed be better with quality bacon, but they're still pork and beans, and if you've had one forkful of carbonara, you've had them all—but after eating 10 supersalty bacon snacks, I felt dehydrated, not deeply fulfilled. Maybe, in different hands, an ingredient like bacon could have been used to gentler effect—I'm thinking Fran's chocolates with salted bacon, say, or miniature bacon waffles with syrup—but Baconopolis! was everything that superfluous exclamation mark implies: loud, flashy, and unsatisfying.

But people weren't really there for the food—they were there to profess, with their presence and by making some noise, their LOVE! OF! BACON! The crowd—well-dressed late-twentysomethings in standard-issue Belltown uniforms (tight jeans and heels for the ladies, polo shirts for the men)—had all the affected enthusiasm of late adopters, like when your parents started texting you 20 times a day or when Seattle hipsters discovered kickball. I like free stuff as much as anyone, but does a $5 bacon wallet and a trio of Tom Douglas–brand spice rubs merit screaming as if you've won the lottery? (One woman, upon winning a bacon-and-eggs shopping bag, screamed so loud she prompted Douglas to quip, "We have a squealer! A BACON squealer!") I get it—bacon tastes good—but it isn't so uniquely delicious, so superlatively perfect, that it needs its own party, much less its own lexicon ("baconopolis," "baconitis," "bactionary," etc.).

Bacon can be wonderful, in its place—as a side order with eggs and grits, for example, or sprinkled over a wilted spinach salad—but there's only so much of it I can (or one should) eat at once, and that's not much. I'll take a nice piece of mellow soft-ripened cheese or a fresh radish dipped in butter—or, hell, a bowl of red beans and rice cooked with plain-old salt pork—over a fatty, greasy hunk of bacon any day.

And soon, so will you. Take off the "I Love Bacon" shirt, cancel your trip to Baconcamp, and go eat a piece of celery. It's over. recommended


Comments (54) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
I take great comfort in the fact that despite recent popularity and slanderous articles, bacon will still be there for me just like it always has been, sizzlin' and poppin'
Posted by SPOSeattle on May 6, 2009 at 11:44 AM · Report this
Your timeline of bacon related items in no way reflects when such items came into being. At best, it's a reflection of when you became aware (and then bored) of them. I'm very excited at the possibility of the hipsters moving along to the next shiny thing and leaving the bacon where it belongs - in my belly. Nothing to see here, move along. Bacon has always and will always be awesome. Celery is only good for garnish in bacon bloody marys.

Seriously, I'm curious what makes you think "baconmania" is coming to an end. Nothing in your article points towards a slow down or decrease in bacon related goods, foods, or events. If anything you're making the case that it's still on the rise. Unless perhaps you're making the case that it's jumped the shark (it has) and therefore it *OBVIOUSLY* must be on the way out like any other fad-of-the-month.
Posted by BlahBlahBacon on May 6, 2009 at 1:28 PM · Report this
Baconmania is over like the Sonics are still in Seattle.
Posted by Baconguy on May 6, 2009 at 1:47 PM · Report this
Explorer 4
I'll take a nice piece of mellow soft-ripened cheese or a fresh radish dipped in butter—or, hell, a bowl of red beans and rice cooked with plain-old salt pork—over a fatty, greasy hunk of bacon any day.

So, why would you attend an event like Baconopolis - just to hate it?
Posted by Explorer on May 6, 2009 at 6:21 PM · Report this
Bacon will always be fashionably delicious.
Posted by Nutella on May 6, 2009 at 8:22 PM · Report this
JF 6
I've been doing the Bacon thing LONG before it was popular... Haters.
Posted by JF on May 7, 2009 at 7:37 AM · Report this
Erica, you are so right. Now can we start a modern temperance movement? (Really. Gluttony has run its course.)
Posted by m on May 7, 2009 at 9:10 AM · Report this
*snif* -- You heathen! Wikipedia's bacon cabal does not look kindly on such slander. Overall though, we're just sad, I think. Just as things were going our way, you procaim our demise...
Posted by bacon cabal on May 7, 2009 at 10:37 AM · Report this
bacon will never we just have to wait for Bakon Vodka to be released and then the world will be complete.
Posted by bokbok on May 7, 2009 at 10:42 AM · Report this
Bacon and all it's goodness will never die. Now we just have to wait for the release and the shelves to be stocked with Bakon Vodka, Then the world will be complete.
Posted by bokbok on May 7, 2009 at 10:46 AM · Report this
Bacon needs no marketing campaign and is recession-proof. Your feeble attempt to marginalize bacon is futile.
Posted by jfljoe on May 7, 2009 at 11:49 AM · Report this
Katie B 12
Declaring a love for bacon is just a thing that boring people do to suss out other boring people. ('I agree- this would taste better with bacon! Bacon goes with everything!') The North Face jackets just aren't enough I guess.
Posted by Katie B on May 7, 2009 at 2:46 PM · Report this
I'm going to require that you cite your sources on this one.

No, really.

If you make a sweeping, blanket statement you must have some facts or sources to support your argument. Any journalist worth their (bacon) salt knows this.

So please be amending your article to include references and sources demonstrating the truthfulness and accuracy of your article. Show me the evidence. Otherwise it's just unsupported opinion. And we all know what that's worth.

Posted by Lifeofreilly on May 7, 2009 at 4:19 PM · Report this
If your declaration that bacon is yesterday's food makes it so, can't you use your powers for something good, like ending war or canceling American Idol? Both of those are way past their primes.

Seriously, I'd prefer to see some evidence of this decline than your say-so. This is the information age and you can easily check marketing sites, trend sites, and other measures of hype.
Posted by senatorgrant on May 7, 2009 at 4:23 PM · Report this
Wow, "food snobbery...disguised as egalitarianism"? "...clinging to relevance, grasping at any opportunity to cash in on its dwindling cachet as its 15 minutes come to an end"? You are taking a completely meaningless idea WAY too seriously.

It's fun getting unnecessarily excited and yelling about shit that doesn't make sense. That's it. Really.

Now go outside and breathe.
Posted by YouAreAHeathenSpoutingBlasphemy on May 7, 2009 at 9:10 PM · Report this
I love it when a columnist unilaterally declares the death of a movement. Jumping the gun a bit, aren't we? I know a lot of people who are waiting for July to try the bacon explosion.

(But yes, like the above posters I would like the hip crowd to find something else to fawn over.)
Posted by Bob Almighty on May 7, 2009 at 9:49 PM · Report this
Sorry Erica, but the only way you'll get my bacon is to slide it from my cold, greasy, post-coronary rigor mortised hands...

And speaking as one raised on bacon in all its myriad forms, and whose 90 year-old grandmother still keeps a crock of congealed bacon grease on the stove-top, that will be a long, long time from now.
Posted by COMTE on May 7, 2009 at 10:47 PM · Report this
I was in to bacon before it was cool.
Posted by mmm on May 7, 2009 at 11:05 PM · Report this
completely, tragically, as unhip as i am, i never realized that bacon was a 'movement'; i thought it was something tasty that i have loved since childhood. where the fuck have i been?
Posted by eatHealthyEatTastyRideThousandsOfMilesAYear on May 8, 2009 at 12:54 AM · Report this
Erica, Bacon thinks that you are almost over.
Posted by FatBackSlim on May 8, 2009 at 8:54 AM · Report this
You are the most negative person I've ever read. Is there anything you like? Nah, you'd be too afraid to actually like something. Because that would mean you have a heart and soul.
Posted by marshmallow on May 8, 2009 at 1:31 PM · Report this
Posted by you know people think your food section is a joke, right? on May 8, 2009 at 2:15 PM · Report this
Wait a minute! Wasn't the Strangler promoting baconmania just a few short weeks ago? And now we're knocking it because it's so over? Here's a suggestion: don't publicize something that you are going to denounce later. I guess that cuts out about 100% of your content but that's also probaly why such print vehicles are headed for extinction.
Posted by James Early on May 8, 2009 at 3:12 PM · Report this
Giving up already? Maybe the arteries are clogged up from all that grease and not enough blood if flowing to the brain. You're missing the big picture: why stop with just pig bacon? What about cat bacon? Or dog bacon? I bet if you cram enough together, caged so they can't barely turn around, walk or exercise dogs and cats would be just delicious. Lets expand the menu! And the factory farms. How about we clear out the Stranger office? There are plenty of dogs already there ripe for the eating.
Posted by whatascam on May 8, 2009 at 3:49 PM · Report this
Ironically declaring a fad to be dead just helps insure its long survival.
Posted by anonanon on May 8, 2009 at 4:39 PM · Report this
Recipes throughout the ages use bacon to make them taste better. Bacon is nowhere near being a fad-thing, it's just a human thing. To say that bacon is over is like saying that pants are over. That dog won't hunt.
Posted by dystopia86 on May 8, 2009 at 5:46 PM · Report this
My friends' son named our band Naked Bacon. We thought it was cool so we used it. We didn't know we were part of a cultural phenomenon. So here is one poor musician who is hoping Baconmania is just getting started!
Posted by Arglebarfus on May 9, 2009 at 6:54 AM · Report this
Amen. Now I can just get back to enjoying it in peace.
Posted by byrongostop on May 10, 2009 at 2:44 PM · Report this
Bacon Salt and Baconaisse are vegetarian, low sodium, and Baconaisse has less calories than mayo.There goes your B.S. health arguement on your first examples.
Like others have pointed out you have shown no proof in sales dropping or anything of the sort to show the "bacon fad" is winding down.

What kind of hack writer doesn't even understand research and presenting facts to proove your arguement.This is just an opinion piece presented as fact.

Oh, and for all you bacon fans, the guys at Bacon Salt now have Bacon Lube!Not my thing but I'm sure some of you will be down!
Posted by Josh Black on May 10, 2009 at 7:37 PM · Report this
Bacon was around long before I was born, and bacon will still grace greasy spoon diners and kitchen tables everywhere after I'm just a withering grease spot.

Right on the money, Byrongostop! Amen---I, too, will now enjoy bacon in peace.

I'm not so sure about bacon lube, though, but for those of you turned on to it, more power to ya!
Posted by bacon&eggsgirl on May 11, 2009 at 3:29 AM · Report this
I can't wait for this bacon trend to be over. It's one thing to pep up the occasional dish with something unexpected yet familiar, but after a certain point, chefs get lazy. Having 1/3 of a menu involve bacon, even as a sauce base or garnish, is not being creative. Replace it with any other ingredient and it sounds even more stupid. Know what's delicious? Cream cheese. But no one in their right mind excluding Paula Dean would use it so often.
Posted by amatama on May 11, 2009 at 6:52 AM · Report this
medium 32
I have my suspicions that if Lindy West had written about this same subject and made the same declaration that the bacon fad had reached its zenith, most commenters would be showering her with "oh, you're sooooo right".

ECB, some of your writing grates on me but on this you are completely correct. And you didn't say that nobody was going to eat bacon anymore, you just observe that a trend peaks when it reaches the polo shirt crowd and is mashed into every marketed product possible- and then people get over it, the products don't sell anymore and we go back to eating bacon with just our eggs and sandwiches.

Jesus people, WHO's the one that needs to lighten up?
Posted by medium on May 11, 2009 at 9:54 AM · Report this
Erica, Were you even there? I was there the whole time and I don't remember seeing you at all.
Posted by A Baconopolis attendee on May 11, 2009 at 3:10 PM · Report this
I am sorry someone that does not even sound like they like bacon gets a chance to go to a bacon function in the first place.
"but it isn't so uniquely delicious..." um...what tastes like Bacon?
What is deserving of an event...especially a food event? Celery? I guess there is the soda CEL-RAY, we could have a Celery-a-thon, celeryopolis...I mean learn to enjoy something...oh yeah you write for the are too cool for bacon...or maybe it just to greasy for you.
Posted by pipdog on May 11, 2009 at 8:25 PM · Report this
Careful might give yourselves a heart attack. ECB, you forgot to mention bacon flavored ice cream; You can find this special treat at Molly Moon's occasionally.
Posted by velvetcucumber on May 11, 2009 at 10:30 PM · Report this
Bacon Ice cream is wonderful...culinary communion used to make some...
Posted by pipdog on May 11, 2009 at 10:48 PM · Report this
"An avid bicyclist and a former vegan,..."
Um...ok...and you are writing about bacon? Not that bicyclists don't eat bacon.
Posted by pipdog on May 12, 2009 at 12:45 AM · Report this
Bippity boppity BACON! I didn't read the article, but it had to be said.
Posted by tedpm206 on May 12, 2009 at 3:43 AM · Report this
According to google (, bacon seems to be doing just fine..
Posted by Baconavor on May 12, 2009 at 6:05 AM · Report this
Posted by cutler on May 12, 2009 at 12:13 PM · Report this
Katie B 41
@39 I love him.
Posted by Katie B on May 13, 2009 at 12:26 AM · Report this
WTF, how can bacon go out of style? It's a crunchy, delicious staple (I'm a vegetarian and even I know this.)

"It's ok y'all, you can stop eating bread's 'out' this season."

Again, wtf?
Posted by spinal on May 13, 2009 at 1:10 PM · Report this
you forgot bacon-flavoured rolling papers.
Posted by nimzoin on May 13, 2009 at 9:41 PM · Report this
erica how can you state that one fork full of carbonara is like all others. please go to a good Italian restaurant that makes their own spaghetti and try this one again, the dish is traditionally made with pancetta, not your typical bacon and when made well is a masterpiece. How can one article get so much sideways. bob prince
Posted by bob prince on May 15, 2009 at 9:08 PM · Report this
I absolutely agree- the bacon craze is getting to be a bit tired. There are other tasty foods out there- a lot of them in fact. Cant we let this one go now?
Well said, nice article ECB.
Posted by cheriepicked on May 17, 2009 at 7:09 PM · Report this
@32: Anatama:
I'm into cream cheese. I like to put it into my scrambled eggs with lots of other goodies.

Hooray for cream cheese!!!
Posted by bacon&eggsgirl on May 17, 2009 at 10:47 PM · Report this
47 BaconCat, the one who started it all in yesteryear? You blithering idiot. Google "BaconCat" at once and edit your article. God gave the West Coast earthquakes, wildfires, and idiot columnists who try to spout off about things they don't even know the origins of.
Posted by vegetarian who still knows more on May 17, 2009 at 10:54 PM · Report this
At a farm party last weekend I discover something even better than bacon.

Tortilla chips with a dab of butter!

As a test I offered the dog two one with butter one without, she would only eat it with butter

So good, nummy
Posted by roonerjeff on May 27, 2009 at 9:39 AM · Report this
Your opinion that Baconmania is "over" is nothing more than that: an opinion.

As far as I can tell, Baconmania HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN.

You are wrong: dead pig wrong. Get on the Bacon Train before it leaves the station without you, or, alternately, mows you down.

Coming next: Bacon ice cream.
Posted by ReluctantPopStar on September 24, 2009 at 10:02 AM · Report this
I understand that as a trend-fad item the concept is over…however everyday people stil buy tons of our bacon items. From bandages, to mints, dental floss, soap, wallets and more……
Some of our customer comments have been about buying them for the older generation that love bacon but aren’t suppose to eat it anymore, the office vegan joke, etc…

Peace, Moodswings Inc
Posted by Elizabeth Bighorse on October 1, 2009 at 9:31 AM · Report this
51 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
perhaps the bacon mania is a result of those too poor, who cannot afford a
delicious slice of San Danielle prosciutto..
their cravings will never be satisfied by cheap American bacon
Posted by Jezzabel on November 28, 2010 at 2:11 PM · Report this
jfljoe 53
This article remains retarded over a year and a half later and I still love bacon. Funny how the presumed "fad" of bacon never really had an impact either way on something so delicious. Fat and salt live on in harmony.
Posted by jfljoe on December 1, 2010 at 6:05 PM · Report this
this article is hilariously wrong. are you really too cynical to enjoy something as harmless as bacon?
Posted by colin t on April 10, 2011 at 10:14 PM · Report this

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