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Bacon really is out of this world

Delicious food enjoyed by astronauts on moon

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I don't think I need to remind you about my passionate love affair with bacon.

But I'm going to do it anyway, because -- and this will sound better if you play a little romantic mood music in the background -- I really, really love bacon!

In my case, however, loving bacon is something of a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, my buddy Bob, who also happens to be my boss, has sternly pointed out my frequent pro-bacon tirades are pointless in a journalistic sense because bacon is universally loved, and therefore I am merely preaching to the choir.

On the other hand -- the one clutching a skillet filled with sizzling strips of cured, smoked pork -- whenever I physically get off the couch in the den and venture out in public, some kind-hearted soul invariably hands me a bacon-related gift.

Take the other night, for instance. For the second straight year, I was fortunate enough to host the annual Share our Strength Chefs' Dinner, an awesome fundraising event in support of the fight against childhood hunger.

Just prior to the main course -- and just after we ate something called "Buttermilk Dust," which sounds kinky but is extremely delicious -- the wonderful folks from Manitoba Pork presented me with a suitcase-sized carton containing five kilograms of Sysco Food Services bacon.

They also gave me a beautiful necktie festooned with cute piggies, which brought a tear to my eye.

So it was an emotional moment, and I know my wife was deeply touched when, after returning home, I woke her up and asked her to divide the mountain of bacon into smaller individual units that might possibly fit in the various freezers around our home.

My joy was exceeded only by the delight my daughter took this weekend when she spent several hours turning nearly a kilogram of this savoury gift into two dozen "bacon roses," which are strips of bacon folded into rose shapes, baked in the oven, then ever so carefully placed on top of plastic flower stems from the dollar store.

My daughter took these delicious roses to a big party wherein all the young people were showing off their expertise at making edible artwork out of bacon, which kind of gives you hope for the younger generation.

"Why are you making roses out of bacon?" is what I asked my daughter.

She gave the sort of look you would give a puppy that had just made a mess on the living room carpet and snorted: "WHY NOT?"

Which, now that I think about it, makes a lot of sense.

Anyway, my mission today is not to share the latest breaking bacon news, although I will briefly mention my eyes misted over when I read an article stating the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball are now serving their fans an alternative to ballpark hotdogs -- Bacon on a Stick.

Yes, for $7, Rangers fans can wrap their mitts around a thick slice of smoked Hungarian bacon, glazed with maple syrup and served (sniff!) on a stick.

What I do need to share with you today is arguably the single most significant moment in the glorious history of bacon, a moment most of you will think I am making up, but, in this case, I am definitely not.

In a small step for man but a giant leap for breakfast, it turns out the very first thing ever eaten on the moon was, as sensitive readers have already deduced, bacon.

I made this discovery when I stumbled on the Vintage Space blog written by prominent space-flight historian Amy Shira Teitel on the Popular Science website, a posting titled When Bacon Flew to the Moon; or, #Spacebacon.

Explains Shira Teitel: "Apollo 11 was also, of course, the first mission to land on the moon. And there was bacon involved in this as well; bacon cubes were among the meals stored in the lunar module. And it worked out that meal A, the first scheduled meal to be eaten on the moon, consisted of bacon squares, peaches, sugar cookie cubes, pineapple grapefruit drink and coffee. They ate history's first meal on the moon slightly ahead of schedule after landing at the Sea of Tranquility."

In fact, according to the space historian's blog, bacon was a staple on all the Apollo missions.

During the Apollo 12 flight, a serious inflight culinary disaster occurred when astronaut Pete Conrad snorted: "What happened to my bacon? I guess it got away."

What I'm trying to say here, bacon and history lovers, is you can accomplish anything your heart desires, even if it means hopping on a rocket and blasting off to explore the stars.

Just remember: It might not be a bad idea to mix in a little broccoli now and then, because those space suits don't come in an extra-large.

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 14, 2014 A2

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