Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

I'm dead meat: Please save my bacon

Impending shortage has me salivating

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The most moving greeting card I have ever received featured a cute but sad little mouse who appeared to be running away from home because he had all his worldly possessions stuffed into a tiny sack slung hobo-style over his back.

Inside the card, the caption read: "I don't want to live in a world without love!"

As deeply moving as that was, it is safe to say guys like me would become even more emotional if the little mouse on the card had delicious strips of thinly sliced, salted pork draped lovingly over his tiny shoulders.

Naturally, the caption would read: "I don't want to live in a world without bacon!"

But this morning, as difficult as it is for me to say, we are forced to consider that terrifying possibility -- a world without enough bacon to go around.

I became aware of this crispy crisis the other day when I received countless emails (there were six) from concerned guys with subject lines reading, in ominous capital letters: "STOP THE PRESSES!" and "OH! MY! GOD!"

These emails contained copies of an alarming news story from The Canadian Press (I recommend you sit down before reading on) from London, England, that began as follows: "A British farming organization is predicting a worldwide shortage of bacon and pork next year."

The story stated what most Manitobans already know -- pig farmers around the world are considering selling their herds because of soaring feed prices and a drop in market prices. In Canada, while bacon is not expected to vanish from shelves entirely, there are dire warnings of dramatic price hikes within four to six months.

My male colleagues wasted little time in making me aware of this dire situation because, as much as I hate to brag, I am renowned as this nation's most steadfast defender of all things bacon. I am bacon's champion, if you will.

If, unlike myself, you are not wringing your hands and gnashing your teeth over the prospects of a looming bacon shortage, I am going to assume you are what we bacon lovers refer to as "a woman."

In the world of culinary delights, there are few more divisive foodstuffs than bacon. For instance, reactions to the current bacon crisis are split among gender lines as follows:

Typical male reaction (sound of salty tears falling): "NOOOOOOO!!!"

Typical female reaction: "Man up, Buttercup! There's always turkey bacon!"

Yes, you read that correctly. Based on a survey of my wife, I have determined that women consider turkey bacon an acceptable substitute for (WARNING: capital letters ahead) THE REAL THING! Let me state, for the record: Turkey bacon is NOT bacon. It should not be allowed in the same province, let alone frying pan, as real bacon.

And while we're on the topic, I'd like to point out that carob is not chocolate, leisure suits are not (bad word) suits and light beer is not (extremely bad word) beer.

Thanks for listening.

Getting back to my point -- and I do have one -- the time has come to stand up for bacon. I know I am doing my part. My office cubicle, for example, is decorated with a bacon-scented air freshener and a bookmark camouflaged as a strip of bacon. As I write these words, I am eating (this is the unvarnished truth) bacon-flavoured jelly beans from a can painted to resemble a strip of bacon. In my kitchen pantry, there's a shaker of bacon salt and a jar of Baconnaise.

In recent years, as a crusading journalist, I have written countless columns professing my love of bacon and describing a host of bacon-y inventions, including: Bacon lip balm; Baconlube, the world's first bacon-flavoured massage oil and personal lubricant marketed as the "McRib of Sex"; and, most recently, the Bacon Coffin, a $2,999.95, 220-pound, 18-gauge steel casket painted "with a bacon and pork shading" to ensure the dearly departed can spend eternity wrapped in the loving arms of bacon.

Despite my courageous journalistic stand, I have yet to be awarded even one Pulitzer Prize. Conspiracy? I can't say. What I can say, however, is that the time has come to show bacon how much you love it. Embrace your local pork producer. Ignore the entire alphabet except for the letters BLT. Spread the love, people.

Speaking of love, consider this: In a recent survey of 1,006 randomly selected adults, 43 per cent of Canadians (including 42 per cent of women) said they love bacon more than sex, and nearly one in four Manitobans (23 per cent) has wondered if "my partner loves bacon more than me."

Numbers do not lie, people. As a wise man once told me: Sex may be a wonderful thing, but you can have bacon more than once a day.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 28, 2012 A2

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