Are you a vegetarian? It may be a strange question to ask on a bacon blog, but I’ve heard of a new trend that appears to becoming popular: vegetarians who don’t eat any meat except bacon. The trend has recently come to our attention because of an article on NPR: why bacon is a gateway drug for vegetarians. But I’ve been seeing it around a lot lately. Are vegetarians converting to bacon-love? Why is bacon so successful at converting vegetarians? What is that special magic that makes it so appealing?
All Meat Except Bacon
The NPR piece argues that vegetarians eating bacon is actually a pretty common thing. Gwen Sharp, a vegetarian in their article says, “I have long thought if for some reason I ever started eating meat again, I would start with bacon.” There’s a scholarly book about food that has a chapter that talks about how bacon sandwiches can get the better of English vegetarians. Janeane Garofalo is a vegetarian except for bacon. There’s even a t-shirt for these people! (Isn’t there always a t-shirt?) It has to be a trend!
Ba-Curious or Flexitarian?
Over the years, there’s been various attempts to name these folks. Are they vegetarians except for their bacon days? Or just picky carnivores who eat a lot of salad? In a CHOW Table Manners column, author Helena tried to define this difficult concept. Helena eventually settled on the term Ba-curious. You know: these are vegetarians who pretty much always stick to vegetables except for the times they sneak in an intimate moment with a guilty and titillating pleasure like bacon.
Another term that can be used is flexitarian. The idea behind this term is that not everyone fits into a rigid set of categories that fully describe their eating habits. Many people are willing to mostly stick with general vegetarian ideals, but they are also willing to make exceptions based on their personal taste, and this can include bacon.
Why Is Bacon Such A Powerful Gateway Drug?
Yes, meat is great, but why is bacon so specifically attractive? There’s not really any explanation for this, except for the obvious: bacon is awesome! The NPR article tries to offer some other explanations, including ones we’ve heard before: most of our sense of taste comes from our sense of smell, and there’s not many things in this world that compare to the odour of bacon frying on the stove. All those delicious-smelling amino acids! The NPR article also points out that eating bacon can be a social event – everyone gets together to enjoy a bacon fry-up on the weekend – and this can lead some vegetarians caving under peer pressure. (Note to self: vegetarians are susceptible to peer pressure.)
The Republic of Bacon is An Accepting Republic
Whatever the reason, I like vegetarians who eat bacon. What’s not to like? They eat bacon! And I think it is time we finally acknowledge and welcome our vegetarian-but-bacon-eating friends. After all, the Republic of Bacon is not the Republic of You-Must-Love-Every-Meat. We’re pretty flexible here. We’ll accept anyone here. As long, of course, as you adore bacon.
And then this brings up the obvious question: do we have any bacon-eating vegetarians out there? Why do you love eating bacon so much (besides the obvious)? We’d love to hear your story! Tell us in the comments. If we get enough, we’ll feature your comments in a post.