Ah, bacon. This delectable meat commodity doesn’t just brighten our breakfast tables and fill our bellies; bacon has also infiltrated our every day lexicon. There are many common phrases that we use all the time that reference bacon in one way or another. From money to our bodies, bacon is used to represent many thing colloquially.
Have you ever wondered where these phrases come from? Well, look know further! We at the Republic of Bacon strive to give you some of the finest examples of bacon lore. Here are some of the origins of the most common baconified phrases in the English language.
This famous bacon-based phrase means: to earn money, especially money that supports a family, and to generally do well financially. There are a couple of theories about where this phrase comes from.
Legends tell of a couple that lived in Dunmow, Essex on the 12th Century who were so devoted to each other that the local prior rewarded them with a side of bacon (a noble gift!). The phrase came into common usage when early 20th Century boxer Joe Gans received a telegram from his mother, telling him to “bring home the bacon.” When Gans won, the news story included the telegram and the phrase was absorbed into common usage.
Now, when we refer to bacon, we are talking about a very specific cut of meat taken from the side of the pig, containing a combination of flesh and fat, and smoked for additional flavour (yum!). Originally, though, bacon meant meat from any part of the pig, and was also used as a synonym for the human body. Therefore, to save one’s bacon just meant to protect a physical body from harm.
This slightly less common phrase is a part of Canadian history, and if there’s anything Canadians love, it’s bacon. When Canada was first being settled, newcomers to the frozen north land often carried salted pork rations, to help then get through long winters is the harsh climate.
More experiences settlers and trappers were able to live off the land, while those who were still adjusting to the new conditions had to carry heavier, richer provisions with them. It was a slightly derogatory term, meaning someone who was still soft and not experienced enough to be considered at home in the wild. Often, the French phrase was used too, “mangeurs de lard.”
This particular phrase means to live a rich lifestyle and to be prosperous. The phrase refers to the general belief that the best cuts of meat on a pig are found on the upper part of the flank – literally high up on the hog. So, to live high on the hog is to enjoy the best that life has to offer. We, of course, would argue that the best cuts are to be found on the side of the pig where bacon comes from, but that is besides the point.