Like many bacon lovers, I am profoundly grateful for my tastebuds. Every time I take a bite of a delicious BLT or sink my teeth into a perfectly crispy strip of bacon all on its own, I thank each and every lovely little bud that’s currently sending signals to my brain letting me know exactly how delicious my meal is. The humble taste bud doesn’t always get the attention that is deserves, and taste can sometimes play second fiddle to showier senses like hearing and sight. But in our opinion here at the Republic of Bacon, taste is one of the most important things in our lives, in particular because it allows us to enjoy all the wonderful things that taste like bacon.
One man, however, values his tastebuds so much that he recently had them insured for ?1 million. Keith Fisher is a butcher in the UK who has built a sterling reputation on the work of cured pork products, primarily based on his love for – and astonishing ability to taste pork products. While it might seem impossible, it turns out that Mr. Fisher can differentiate between over 50,000 cuts and cures of bacon. Yes, that number is correct. Fisher can correctly identify every single variety of bacon from every single producer in the world, from artisanal producers to huge corporations. With tastebuds like that, there is no small wonder he wants them to be protected!
Fisher, who sits on the greatly respected British Pig executive, excels at judging the quality of various grades of pork cuts and cures of bacon. He says that his “ability to taste the subtleties in different producers’ bacon has stood me in very good stead over the years and has proven to be critically important when it comes to judging the best of the best.” His success makes us wish we had superhuman powers of taste too, so that we could build an official career evaluating bacon on taste. If that doesn’t sound like a dream job, I don’t know what does!
Mr. Fisher is not the only person who has ever had their taste buds insured, as it turns out. Eleanor Freeman, snack inventor, had her tastebuds insured for ?3 million last year as well. Her super sense of taste has been credited for the success of many Graze products. Her insurance comes with some very particular conditions, however: Freeman is not allowed to eat anything with a Scoville rating (which measures spiciness) over 350,000, lick any food from a knife, or eat the potentially-poisonous blowfish sushi known as fugu, lest she void the warranty on her prize-winning tongue.
Does the idea of insuring a body part strike you as crazy? It turns out it is far more common that you’d think. Jimmy Durante had a policy taken out on his nose, Bette Davis insured her famous waistline, and dancer Michael Flatley took out a whopping $39 million policy on his legs. Many celebrities also use the rumour that they have insured a body part to create extra buzz, like the news that Jennifer Lopez may have insured her derriere for an untold sum. Taken in that context, insuring one’s taste buds seems positively reasonable. We’ll raise a strip of bacon to that!