Everybody knows what bacon is, but few people know how it came to be. Bacon didn’t just suddenly appear out of nowhere. It has a long and storied history, and halfway through International Bacon Week seemed like the perfect time for a quick brush-up on the history of this fascinating meat.
1500 BC – Bacon is invented. Bacon is one of the oldest cuts of meat in the world, so it’s hard to know exactly who came up with it. Some historians say it was a farmer. Others say it was a pig trying to get back at another pig for being a jerk. And others still say it might actually have been a very smart cow.
900 AD – The term bacon emerges from the French bak and the Old High German bakko, both of which mean ‘from the back of an animal.’ That’s right, bacon is backin.
1111 – The phrase ‘bring home the bacon’ is coined in the village of Dunmow in Essex when a woman offers to give a slab of bacon to any man who can truthfully say he’s had marital harmony for the period of one year.
1112 – A woman in the village of Dunmow in Essex gives out 672 slabs of bacon.
1770 – British businessman John Harris sets up the very first large-scale bacon curing operation. He pays his workers in bacon. No one complains.
1824 – One of the earliest American cookbooks, The Virginia Housewife, gives instructions on the best way to cure bacon. The answer: frequently.
1924 – Oscar Meyer introduces the United States to pre-sliced, pre-packaged bacon and, subsequently, obesity.
1958 – Kevin Bacon is born.
2009 – Chocolate-covered bacon is invented when a drunken man drops bacon in chocolate.
2011 – Bacon-infused vodka is invented when that same drunken man drops bacon in vodka.
2012 – Bacon-wrapped shoe is invented when that same drunken man drops bacon on a shoe. Invention doesn’t catch on.
2014 – You read the bacon timeline.
2014 + 12 minutes – You eat some bacon.