Bacon and eggs



The basis of any proper breakfast is fats and sugars, with additions of protein and caffeine. Fruits may supply your sugars if you are that way inclined, but  for me, sugar in my coffee serves as well. As for fats, the most obvious source is bacon, which has the added virtue of being a pleasure denied to observant Jews and Muslims. Thus you can enjoy a sense of sinning against political correctness as you chow down on your morning strips of bacon. Bonus!

Unfortunately, the cause of bacon has suffered in recent decades because of the cholesterol scam, in which our health was supposed to have been menaced by animal fats per se, rather than by excessive meat consumption coupled with smoking and inactivity.

Smoking and inactivity will kill you younger than almost any combination of ingested substances: it may even be more deadly in combination than breathing asbestos.

By this time we should be aware that the original cholesterol study was as factually sound as global warming studies are today. Countries whose mortality rates and causes of death that did not conform to the preconceived outcome were excluded. The people measured were survivors of World War 2, many of whom had gone through the war and the Depression. Then they reached post-war prosperity and were dying young of heart attacks. They smoked like chimneys, as people did in those days. On the basis of this pseudo science, where association is causation, a fifty-year-long campaign by the vegetable oil industry was launched, the effect of which is still with us.The American Heart Institute, which lobbies for the cholesterol boogey-man, is funded by the vegetable oil producers.

We are still convinced that animal fats are dangerous to health, even when they are not.

The cholesterol narrative ( a polite word for mularkey) had to be modified, and by now it has been abandoned, even if your physician still clings to it. The story of good and bad cholesterols fighting it out for dominance in your blood stream is  attractive; it allows doctors to bully you into diets for which your body may not well adapted. The Mediterranean diet may well work for people of Mediterranean descent. It does not work for me. A diet rich in meats is appropriate for people who live in countries where the cold requires fires and insulation for many months of the year. A diet without cheap carbohydrates is required for any aboriginal culture that knew only meat, fruit and berries until the coming of the white man. Look at the obesity in Pacific Islanders or Canadian aboriginals, and you can see a problem that a diet normal for some humans is inappropriate for peoples unaccustomed to starches and alcohol. Both drugs and diets vary in their effectiveness according to our biochemical inheritance, which has been shaped by what we have eaten for millennia.

One of the considerable pleasures of a recent visit to Austria, Slovenia and northern Italy was the presence of cold cuts. It is thought perfectly normal to serve a dinner or snack composed of slices of prosciutto, ham, salamis, and cheeses, with maybe a carved carrot for colour. Pickles and horse radish composed the vegetables. Beer and schnapps supplied the alcohol. For this carnivore, it was heavenly. To find an entire food culture that is not obsessed with eating vegetables was a revelation.

Back to bacon in this country. Fat supplies and carries the flavour. One of the effects of the cholesterol scare was the progressive breeding of pigs to have less fat. The effects on Canadian (and American) pigs has been the breeding of dry, largely flavourless pork. To eat pork in Europe was to be reminded that it can be a delicious, flavourful experience. We eat beef with fat, why not pork?

One of the food movements that bears watching is the restoration of the pig to an honoured place in the pantheon of meat. As you have the power as a consumer to summon forth what you want, try exploring the butcheries of the nation for fatter, more tasty pork. A trivial increase in your food spending can have gigantic effects on what is available to eat. The relative abundance of patés, cheeses, local wines, and local breeds of meat can be affected by what you insist upon at the meat counter.