Monday, January 31, 2011

Gateway Bacon

A couple of days ago NPR's Health Blog posted an interesting, and rather fun, story. The post was about bacon and vegetarians. Now, vegetarians are not normally known for their consumption of bacon, but you may be surprised at how many crave it and even eat it. Yep, bacon is the gateway food. In fact, I have a vegetarian friend who considers bacon a condiment and therefore considers it not breaking the vegetarian rules. I don't blame her. That sizzling, glistening goodness, that smell, not to mention that delicious taste. Am I drooling?

The bloggers over at NPR decided to find out what makes even the strictest vegetarians go all gaga over bacon. They decided to ask some scientists who study how food tantalizes the brain just what's up with the bacon-craves. One such scientist was Johan Lunstrom, who studies how the brain processes sensory information, like smell. Did you know that bacon is one- to two-thirds fat? True. It also has lots of protein. Because of that it likely speaks to our evolutionary quest for calories. That oh-so-yummy smell also contributes. Considering that 90% of what we taste is related to odor, it isn't all that surprising that bacon's strong and delightful smell hits our olfactory centers with a powerful "eat me" message. Additionally, odor is strongly connected to emotion and memory. All you have to do is think about a weekend breakfast and you'll likely include the taste and smell of bacon. The social aspect of said big breakfast also seems to be important and helps to solidify the memories. Add in to the mix the desire to try new and interesting bacon concoctions - like chocolate-covered bacon - and you've got a vegetarian on the edge! Bacon has also gained all kinds of status in foodie circles. This status adds a whole new layer of enticement to vegetarians. Forbidden

Here's the NPR Story:

Fun Bacon Links:
The bacon explosion! I've actually tried this one:

TurBacon Epic!

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