The English Bacon Sandwich is almost as rarely glimpsed as a dodo riding a unicorn on a visit to see the Lochness monster.
Bacon, the iconic landmark on an English breakfast. A celebration in a patriotic proud manner of all that England stands for. Implied, is that we can achieve anything, face the challenges of Brexit, the slowing of followers on social media, the discontinuance of our favourite Netflix show, as long as we have a British bacon sandwich to hand. It’s the thing that made hangovers worth having. But saying that we are enjoying British Bacon in the morning reminds me of the genius sketch in Blackadder goes forth where Captain Darling says he is as English as the Queen… and is then lambasted for his German connections.
With the African swine flu now threatening numbers and prompting price inflation this could never be more topical. China has increased its imported pork by 250% to cover the deficit. With the swine flu now in Eastern Europe, it makes you glad we are an Island.
All we hear about is the importance of sustainable sourcing; buy British we are urged! Demands for British beef and lamb. What about pork? Our market is flooded with inferior, poorly produced, highly processed cheap Dutch and German products which skews entirely the English artisan market and makes it appear expensive – but we are not comparing apples with apples, not at all. Nor are we looking at the end product and the amount of water loss in cooking not to mention the utter disappointment on flavour. The imported counterparts are pumped full of chemicals, water (more than half of all bacon is imported and the figure could be higher as the bacon is processed here but is foreign pork). They use cheap old Boar pigs which produce wide flat eye of bacon, darker in colour and with very little fat on. These are mass produced in a commodities market in large tumblers with high levels of water and polyphosphates to encourage water retention. It is tumbled with iced-water which encourages again high water retention. They then freeze the product fully before slicing. What is worse, is so many people who care about buying British only do so to a point or are at times misled into believing they are purchasing a British product. If we could get together to support English bacon and let the consumer know the difference then we can all charge more, give back more to our English farmers and give our guests a bacon that is welfare friendly, better for the planet and with a nutritionally higher value.
We started curing our own bacon last year simply because finding good English bacon is almost impossible on the scale that we require. We now have fully traceable, deliciously succulent bacon that is truly English. To find out more click here