Who has ever heard of “back bacon” ?

February 4, 2008

As an American, it’s only natural that every now and then, I step outside the realm of my self-involved American world, in order to ponder the reality of other lands. For instance, when I was in Italy, everyone tried to force feed me espresso. Not only do I not like coffee, I don’t like hot liquids (unless I am bathing in them). Perhaps it was the language barrier*, but the Italians did not seem to understand. Every morning at breakfast, they would try to pour me a tiny cup of tiny espresso, and I would smile and say “No, thanks.” It has always been my understanding that “no” is pretty universal, yet they would stare at me with mild confusion and disappear only to reappear with a small basket of sugar and point at the espresso as if to say “Okay. Now drink it!” I would smile politely and again say “no thank you” and mild confusion would give way to moderate confusion and inevitably our waitress would bring me a cup of hot tea, which was no better as it violates my “I don’t drink hot liquids cause they make me feel like I’m choking” rule/neurosis.

*It should be noted that there shouldn’t have been a language barrier as I was traversing the country with my then-boyfriend a NATIVE ITALIAN who spoke fluent Italian and English. Unfortunately, his mother was not with us and thus he did not know how to operate in the world but that is neither here nor there. Although technically it was there.

So anyway. Beyond the borders of America are many curiosities and cultural differences to be appreciated. Such as:

  • Why do people in England drink warm beer?
  • Do toilets flush in the opposite direction in Australia (and has anyone ever definitively answered that question)?
  • Why do french people walk around carrying baguettes everywhere they go* (*at least in my imagination)?
  • Why is there a whole museum, el Museo de jamon, in Madrid dedicated to ham?

Ham. I don’t like it that much in America. Yet it seems to intrigue me in foreign lands. For example, take our neighbors to the north, Canada, who are more commonly referred to as “America’s Hat.”

My new blog friend, Some Drunkard Canadian, schooled me in ham. How many times have you, blog reader, found yourself wondering about Canadian Bacon? Probably never, but this isn’t your blog now is it? No it is not. If here in America we call Canadian Bacon “Canadian Bacon ” … what do Canadians call it? Bacon? If they call Canadian Bacon just plain “bacon” … then what do they call bacon!? American bacon? This creates a lot of bacon ambiguity and I think we can all agree that’s quite dangerous.

It turns out they call Canadian bacon “back bacon” which is disagreeable to me for various reasons. Not the least of which being that calling it “back bacon” makes it seem as though it was once attached to the back of a living creature ….. which it was. I, on the other hand, being American, prefer to live in a world where my meat magically appears on the grocer’s shelf or and goes directly to my dinner plate while I remain steadfastly planted in a little land I like to call “Denial” (It’s not just a river in Egypt…har har. Thank you folks, I’m here ’til Sunday!) Thus I reject “back bacon” and suggest that Canadians start calling it “Canadian Bacon,” too, and take some pride in their national meat. Canada can then implement a series of commercial, not unlike the “BEEF ITS WHAT FOR DINNER” commercials that were once popular in the US, and Canadian bacon will become very popular in situations even beyond only when people can’t think of a third meat to add to their meat-meat-and-meat pizza and they have already added pepperoni (ham) & bacon (ham). A trifecta of pig! Why no pizzeria uses that slogan as their “Special of the Week,” I’ll never know.

If Canada finds this proposal unacceptable, then I motion to call “back bacon” something more neutral, such as “Switzerland.”

Person 1: Would you like a slice of Switzerland?
Person 2: Yes. Yes I would.

Wife: We’re having Switzerland for dinner tonight!
Husband: Oh my that sounds marvelous.

Person 1: I’m bringing the Switzerland sandwiches to the picnic.
Person 2: How delightful. I can’t remember the last time I had a Switzerland sandwich! I’ll bring the potato salad!

That’s all I have to say about that, mostly because I have a tiny bottle of champagne waiting to be cracked open. I must admit, my Sunday has been pretty productive. In addition to doing laundry, mopping the kitchen floor, and buying a full set of dinnerplates, I managed to blog twice, form an international alliance with canada, and put a treaty on the table.

It’s not easy being a modern girl. But it helps if you have cute shoes.


2 Responses to “Who has ever heard of “back bacon” ?”

  1. C. Fraser Says:

    * Why do people in England drink warm beer? – really cold beer is actually pretty tasteless, but really refreshing. Warm beer tends to have more flavour (notice the correct spelling). Most North American laggers are pretty tasteless to begin with, so you might as well serve them cold.

    * Do toilets flush in the opposite direction in Australia (and has anyone ever definitively answered that question)? – The most important thing is that they flush.

    * Why do french people walk around carrying baguettes everywhere they go* (*at least in my imagination)? – They are a hungry people? Good question.

    * Why is there a whole museum, el Museo de jamon, in Madrid dedicated to ham? – Because Madrid still uses lead plumbing to get their drinking water.

    I like the line “We’re having Switzerland for dinner tonight.” I think smart marketers could have a field day with it!

  2. Amelie Says:

    I don’t drink beer, because I am a lady. I have no interest in drinking something that, to me, seems like liquid bread. However, in defense of American beer drinkers, most of the ones I know drink canadian or mexican beer. It’s one cling-on or another.

    If what you said about the pipes in Madrid is true, I’m glad I didn’t drink the water. I did, however, drink a bottle of orange juice (during 5 days of amoebic dissentary) from the mini-bar in my room. When i shook it up, it looked a little weird, but that’s kind of how everything looked in Spain … weird. After drinking half of it, I turned the bottle around and noticed that it expired….2 years prior. Then the Church of Scientology across the street tried to recruit me and, as they were the first people I met who spoke English, and I almost said yes. Until I saw a picture of Tom Cruise (tomas cruz!) and I realized …forget it, I’m going back to the US.

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