Food, Culture & Society: An International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research
Journal Article URL
This essay considers how Americans attribute moral qualities to pigs and pork. I explore the ways that producers and consumers of pasture-raised pigs understand their interests in—and especially appetite for—pork in terms of moral values. At once a source of economic distinction, ecological commitment, and culinary indulgence, the pork from pasture-raised (or “heritage breed”, or “outdoor raised”) pigs is, in many ways, simultaneously a contemporary icon of excess and restraint. This convergence of contrasting values is even more amplified in bacon, the now ubiquitous food, flavor, and substance that is, for many, the quintessence of pork. This contemporary American infatuation with all-things bacon is an expression of both an enduring history of moralization (long associated with pigs and pork); as well as a very specific conjuncture of political economic and sociological forces. The longue durée and the current moment combine to put bacon on our plates with the distinctive pride of place it now enjoys. In this paper I suggest that the implications of this contemporary American taste for bacon, and the ways this taste have informed a consuming public knowledgeable about and desirous of this pork product, embody wider changes in American food politics and values.
Weiss, Brad, “Life-changing bacon”: transgression as desire in contemporary American tastes (2018). Food, Culture & Society: An International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, 21(5), 664-679.