Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bye Bye Bacon

In moving from Britain to Canada, we made a lot of adjustments settling into a new country. Many of these have been surprisingly easy. I think we came into this adventure looking for change, not being afraid of it, and not trying to simply recreate our old life in a new setting.

However, one of the first things we noticed, and which we have never really accepted, is the lack of decent bacon. Canadians really don't get it. The stuff that is sold as bacon here, we knew as "streaky" bacon back in the UK. Some people like it. We only ever bought it to lay over the breast and legs of a turkey to seal in the moisture.

We were delighted, very early on, when our growing network of contacts pointed us in the direction of a Scottish family butcher. This place was a delight. Amongst the many imported goodies, they sold black pudding and real Ayrshire bacon. Staples of a proper fried breakfast.

I haven't been there for a while. We usually buy turkey bacon these days, which is lean and tasty, but I fancied bacon fried with tomatoes for breakfast and you can't beat the taste of proper Ayrshire.

So, I was deeply saddened to visit the shopping plaza and discover that the butcher has closed down.

Seems like they were hard hit by the Alberta beef scandal, which has put many people off buying meat. The oddest thing is, I feel partly responsible, having not given them my custom in so long.

I'm going to miss my Ayrshire.


  1. I only eat poultry and fish these days but way back when I first visited North America I remember encountering Canadian bacon (in Florida) and it was like eating bacon crisps but I liked it.
    Actually, being Jewish, I wasn't supposed to be eating bacon at all but that's not why I stopped!
    Sadly, traditional butchers (and many other traders such as bakers) are struggling all over the UK these days because of the challenge from supermarkets. It's not like that in France though.
    Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

  2. You can still get the thicker bacon over the butchers counter at the grocery store or at the farmers market or you can buy a side of pork from a farmer and have it cut the way you like it...have you tried peameal? Personally, I like the regular stuff they sell...

  3. What? No real bacon? How do they not have bacon there? That's just so...wrong.

  4. Just checking in....hope you were nowhere near that earthquake.

    1. Delores, thanks for asking. I didn't even know there had been a quake until you mentioned it. Since checked the news, it was well north of us and wasn't felt down here.

  5. Bazza, yes, they do like it crispy here. It's OK in its own right, but doesn't work so well when you specifically want the lean meat.

    Delores, I am going to have to try one of the farmers markets and see what I can find. Bacon possibly, not too optimistic about black pudding though. That is an occasional treat which I think might be gone for good.

    Jean, I guess Canadians would say they do have real bacon. It's just not what I would all "real" bacon. It's all relative :)

  6. I do like thick bacon, but must say that the thinner, crispier variety is what almost all Americans grew up with and are accustomed to. I like both very much. I've never tried the bacon you're describing, though, but now I want to. I'll keep it on my to-do list whenever we eventually put together our holiday across the pond.

  7. Hi Ian,

    I'm most dismayed that the Scottish family butcher has shut shop. I kind of miss Canadian back bacon, crispy, with maple syrup leaking off the pancakes onto the eggs and the crispy back bacon.

    I do, however, understand your yearning for British bacon. And slightly off topic, I sure don't miss North American chocolate aka 'glorified wax'.

    Take care, eh.


  8. David, across the pond we used to call it "back bacon", which I think is something else yet again here :)

    Good luck riding out the storm. I'm thinking of all you folks out there.

    Gary, please don't get me started on chocolate! Luckily we know several places that stock the real stuff so that isn't a problem.

  9. I am so sorry for your culinary frustrations, during my short stay in beautiful Scotland I was very dissatisfied with the taste of the vegetables...or the the lack of taste...but I also enjoyed their whisky :). Why don't you make your own bacon, Ian? Buy the meat, then salt it, dry it and smoke it yourself....My dad does this and it tastes great.

    1. How would you smoke it? I wouldn't think it would fit in a pipe. And I guess you could forget rolling it in paper. :-)

  10. When I think "bacon," I think of what you call "streaky bacon." I'm intrigued that there could be something better.
    As far as what they call "Canadian Bacon," ewww. It's a round piece of ham which is only fit for putting on an Egg McMuffin.
    Which is a culinary disaster in its own right.

  11. Unikorna, I can imagine the dissatisfaction with vegetables, they do somewhat go in for bland :)

    Al, I think what you describe is what goes by the name of "back bacon" here, which I alluded to in an earlier comment. Most emphatically not the same as what I know as back bacon.


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