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Dear Bacon,

Is it true what The World Health Organization says about you? That you'll give me cancer if I don't quit you? I think the WHO is serious about their claims, too. According to an NPR report, they're putting you in the same category as asbestos and smoking. SMOKING! Who knew? So instead of cutting class and sneaking a smoke in the bathroom or the high school parking lot, rebellious teenagers all across America can just eat some bacon instead?

Oh, Bacon. You're the bad boy of the food world these days. You might as well just slick your hair back, put on a white T-shirt and a Levi jacket a la James Dean, and throw smoldering glances from the driver's seat of your El Camino at all the girls who walk by. They'll have a hard time resisting you, of course, even though their mothers (as well as the World Health Organization) will tell them not to get involved with you.

"Bacon will break your heart!" They'll say. "And also clog your arteries! Who needs a boyfriend that clogs your arteries?"

Answer: Me, apparently.

Bacon, I fell under your bad boy spell years ago. Like, when I was in kindergarten. To me, you were the best part of every breakfast. Certainly better than oatmeal. Even better than the silver dollar pancakes my friend's dad used to make at slumber parties. He was famous for his pancakes that were the size of — wait for it! — silver dollars. And he always instigated a competition to see who could eat the most.

"Hey, girls!" he'd say. "Who can eat the most?"

I won. Always. And then I was rewarded with more pancakes.

But, Bacon, I would have preferred to have YOU as my reward. Anytime. All the time.

I still feel that way, too. And I don't just like you for breakfast. I like you in my sandwiches and soups. I like you sprinkled on top of my salads and baked potatoes. I like you wrapped (lovingly) (like an embrace) around my meat loaf.

I also like you for dessert.

The first time I ever flew into Eugene, Oregon to visit my son and his wife, we did not pass, "go," we did not collect $200 when they picked me up at the airport. Instead, they drove me straight to Voodoo Doughnut where we ordered Bacon Maple Bars. I've since sampled maple bacon doughnuts from other establishments, but none has compared to that first sublime introduction.

(And speaking of desserts, I also like chocolate-covered bacon. As if that even needed to be said, duh.)

But whatever. That's not the point. The point is that you're a bad boyfriend, Bacon, and I need to quit you. But can I? I have the feeling that even after I send you packing in your El Camino, I'll still be stalking you online, seeing what you're up to. And every time you update your status as a key ingredient in everything from bacon jam to bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with cream cheese to brie and bacon pasta (with basil!) to bacon and cheddar scones, my heart will break a little.

That's right, Bacon. Our mothers were right about you. And they would know.

Because our mothers loved you, too.


Ann Cannon