Everything is coming up bacon

By MIKE MILIARD  |  February 22, 2008

Wake-up slow and greasy
What power hath this meat? Matty Sallin, creator of the Wake n’ Bacon alarm clock, has a theory. “There’s a number of qualities that give it wide appeal. It’s a snack; it’s a little strip. There’s no commitment of eating a whole salad, or a whole bowl of cereal. It’s this little ‘accessory meat.’ Second, it’s bad for you, so it’s viewed as an indulgence. Third, it probably packs more flavor per square inch than any other naturally occurring food.”

Not long ago, Sallin, who was taking a class on creative applications of technology, had an idea. Alarm clocks, he realized, are an unnecessary evil. “They wake you up by jarring you awake. It’s such an unpleasant experience. I thought there was great possibility for improvement there.”

So he canvassed his classmates for their favorite way to be rousted from slumber. “The most interesting non-sexual answer was waking up to the smell of bacon.” Genius. Not only is “the smell of Mom’s cooking a fantastic way to wake up,” it also “provides an incentive for you to get out of bed.”

Think of the Wake n’ Bacon like an EZ-Bake Oven, shaped like a pig. Place a strip of frozen bacon in its belly the night before. Set the alarm. Fall asleep. Fifteen minutes before you’re set to wake, two halogen bulbs will begin silently and slowly cooking. “By minute 12 or so, the scent is so strong and unmistakable, that you’re gonna wake up,” says Sallin. “Then you get to eat the crispy, tasty bacon. Or you could throw it away, I suppose. But who would want to do that?”

The Wake n’ Bacon is currently just a prototype, but a patent and mass-production are entirely possible. “It was something of a joke when I created it, but it works,” says Sallin. “Anyone who has any experience bringing products to market, I’m here to talk to them.” Let’s make this happen.

Grateful swine
How has this strip of crispy pork ascended to such a vaunted spot in the pop-cultural firmament? Homer Simpson has certainly done his part: “I’ll have the smiley-face breakfast special. Uhh, but could you add a bacon nose? Plus bacon hair, bacon mustache, five o’clock shadow made of bacon bits, and a bacon body?” Waitress: “How about I just shove a pig down your throat?”

The simplest answer, however, is usually the correct one. Bacon speaks for itself. It’s salty. It’s sweet. It’s crunchy. It’s greasy. And it’s everywhere. Whether it’s the gotta-see-it-to-believe-it art site baconrobots.com (“the only thing better than bacon is a smoking-hot animatronic lady to cook it for you”), the delectable Norwegian delicacy that is bacon-flavored cheese in a tube, or — astonishingly — bacon-flavored cotton candy, this meat holds strange sway over otherwise reasonable people.

But as we salivate then satiate, we must never forget whence bacon comes. We owe the pigs of the world our gratitude and thanks. We must think more like the writer William Hedgepeth, who dedicated his curly-tailed tome The Hog Book “to the millions of porkers who’ve gone to their final resting sites inside us, and to the ghosts of still billions more pigs who’ve long since passed away down the throat of time. I’d like to call them all by name, but the list is long and I cannot remember.”

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