[What follows is a fragmentary manifesto detailing the existence of a secret order at work throughout the history of our society and it’s effect on our modern relationship with food. The original, charred pieces of manuscript are of very dubious origin. The author is no-where to be found and refuses in his writings to adhere to any sort of conventional thesis, narrative, or even rational discourse. Many (ie. other Editors) believe him to be mad, and many more believe that our mysterious un-named author is either deceased, or a fictional creation of another writer’s mind. Despite this, I have made his photos, notes and grease-splattered ravings available to anyone able to make sense of them, or perhaps shed light on the author’s ultimate fate.]
I know that what I will tell you will not be believed, and yet I tell anyway…
I am of a kind of predisposition to be dis-believed. Laocoon, Cassandra, Socrates, the doubters, conspiracy theorists and marginalized perceivers. Myself… All one in the same… Victims of our shared passion. Our quest! The unbelievable truth! And it is such:
There is a secret fraternity of culinary enthusiasts among us. They look like the rest of us, talk like us, go about their workaday routine like the rest of us… but they know a higher calling. Every action bent towards a single purpose, every breathe dedicated to a noble cause, every moment spent meditating on the labyrinthine secrets… of bacon!
Yes Bacon! That most revered of preserved pork fat products! There is an underground army of bacon-mad templars who meet in secret to cook, eat, and toast to their shared, salt-cured salvation… A Brotherhood of Bacon.
The origins of this knighthood of salted swine may lie in the Palazzos of Parma in Northern Italy. The “shield” of the old empire was and is famed for it’s delicious pork preparations, such as the famous Prosciutto di Parma. Or perhaps the Loci is farther North in the black forests of Germany were speck and sausage reign supreme. Documentation is scarce, and what facts I can connect together may be only phantoms of my own devising.
You see, doubters! I can’t be mad! Would a madman question his own sanity thus?
Whether Roman or Teutonic in origin, it is certain that the modern epicenter of this movement is North America. Nowhere else is bacon so revered, manipulated and eaten in such quantities that the mind reels and the stomach churns. Simply look upon the enormous amount of mass produced bacon-related products available to the American public and know, truly know, that the masters of this secretive fat-marbled conclave are at work. Bacon flavoured salt, bacon chocolates, Baconnaise, even bacon-flavoured toothpaste and scented soap! All this is part of a grand scheme to assimilate bacon into every part of our daily lives. Bacon for dessert! Bacon as clothing! Bacon as currency! The United States of Bacon!
Now, before you accuse me of seeing Rosicrucians around every corner like Casaubon in Foucault’s Pendulum, know that I have more than just circumstantial evidence. Not only have my findings been collaborated by others (too few!), but I have personally met with some of these Masons of Bacon! One such fellow I encountered while going about my daily job, completely by chance. Fortune smiles! He is…
[Parts of this particular, and some later manuscripts have been selectively cut out, leading this editor to believe that it may have been censored by persons unknown. Despite these alterations the narrative continues, albeit disjointedly.]
… After casual inquiry into his name, line of work, etc. A mutual friend referred to the man in question as, “Mr. Bacon”. Intrigued, I asked how he gained such a strange moniker.
He proceeded to regale me with his philosophy of bacon: Namely, that it is superior to all other food products and can be manipulated into any form the human mind can conceive. Bacon pies, bacon roses, bacon shaped into the form of animals, bacon-wrapped-bacon, “It’s all good!” he cried. Without question I had stumbled upon my first real initiate, my first “in” with this most secretive cult.
Alas, when I asked why he had not shared his obvious passion with others he became suspicious. Reserved… I had gone too far, too fast. But, hope was not lost! I knew I was finally cutting to the real meat of the mystery…
[The remaining headers indicate the passage of time, but it is difficult to determine how long.]
Success! I have tempted one whom I’ve long suspected of brotherhood into a night’s feasting with promises of copious amounts of bacon. I found a knight, neigh, a Baron of bacon! A “Barbeque Overlord” of the Brotherhood, I’m sure of it! To cement the pact of friendship I offered to procure bacon-flavoured libations for the evening’s festivities!
Yes, beer with bacon and maple syrup in it! It sounds like madness, but it exists! Rogue Breweries specially-brewed this particular (and peculiar) combination of flavours into it’s trademark craft beer to compliment Voodoo Doughnut’s signature fried foods. It’s collusion! They must be part of the plan… Notice the occult imagery on the bottle (see figure 13-B).
My guest [….] was a mountain of a man (figure 15), sharp of mind and rich in humour. He fit the archetype of initiate perfectly, right down to the obsession with ancient lore, primal cooking methods and antiquated weapons.
We shared many toasts, and spoke at length of my guest’s bacon-related experiments: Bacon Demi-Glace, bacon milkshakes, salmon bacon, his fascination with curing and smoking meats was endless and highly inventive.
At the table he laced slices of bacon into complex patterns (possibly runic? see figure 16) all the while muttering to himself in some language I was unable to identify. This bacon weave was then wrapped around a mustard and rosemary-rubbed pork tenderloin and seared over high heat, then slowly roasted until perfectly cooked through. Pork wrapped in more pork! The demented genius of it!
Once dinner had been eviscerated I attempted to inquire more deeply into [….] association with the order… And once again my own inept sleuthing brought me close to disaster! Sensing my over-interest, my guest quickly made to leave, but I was able to….
[At this point the manuscript ends abruptly, and only a few fragments remain. Some pieces are legible enough to decipher, while others are so ravaged that they are unintelligible. The most disturbing are little more than charred sentences stitched together by (it is assumed) the author without any context or rationale.]
…They exist! Truly, I have stumbled upon the very bone hidden deep within the meat! I have been invited to a convocation of the Brotherhood. The secret invocations will at last be revealed to me! Of the Brotherhood’s customs and practices, alas, I have little knowledge. This will finally give me the proof I need to…
… Dig a big pit in a dirt alley road, fill it with madrone and bay…
… Slaughter the hog to begin the ceremony! Communion with Demeter! The Eleusinian Mysteries! More wine! I can see St. Anthony the Abbot, patron of swineherds nodding through the fog of hickory smoke…
… Rodger Bacon, Francis Bacon… Oh, mystic fascinations…
…. Salt is the master of your food. God sent down four blessings from the sky – Fire, water, iron and salt… Prophet of pork, No! No, they forbade pork… Am I going mad?
… Slap that hog… ‘Gotta roll ‘em over twice… Baste it with a sweeping broom…
…The flame licks the meat…
…The smell… God, the smell!
[This is all that remains of the text, or of any documentation of the author’s later (some believe, final) missives. All of the preceding text was recovered from the author’s dwellings under very unusual circumstances. The door was barred from the inside, with no signs of entry. The interior of the door and apartment was covered in a thick layer of coarse salt. The smell of burnt meat had permeated every room. No trace of the author was found, only the scattered manuscripts presented here, in some cases burnt, splattered with grease and (hopefully) pig’s blood.
It is worth noting that the few shards of evidence left intact do point to some conspiracy, some actual organization at work in our society. It may be truth that drove this unfortunate person to madness and if so, perhaps someone else will brave the fires of uncertainty to shine some light on this shadowy, porcine brotherhood. Are their motives dark, or benign? We may never know.
Anyone with any information on the author’s whereabouts, please contact the Editor.]