Go hog wild: It’s National Bacon Day

There are a lot of folks who will tell you nothing beats the smell of freshly-cooked bacon wafting through the room. For centuries, the world has been obsessed with the salty breakfast staple, and in the United States, Dec. 30, is celebrated as National Bacon Day.

Here are some facts and figures you can chew on as you celebrate all things bacon.

Bacon’s beginnings date back thousands of years

Believe it or not, bacon was eaten as far back as 1500 B.C. The food got its start in China, where cooks made the popular meat slices from salted pork bellies.

The first bacon factory opened in 18th century

The first production facility for bacon was opened in Wiltshire County, England, by a businessman named John Harris back in 1770. Today, the "Wiltshire Cure" is still a common production method, which produces a sweeter, less salty slab.

‘Bringing home the bacon’ wasn’t always about money

Many suggest the origin of the phrase "bring home the bacon" goes back to Great Dunmow in Essex County, England, during the 12th century. Legend has it any man who could swear to the church he and his wife hadn't fought for a year and a day was given a flitch, or a side, of bacon. That man was then looked up to by the rest of the community as an exemplary citizen.

Americans eat tons of bacon every year — literally

The average American eats about 18 pounds of bacon every year. When you do the math, that comes out to nearly 3 million tons of the stuff we chow down on annually.

Don’t feel too guilty, though. China still ranks as the number one consumer of pork in the world. The country ate more than 53 million tons of pig meat in 2016, though how much of that was bacon alone is a mystery.

There is a bacon statue of Kevin Bacon

In case you ever wondered, an artist really did make a bust in the likeness of actor Kevin Bacon in 2010. Artist Mike Lahue created the bust by carving the base from styrofoam, then covered it in bacon bits and lacquer. The pork piece was ultimately auctioned off for charity and raised around $4,000. Another artist, Jason Mecier, made a bacon portrait of the Footloose star in 2012.

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