Food, Food Artisans

The Making of the All-American Breakfast

Zingerman’s 5th Annual Camp Bacon gets underway in just a couple short weeks. To help you prepare for our annual celebration of all things pork, we’re posting excerpts from the Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon. 

Bacon and Eggs


A century ago, most urban Americans were pretty happy just grabbing a couple of slices of toast and coffee for breakfast. But a man by the name of Edward Bernays changed all that. As a public-relations pioneer, Bernays has been called both “the father of spin” and “the most influential man you’ve never heard of.” In his theory of PR, which he called “the engineering of consent,” he argued that, “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it.”

In the mid-1930s Bernays was working for Beechnut. While the company had long sold bacon, its sales were down and Bernays was struggling to find a way to get them back up. So he used his uncle Sigmund Freud’s (you read that right) psychological approaches to help convince the public that, among other things, bacon and eggs was the true all-American breakfast. He set up a national medical survey which “proved” that eating a hearty breakfast was the healthy way to go. He then sent the report out to five thousand physicians around the country, accompanied by a packet that talked about the value of eating bacon and eggs each morning. Seems to have worked darned well, since it’s hard to imagine a more typical start to the American day than a couple of strips of bacon with eggs, toast and a steaming cup of coffee.

If you prefer cereal with bananas to bacon for breakfast, you might find it interesting that Bernays later went on to lead the “marketing” of the U.S. government/United Fruit Company-sponsored coup in Guatemala in 1954.

We’ll see you at  Camp Bacon 2014! 


bacon-dates-187UThe Bacon Ball at Zingerman’s Roadhouse

On Thursday, May 29, 7pm, Camp kicks off with a very special event featuring “the Ham Lady,” Nancy Newsom who will oversee a feast centered on ham, bacon, and all the good things that come from a pig. Nancy’s lauded country ham and aged prosciutto will be the star attractions, and James Beard award-winning chef Alex Young will prepare a menu highlighting Newsom’s delicious meats! This dinner brings in bacon and ham lovers from all over the country!


get on the waitlist!

bacon-guys-so-happyBakin’ With Bacon at Zingerman’s BAKE!

On Friday, May 30, instructors at our hands-on teaching bakery at Zingerman’s Bakehouse will share the finer points of baking with everyone’s favorite meat. Guests will use the power of bacon to flavor amazing baked goods including a version of our popular peppered bacon farm bread, bacon cheddar scones, and bacon pecan sandy cookies. Attendees will leave BAKE! with tested recipes, the knowledge to recreate them at home, and everything they made in class.


get on the waitlist!: 8am – 12 noon

get on the waitlist!: 1:30pm-5:30pm

bacon-carCamp Bacon Main Event at Zingerman’s Cornman Farms

On Saturday, May 31, the Main Eventis changing venues this year and moving out to Cornman Farms in Dexter, MI. The festivities begin at 7:30 am with an amazing breakfast featuring plenty of bacon! We have a full day planned with special guests Bob and Tanya Nueske, Raul Martin, Amy Emberling, Nancy Newsom and more. The Main Event is a fundraiser for the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based at the University of Mississippi that documents, studies, and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. “It’s my favorite food-based educational non-profit by a mile,” says Ari.

reserve your seat here

Happy PigBacon Street Fair at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market

On Sunday, June 1, 11am – 2pm, vendors from Zingerman’s and many other businesses will be on hand sampling and selling their favorite bacon inspired creations and the event will benefit Washtenaw County 4H, an organization near and dear to Zingerman’s Roadhouse managing partner and chef Alex Young. “If you’d told me 10 years ago that I’d add farmer to my list of job titles I would’ve said you’re crazy. But, well, now I’m a farmer and the partnership we’ve developed with 4H has been indispensable for us at Cornman Farms and a big thing for my family, too. I’m really happy to help support them.”

This event is FREE!