Growing up Canadian, it had never occurred to me that this would need to be said, that is until my friend David from Canada married an American … peameal bacon is not a pea protein bacon substitute!
Fortunately David did manage to warn his new bride seconds before the faux pea protein and very real bacon was consumed.
To be fair …
So What the Heck is Peameal Bacon?
Peameal bacon is a wet-cured, unsmoked back bacon made from trimmed lean boneless pork loin rolled in cornmeal.
Peameal Bacon Origin Story
And yeah, it is indeed a Canadian food, eh, more specifically an Ontarian food. While curing bacon in brine has been practiced around the world for centuries, Toronto’s oral history has it that after immigrating to Canada and setting up the William Davies Company in Toronto, pork packer William Davies sent a side of brine-cured pork loins to relatives in England. To help preserve this shipment, he packed it in ground yellow peas. As this was well received, Davies continued rolling cured loins in pea meal to extend the meat’s shelf life, helping the William Davies Company to become the largest pork exporter in the British Empire, and contributing to Toronto’s longstanding nickname of Hogtown.
Today cornmeal has replaced the pea meal crust on peameal bacon, due to improved refrigeration practices, and as after World War I cornmeal was more available than pea meal.
Now don’t say that you haven’t been warned!
…. and for the meat eaters among you, next time you are in Toronto wandered over to Carousel Bakery in the St Lawrence Market to get yourself a peameal bacon sandwich.