Former East Valley Tribune journalist Amy Vernon crowned herself The Bacon Queen in 2009 after a bit of online recognition pushed her into sweet, smoked stardom. So much so that she's the top female submitter of all time on Digg.com.
Who is the bacon queen?
I am the Bacon Queen. It started with my submission of a photo of bacon to Digg.com. It hit the front page, the comments kept me laughing for days (both those who loved it and those complaining that there was a photo of bacon on the front page of Digg), and I started submitting all sorts of photos from the Bacon pool on Flickr. More often than not, they'd hit the front page.
Soon, I started getting messages from Digg friends asking if I'd seen this or that submission, because it was about bacon. Soon after that, people started wondering in comment threads on Digg why I had not commented yet on a bacon submission. It grew and grew and grew and before I knew it, my friends were calling me the Bacon Queen. A childhood friend who's a vegan brought me faux bacon. All my friends from all eras of my life (I've lived in several states) post links on my Facebook page or send me messages about bacon news or products they've seen. It's completely taken on a life of its own.
Why start a bacon site? Truth be told, I didn't really want to start a bacon site at first. There are a LOT of bacon sites and blogs, believe it or not. And what would really make mine different except that it would be a product of the Bacon Queen herself? That wasn't enough, to me.
But it became increasingly obvious that I needed to do something. Everyone expected it and I began to feel rather sheepish (piggish?) that I didn't have one. So I bought the domain and thought about it some more. Finally, it hit me - a bacon news aggregator. Basically, it's a Drudge Report for bacon news. I find all the news, recipes, photos, blogs, etc., out there and link to it so you don't have to seek it out.
What makes your site different? I rarely have any original content on the site. It's all links. There aren't even many photos of bacon on the site. It's a clearinghouse.
How often do you eat bacon?
That's classified. Suffice it to say - not as much as people might expect. I eat it more when we go out to eat (which doesn't happen all that often) than at home, mainly because if I see bacon on the menu, I feel both a desire and an obligation to eat it. And if I'm out with certain friends, I pretty much have no choice but to have bacon. Which is OK, of course. It is, after all, the candy of meat.
We saw on one of your videos that Oscar Meyer sent you a box of bacon, what's your relationship with them?
Don't really have one. About a year and a half ago, Oscar Meyer was seeking out big names in bacon and food blogging, so my name naturally was brought up to them. They sent me (and others) two packages of bacon, a skillet, a bunch of coupons and some other stuff. My husband recorded the unboxing and the cooking and I uploaded the vids to YouTube. I believe my older son called me "Your Majesty" in one of the videos.
What is your favorite bacon?
I don't have a favorite brand inasmuch as I have a favorite texture. I prefer my bacon just ever-so-slightly crispy. I've had some pretty horrid bacon, though, and that makes me sad. Seems like such a waste of a pig's life.
Why do you think people love bacon so much?
I've wondered about this a lot. The simple answer, of course, is that it tastes so good. I mean, really. But there's more to it than that. Part of it, I think, is people's ability to share things online in a way they weren't able to before. And when people share their love of something, it often has a way of getting a bit hyperbolic. But, again, there's more to it than that.
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I actually spoke with Oscar Meyer's head chef shortly after they sent me the bacon care package, and he had a very interesting take on it: In tough times, we seek out things that comfort us. Bacon is truly a comfort food - it traditionally was eaten at breakfast and it's been a couple of generations since families really all sat down to have breakfast together on a daily basis, so it probably was made for breakfast on weekends. Maybe Dad cooked it. Or maybe the family all went out together for a hearty breakfast on Sundays. So it's that sense-memory thing, as that smell is unmistakable, and can truly transport you back in your memory.
Future plans for the bacon queen?
Honestly, not quite sure. I feel as if I need to do more, but I'm not quite sure what.