The "Baconator" of Greeley County


I am so thankful for the most perfect food ever, bacon.

Oh bacon, oh bacon, you fill my life with joy and flavor.

Salty and savory -- is it any wonder Americans have a love affair with bacon?

Renae Nesiba of Greeley is a true "baconator" with a binder full of bacon recipes, like bacon wrapped water chestnut, something this reporter never would have thought of.

"It's got a great crunch, with the saltiness of the bacon," Nesiba said.

She set them on a plate next to bacon wrapped little smokies."It isn't just for breakfast," she remarked.

So when Renae asked me to chew the fat around her kitchen table, I couldn't say no.

She said, "Farm to table and keeping everything local and God bless pork farmers too, and beef farmers too, but you don't make bacon."

Those farmers contribute greatly to economics in this state, or "Baconomics" as we're calling it.

Nebraska's Third Congressional District is the fifth largest hog producing region in the country.

As a farm reporter I've seen the stats on bacon. There are nearly 3,000 bacon items on menus nationwide, twice what it was a decade ago.More than a third of Americans eat bacon at home on a regular basis.

As for Renae, she loves appetizers, finding recipes on Facebook and Pinterest.

If bacon tempts the taste buds in a unique way, there's science behind that. In addition to sweet, sour, salty, and bitter is something called umami - that savory taste, of which bacon is a great example.

"It's salty, it's porky, unxious," Renae explained.

But as much as she hams it up with bacon, Renae doesn't overdo the oink.

"Everything in moderation," she explained. "It's a joke, since I was working in radio that I love bacon. And I cook with it on occasion, not all the time."

Bacon is Renae's inspiration not only in the kitchen, but putting pen to paper, with an ode to bacon.

I am so thankful for the most perfect food ever, bacon.

Oh bacon, oh bacon, you fill my life with joy and flavor.

I had you for breakfast, but managed to save some for later.

The smell you emit fills the air with mouthwatering sensation.

You perfect porky goodness, part of life's great celebration.

As much as people love the smell of bacon, the smell of a hog farm causes many to turn their noses up. Thursday we'll visit a hog barn under construction to learn the steps farmers take to be good neighbors, in our study of Baconomics.