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Laura Byrne Paquet

Canadian Bacon

Published in enRoute

            We fry it over backwoods campfires. We love it in sandwiches. We’ve even seen it on marquees as the title of a John Candy movie. But ask most Canucks what “Canadian bacon” is, and you’ll get a blank stare—until you explain that it’s just the American moniker for peameal bacon.
            The product differs in more than name on both sides of the border. North of the 49th parallel, it’s sold salt cured and uncooked; in the U.S., it’s smoked. And that difference drove Ken Haviland nuts.
            Born and raised on an Ontario farm, Haviland moved to Troy, Michigan, 10 years ago to design cars. In the U.S., he missed peameal bacon; the “Canadian bacon” available stateside was a pale shadow of the meat he remembered. “That’s not Canadian bacon,” Haviland says bluntly. “I ate some the other day and there’s just nothing there…it just doesn’t stack up.”
            In 2000, he came up with the idea of importing Ontario-made peameal bacon. He now sells it across the U.S. through his mail-order company, REAL Canadian Bacon (www.realcanadianbacon.com). For US$8 a pound plus shipping, American consumers can now get a true taste of the Great White North.