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When the Chicago Mercantile Exchange announced the other day that pork belly futures would no longer be traded, it was hardly a shock. Trades had shrunk to almost nothing. Volatility was too much. The frozen bellies, used to make bacon, were, in the view of some, losing relevance.

Still, the demise of the futures means something else is really gone now, too — a unique belly culture and its hard-charging, daring cast of characters who, decades ago, made their fortunes in the high pressure of the belly pit.


Way back, pork belly futures made sense. The bellies were frozen and set aside, then used to make bacon during the summers when the demand for it (think bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches) rose. But the pork belly landscape has shifted, said Shane Ellis, a livestock economist at Iowa State University. With bacon accompanying salads, hamburgers, even chocolate, it is on call all year now, removing some of the demand for frozen bellies.
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There will always be BLT's.

Some things not only are - but actually deserve to be eternal.
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I can't believe how expensive bacon has become. It used to be a cheap meat. It used to be something people ate for sustenance because it was cheap and full of energy. No longer. Now it's a gourmet food that adds value to whatever it's added to. Bacon is a guilty pleasure, a status symbol, something that people eat and brag about. Like admitting to a little sin.

Gourmet bacon can go upwards of $10.00/lb. Bacon cured with honey and hickory or apple wood, thick sliced, dry cured. Like lobster bacon is no longer the food of peasants but instead has moved into the realm of the gourmet food. Used more often as a seasoning than as something you eat in and of itself.

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