Career/Professional, Friendship, Kansas

That’s a lot of bacon…

My job is so much cooler than yours.
Well at least this past weekend it was.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.
Bacon. Is. Hot.
So much so, that it gets its own festival in Kansas City.
That’s right, a whole day dedicated to that salty, savory strip of wonderful. And because of my job, I got to go.

Ladies and gents, I present to you: Bacon-Fest: The Other Fundraiser

baconfest

Bacon Fest is an annual fundraiser for the Rehabilitation Institute of KC, an organization that provides physical rehabilitation services to youth and adults in the Kansas City area. The event features dozens of eateries, caterers and companies who all bring their bacon inspired dishes for hundreds of bacon lovers and enthusiasts to sample. There were pulled pork sandwich bites, tacos, pizza, jam, cheddar meatballs, yogurt, various desserts and appetizers and more – all featuring bacon in some form. There were even two bacon inspired drinks, including a bacon bloody mary (I passed) and a bacon breakfast shot (definitely did not pass.) And Farmland Foods rounded out the bacon menu with simplicity, featuring eight or so different cuts and seasoned strips to try. The bacon is paired with a featured micro brew beer station, live local music and to round out the fun there is a bacon eating contest (we’ll get to that in a minute) and a bacon recipe contest.

So here’s where I come in. Kansas Pork is a sponsor at this event and this year we also featured a fun bacon photo booth that was complete with various signs and props that attendees could snap a picture in front of with their friends and then enter to win bacon by uploading that picture to social media, using the hash tag #baconfarmers.  Pretty cool, huh? The bonus for me (besides unlimited bacon to sample of course) was that I was able to bring along a few friends to enjoy the day with me. A huge thanks to Megan, Kyla and Elliott for tagging along with me and helping out here and there when we needed it. Overall the day what a pretty big success and a whole lot of fun. It’s still a little crazy to me that there is a whole food culture and fad built around this beloved breakfast food. There were so many crazy costumes, funny t-shirts, and fun giveaways. I think we decided that overall our favorites were the bacon cheddar meatballs, chocolate covered bacon, bacon jam, steak seasoned bacon strips and the bacon bloody marys.

And going back to that bacon eating contest… Now I’ve been to a bowl game, witnessed some buzzer beaters and am competitive to a fault, but I have to say, sitting front and center for a bacon eating contest is quite the experience. Competitors are given a pound of bacon and five minutes. The person who finishes first or eats the most (in weight) in that time period is crowned the champion – and people take this competition very seriously. If you know me, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to find me mocking this a slight bit, and I did, until this 120-something lb spunky middle aged woman won! This chick beat out 30 or so other competitors (mostly big burly guys) and won over the crowd at the same time. That’s the last time I’ll mock an eating competition.

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If you are in or near the Kansas City area I encourage you to look into attending the event in the future. It is held near the end of August each year and goes toward helping out a great cause and organization. And…chances are, I’ll be there again. My roommate Megan is already eyeing her calender to make that weekend available to tag along next year.

As for me, I’m never going to think of bacon the same way again.

So There's That Series

So There’s That: Vol. 3

{Sort of like  a “Friday Five” except it’s probably not Friday and I gave up on the idea of a catchy alliteration. This is my# postgradlife.}

1. Method-Tasting

So just in case you didn’t get the memo or have been living underneath a rock…bacon is hot {aside from literally.} It’s a hot, fun, hipster, trendy food and people can’t seem to get enough of it. Now, I’ve always known bacon was great but everyone and their grandma is now fascinated with this breakfast side. From wrapping it around other foods, desserts, cocktails and multiple snacks, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it all now. {Check out the Today Show’s Pinterest Board.} Now considering I work in the pork industry, I think its important for us to run with this bacon craze while its in style. Personally, I prefer to eat my bacon traditionally but I understand the importance of walking the talk, so recently my co-worker and I did a little taste testing on our own.

bacon tasting

First, on our way to a meeting to Topeka, we tried the Peanut Butter Bacon shake at Sonic. I was pretty skeptical at first, but it wasn’t bad. I am a huge peanut butter fan and the shake definitely had plenty of that. The bacon part though, was a little disappointing. There was hardly any in there!  From the little bit that I did get, I got a sweet and salty savory taste, and like it would on your breakfast plate, it blended well with the peanut butter. Apparently Sonic doesn’t always skimp on the bacon though. I heard from another source that their shake was loaded with chunks of bacon, so that’s good to hear. Second, on my way back from a work trip in central Kansas,  I was getting tired on the drive so I stopped for some sunflower seeds – my go-to trick for staying awake on the road. Next to my normal buy, was this bacon salt flavored package for a dollar less. Sure, why not? At first I liked them. They definitely have the smokey bacon flavor going on and just the right amount of salt. But after a while they started to develop an odd after taste. So they weren’t quite the rock star purchase that I was hoping for but they did do their job of getting me home safely. Now don’t let my C average grade on these two bacon products discourage you. There are many more out there that are fantastic and worth trying! What interesting bacon products are you into?

2. Pass it on…

This warms my heart. Mr Kemper and his family took their vision and invested in it, and I am one of the many people whose life has been made better by that vision. Because of my involvement in AFA, my journey has been set on a path infused with joy, learning, family, integrity and experiences that I will cherish forever. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to share just how thankful I am, but I can promise that I will always continue to “pass it on.”

4. Oregon Dinner

This great big world is actually pretty small and I prefer it that way. One by one Manhattan has slowly become infested by Oregonians in the best way possible. Last week, Lee Letsch, a friend through Oregon FFA and the pork business, took a detour from meetings in Kansas City and visited Nicole, Jake, Brett and I in Manhattan. It was great to catch up over dinner and since Lee spent a year here during college herself, we took her around to show her what has and hasn’t changed around town.

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L to R: Me, Brett, Lee, Jake and Nicole

3. Whyifarm.com

I don’t farm, but my job is to represent those who do and http://whyifarm.com is a great testimony and example of why they are worth working for. Check out many more videos like this one below on the site.

5. 22 Signs You’ve Found Your Best Friend Forever

My reactions upon reading this list: (a.) Sometimes I wonder if my life is being secretly filmed. (b.) How concerned should I be if I can relate to 99.9% of this list? (c.) I seriously have some awesome best friends.

22 Signs You’ve Found Your Best Friend Forever

Peace out kids,
Amanda