JoAnn Alumbaugh
JoAnn Alumbaugh

Last weekend the International Bacon Film Festival awards program was held and Michael Cameneti’s film, called, “Portrait of a Bacon Enthusiast,” took top honors. He won a total of $11,000 and a year’s worth of Hormel Black Label Bacon for his award-winning short film. Hormel, headquartered in Austin, Minn., sponsored the festival.

I viewed several of the 19 finalists and this one was my favorite too. Cameneti’s film features Devin, a young, laid-back, bacon-tie-wearing guy who wants to “spread the gospel of bacon – kind of a traveling minister of bacon.

“I want to change the world through the power of bacon,” says Devin with conviction. “This place needs bacon now more than ever. [I want to go] from one pork-deprived town to the next, and spread the love of bacon.”

Your sense of humor may be different from mine, but I thought it was very funny, from the catchy little tune at the beginning, to the “cross” he wears on a chain around his neck (two sticks of bacon) he inherited from his mother (“may she rest in peace” though she’s really just sleeping peacefully upstairs), to his admission, “The first time I ever had bacon, I was seven or eight…months old…and it has changed my life.”

Bacon cravin’
There’s a reason why people crave bacon, and it’s called “umami.” A chemistry professor at the Imperial University of Tokyo discovered and named umami in 1909. Taking its name from the Japanese, umami is a pleasant savory taste imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid, and ribonucleotides, including inosinate and guanylate, which occur naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products. As the taste of umami itself is subtle and blends well with other tastes to expand and round out flavors, most people don't recognize umami when they encounter it, but it plays an important role making food taste delicious.

Pork, especially cured pork, is high in umami properties. so really, people can't help themselves.

A total of 132 films were created by filmmakers from around the world, highlighting the passion people have for bacon and the extent of its influence on culture. A panel of film experts reviewed the submissions and named 11 finalists that were shown at the festival, representing genres including documentary, romance, drama, comedy, sci-fi and animation.

Judges awarded three films with prizes: $11,000 for first, $8,500 for first runner-up and $6,000 for second runner-up. The winners are:

Grand Prize - Portrait of A Bacon Enthusiast (Michael Cameneti)

First Runner Up - The Bacon and the Sea (Jesse Cervantes)

Second Runner Up - We Will Still Be Eating Bacon (Brand Carter)

In actuality, the pork industry is the winner in bacon’s popularity. Let's ride this wave (while reminding people to eat bacon responsibly) and continue enjoying its tasty goodness. My name is JoAnn, and I heart bacon. Don’t you? Tell us how you like your bacon!