Introduction to Bacon & the Art of Living
The quest to understand how great bacon is made takes me around the world and through epic adventures. I tell the story by changing the setting from the 2000s to the late 1800s when much of the technology behind bacon curing was unraveled. I weave into the mix beautiful stories of Cape Town and use mostly my family as the other characters besides me and Oscar and Uncle Jeppe from Denmark, a good friend and someone to whom I owe much gratitude! A man who knows bacon! Most other characters have a real basis in history and I describe actual events and personal experiences set in a different historical context.
The cast I use to mould the story into is letters I wrote home during my travels.
The Art of Living
As I grow older, my curse is not a loss of memory. It is that I remember everything! When I close my eyes, I smell the glass of the Transvaal highveld after a thunderstorm. I feel the mud under my head where I fell asleep. I feel it clings to my legs as I get up. I taste the strong coffee and I hear the restless mules.
I remember everything! I remember my life and ask some hard questions. My life basically consisted of two great quests.
The first quest I had was to understand God. I wrote a book about it. At the end of an epic adventure, I wrote The Anatomy of a Sceptic. This magical time in my life introduced me to the amazing world of the human mind and the gods we serve! It was epic and when I was done, I was happy I did it! I am eternally grateful for everyone who shared this part of my life and who shaped my mind and thinking!
The second big quest was bacon and the art of living. My quest to understand the secrets of bacon taught me that life is fleeting. Most of the people I wrote about are no longer more with us. Their stories, however, are eternal and I am privileged beyond measure to tell it! It is insanely fascinating!
Bacon evolved over millennia in a way that my quest only briefly introduced me to. Living life as an art is in my hands. Like making good bacon! The choice I make every single morning to be better and after I have done my best, no matter the outcome, I enjoy the journey and the fruits of my labour. The one goes with the other! I can’t drive myself if I am not prepared to enjoy whatever both the good and bad, the enjoyable and the hard that life gives me. This is the essential balance in life and, like bacon, the art of living well!
This balance extends to every area of my life. When I am depressed, I remember that I have been happy, and if I am not prepared to accept the days when I am depressed, I should not accept the days when I am happy either. Life gives good and bad. I will one-day also be gone and I must accept this because I had no part in my birth. It was part of what I received. I can’t only take the part of the story that I like!
My mind wanders back to Africa, the land of my birth. I loved her as much as I love life and all the gifts that I received. I love Minette, I could raise the most amazing two children. Julie was the best choice I could have made when I was in my 20s and I am eternally grateful for that. She is the mother of my children and a great friend for life! I was fortunate that I could do whatever my hand finds to do and pursue whatever my mind was set on. My life was not average and this, I submit, was a choice and circumstances given to me. Every moment I tried to be in the moment! Be moderate and balanced and see life for what it is. I try not to take myself or others too seriously and I always try to be mindful of the good in every day. If at all possible, I try NEVER to be average! Before or after every decision – I stop and ask if that is the best I can do and choose. I tried to choose the hard options because they invariably bring the greatest enjoyment! The same goes for drinking beer, listening to music and making great bacon!
The second part of this will be written either by myself or Minette or by Lauren and Tristan from Turfan (or by all three), in the far western regions of China. Life will determine what happens! Till then, lots of love to all my friends and the many people who contributed to and read this amazing story, created, not by me, or any single person, but by life itself. The story about bacon and the art of living!
(c) Eben van Tonder
(c) eben van tonder
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