Bacon & the Art of Living

The Story

The story of bacon is set in the late 1800s and early 1900s when most of the important developments in bacon took place. The plotline takes place in the 2000s with each character referring to a real person and actual events. The theme is a kind of “steampunk” where modern mannerisms, speech, clothes and practices are superimposed on a historical setting.  Modern people interact with old historical figures with all the historical and cultural bias that goes with this.

The work is far from complete, but with so many collaborators around the globe, I put this out for review and comment.  Chapter 12.3: Finally, is the last chapter to be written but this can only be done from a very special location in the far western regions of China for reasons which will become obvious as you read the work. After completing the outline in 2019 and 2020, it is due for another major edit before I can send it to a professional editor for review and corrections.  So, to the curing industry, please fire away with the contributions and corrections.

My sincere thanks to each and every one of you!

Eben van Tonder
Cape Town




Chapter 1: Once Upon a Time in Africa

From Heller, B, & Co, Chicago, old catalog, 1922.

Chapter 2: Dry Cured Bacon


Chapter 3: Kolbroek


Chapter 4: The Shambles

Oom Piet Rademan at his horse buggy which he rode till his death at 99.

Chapter 5: Seeds of War

Crossing the Vaal River, c 1890

Chapter 6: The Greatest Adventure


Chapter 7: Woodys Bacon

eben-oscar-jeppe BW
Eben, Oscar, and Jeppe

Chapter 8.00: The Denmark Letters

-> Chapter 8.01 Mild Cured Bacon

-> Chapter 8.02 The Danish Cooperative and Saltpeter

-> Chapter 8.03 Minette, the Cape Slaves, the Witels and Nitrogen

-> Chapter 8.04 The Saltpeter Letter

-> Chapter 8.05 The Polenski Letter

-> Chapter 8.06 From the Sea to Turpan

-> Chapter 8.07 Lauren Learns the Nitrogen Cycle

-> Chapter 8.08 Von Liebig and Gerard Mulder’s Theory of Proteins

-> Chapter 8.09 David Graaff’s Armour – A Tale of Two Legends

River Thames, 1895

Chapter 9.00: The UK Letters

-> Chapter 9.01: Lord Landsdown

-> Chapter 9.02: Sweet Cured Irish and Wiltshire Pork

-> Chapter 9.03: American Icehouses for England: Year-round Curing

-> Chapter 9.04: Ice Cold in Africa

-> Chapter 9.05: Ice Cold Revolution

-> Chapter 9.06: Harris Bacon – the Gold Standard!

-> Chapter 9.07: John Harris Reciprocates!

-> Chapter 9.08: Irish Animosity

-> Chapter 9.09: The Wiltshire Cut

-> Chapter 9.10 Engaged to be Married

-> Chapter 9.11 The Salt of the Earth

-> Chapter 9.12 The Salt of the Sea

-> Chapter 9.13 The Salt of Meat

-> Chapter 9.14 Dublin and the Injection of Meat

-> Chapter 09.15 The English Pig with links to the Kolbroek and Kunekune



Chapter 10.00: Letters from New Zealand

-> Chapter 10.01: Our Manuka Bay Wedding!

-> Chapter 10.02: C & T Harris in New Zealand and other amazing tales


Chapter 11.00: The Union Letters

-> Chapter 11.01: The Fathers of Meat Curing

-> Chapter 11.02: Fresh Meat Colour vs Cooked Cured Colour

-> Chapter 11.03: The Direct Addition of Nitrites to Curing Brines – the Master Butcher from Prague

-> Chapter 11.04: The Direct Addition of Nitrites to Curing Brines – The Spoils of War

-> Chapter 11.05: The Preserving Power of Nitrite

-> Chapter 11.06: Regulations of Nitrate and Nitrite post-1920’s: the problem of residual nitrite

-> Chapter 11.07: The Discovery of Ascorbate

-> Chapter 11.08: Erythorbate

-> Chapter 11.09: The Curing Reaction

-> Chapter 11.10: Meat Curing – A Review

Chapter 12.00: The Best Bacon on Earth

-> Chapter 12.01: The Castlemaine Bacon Company

-> Chapter 12.02: Eskort Ltd.

-> Chapter 12.03: Finally

Chapter 13.00: Woodys Photos

Chapter 14.00: Tristan Photos

Chapter 15.00: Lauren Photos

Chapter 16.00: Family Photos

Chapter 17.00: The Boers (Our Lives and Wars)

Chapter 18.00: Roy Oliver



(c) eben van tonder

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62 thoughts on “Bacon & the Art of Living

  1. The Wiltshire Baskerville and Caswell families were since the 1300s landowner neighbors in Yatesbury and Winterbourne Bassett, and ran in high circles, (Sheriff of Wiltshire, Rectors of Witney etc.) They were, I believe, also neighbors in the USA Virginias, owning plantations etc.

    About 1760 William Baskerville and his wife Mary Hardy were in Tipperary Ireland, as was the Wiltshire Caswell family. Both families were wealthy and land owners. I think they were a driving force in the export of pigs from Ireland.
    Cork was the port where pigs were shipped to Bristol, and then driven through Wiltshire (Calne) toward London. Harris of Calne was established in 1770 by the widow Sarah Harris. It wasn’t until 1848 when George Harris visited New York, that the Wiltshire mild cure was discovered in Schenectady.

    I think the Irish Oake business probably obtained the Mild Cure process from the Americans, as did the Harris company, and did not invent the process.

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