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Baconalia at Denny's

With its new "Baconalia" campaign, Denny's has taken the already overblown bacon trend to a new level.  Bacon soared to popularity alongside eggs, pancakes, and lakes of syrup on greasy diner plates. For decades, that was where it largely remained apart from detours to puddles of lentil soup, collard greens, and pasta carbonara.

Bacon then became affordable fad. Strips left the breakfast table behind, appearing in fancy chocolate bars, gelato, and sandwich spreads. Cool chefs at hip restaurants added charred piggy accents to dishes that once did not appear to require them. Where mere opulence was the aim, pork belly, bacon's fresh, brine-free cousin, stepped in to grace sliders and disappear into tempura batter. Wads of belly became the poor person's foie gras, the smell of bacon cooking every omnivore's catnip.

By ushering in a new menu celebrating bacon and unleashing a torrent of lame commercials, contests, and a wretched April Fool's "bacon-scented app," Denny's is, depending on one's perspective, either reclaiming bacon for middle America or taking it for a ride into the sunset where it will join auto-tune, Superman, and cassette tapes. The possibilities include bacon meatloaf and a maple-bacon sundae, the latter being a pairing which, in the wake of a thousand salty, creamy, half-burnt-tasting concoctions, is about as edgy as a butter knife.

We heard about the launch on Thursday morning while driving across town and listening to the radio. Marketplace Morning Report's Jeremy Hobson introduced the story and shared a quote from a Denny's p.r. dude: "We truly believe the bacon trend is here to stay... No chain has embraced it like we have."

Wasn't there enough bacon on the menu at Denny's without it having to go from being outside pancakes to, literally, crushed up within them? Isn't Denny's "embracing bacon" a little bit like Long John Silver's "keeping it fish" or Gaddafi "getting back to oppression?" What we're wondering is this: What low-gone-high-gone-low-again delight will chains latch on to next? Will the Fall see a frenzied festival of Offalia? Should truck stop patrons anticipate sweetbread tenders, brains melts, and tripe scrambles? Stay tuned, presumably.


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