Bringing Home the Bacon Was Originally a Reward for Staying Married

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The true story of how the saying ‘bringing home the bacon’ came to mean money, when originally it was all about love.

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There’s more than one way to bring home the bacon. Not all of them appetizing.

Ever feel a little weird about your borderline inappropriate relationship with bacon? No? Maybe? Well, I do. I miss it when it’s not around. Hell, I wish bacon was a man so I could marry it. But now I feel less bad knowing that bacon was once a holy gift to celebrate love.

Not kidding. Brace yourself for this mind trip.

One of the oldest recorded uses of the phrase “bringing home the bacon” dates back to 1104. A year and a day after being wed, Lord Reginald Fitzwalter and his wife received a blessing to honor their marriage, after which they were given bacon from the Prior because he was so impressed with their commitment to each other.

In response, the lord gave his land to the Prior and instructed him to similarly reward other devoted couples who had “not wisht themselves unmarried again” after a year and a day.

Over time, the phrase “bringing home the bacon” came to mean bringing home money to support the family, which then turned into a somewhat sexist term for men bringing home money to wifey, which then turned into a phrase no one understands now that both the men and women work.

Ah well, gender relations are complicated. The main thing is, bacon is love, man. And that’s something we could all use a little more of.

How Do We Know All This? Cuz we’re brilliant. Also:
You can still bring home the bacon the old-fashioned way! (The one where you actually end up with a flitch of hog.)
An American couple “brought home the bacon” in ’08. And by home, we mean their hotel room, because U.S. customs isn’t into imports of random sides of bacon.
We want to know: How do you get into this competition and then NOT come away with some bacon?

-Mary Kosearas, Serious Coin contributor

Photo credit: Amazing Design World

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