Offbeat 01 July 2016

I’m seeing references to bacon again on social media, at least in my online circles. It’s a welcome bit of relief from Brexit and Donald Trump. Bacon is an old meme, but the time is ripe for its return.
As food goes, bacon is a perfect hardwired comfort food. It contains large amounts of fat and salt, neither of which would be natural choices for eating, if not for the fact that our brains are hardwired to want them. In this case, the brain is sort of like a mother telling a child to eat greens, and you can have pudding later, because the brain understands that the body needs fat and salt to thrive.
As memes go, most older memes are static, 2D images. Facebook has made it known that the future will belong to moving images, for instance gifs, vines and video. You will see the obvious rise of the gif if you use Facebook, as well as the increasing amount of video content. Vines don’t seem to be flourishing. I am not sure how Facebook is achieving this, maybe by uprating posts that contain those media forms, but the point is… I digress.
I digress… bacon is brilliant eating. The saltier and greasier the better. And there have been very few gifs, vines and video clips about bacon, so it is time that there were more. All of a sudden I feel a need for bacon. The eggs are optional, but maybe with some melted cheese on a plate full of slices of toast.
The other thing that is on my mind is coffee. I am out of coffee this morning, and filling the incredibly deep caffeine and sugar hole with tea. There aren’t enough items covering wonderful coffee on social media anymore.
Coffee is more of a concern than bacon. An egg fried in butter with a dusting of salt is a bacon substitute, especially if it is served on a slab of decent, salty cheese. Coffee on the other hand wants in the substitute department. Tea is not entirely efficient.
There is a huge problem with coffee. There isn’t enough of it to go round. Global demand is rising, and climate change seems to be hitting production as well. As the shortages hit home, I find myself looking at a future akin to an early morning zombie apocalypse: hundreds of millions of grumpy people shambling around with empty eyes, groaning for want of their caffeine hits. This could be bad.
The current status of coffee is not happy either. It keeps getting more and more expensive. My personal taste runs to decent instant stuff, with only the short wait for the kettle to boil, rather than the finicky wait for a ground mix to percolate. Unfortunately, prices are rising so steeply that I have to think twice before buying. This inevitably prolongs the time I spend in shops as twist my own rubber arm.
There is another unwanted effect. I watch carefully for specials and lower prices. Inevitably the lower the price, the more the coffee tastes like chicory. I hate chicory. It’s not coffee. My best guess is the chicory content and the price are linked. I know that some brands achieve very low prices by being full of chicory, but there shouldn’t be a sliding scale of that stuff in between.
I considered sugar for a while as a contributor, but it is only a component, not the whole of the thing. There are plenty of people who take their coffee as dark as the soul of a psychopath, without the addition of sugar. I also considered the heat of the drink, but there are plenty of people who drink iced coffee. The combination of a hot, sweet cup of coffee, early in the morning is important to me, but heat and sugar are only a part of it. In a pinch, I could get by sucking up the cold dregs of yesterday’s percolator filter. Coffee is a wonder drug for me, far more benign than my other wake-up call, cigarettes. It seems that it will become harder and harder to justify in future, and the expense of getting the real thing will become prohibitive.
I suppose I should expect grumpy, half-satisfied mornings going ahead, maybe even the desperation of chicory. Brexit doesn’t matter. Trump is dull. Coffee is the thing.

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