…And There Was Pork: Sky Full of Bacon

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This content originally appeared on my former Chicagosphere online-media blog, hosted on the Chicago Tribune‘s ChicagoNow network.

Chicago’s best multimedia food blog is Michael Gebert’s Sky Full of Bacon and I’m late to the party in saying so. His long-form video podcasts and essays tell the interesting stories behind the food that hits Chicago tables–and the people committed to getting it there. Foodies with attention spans will go away hungry for more.

Locally famous for co-founding the Windy City’s leading foodie discussion board, LTH Forum, Gebert is also a noted freelance food writer who’s contributed to publications including the Chicago Reader, Time Out Chicago, and Maxim’s. Since June 2008, he’s been sharing his love of the behind-the-scenes stories involved in bringing popular foods to you, the consumer, on his blog, Sky Full of Bacon.

The main attraction are the videos. Gebert assumes his audience to have an attention span–and rightly so. Most lovers of food know enough to slow down to savor a good meal or the contact high from a good description of one. About every month, he produces a professionally edited, 20-minute mini-documentary on the origins of familiar food stuffs, the drama of the food-production and restaurant sectors, and the commitment of the people who spend their lives stewarding food from farm to table.

My favorite example, Gebert’s in-the-kitchen feature on (my beloved) Sun Wah in Uptown, perhaps the best Chinese barbecue restaurant in Chicago:

Gebert’s greatest hit so far has been his two-part series, There Will Be Pork (Part One, Part Two) that accompanied Mike Sula’s year-and-a-half Whole Hog Project in the Chicago Reader. Gebert’s videos, which examined why raising endangered pigs for food could be the key to saving the breed, were nominated for a 2009 James Beard Foundation Award in the category of multimedia.

That’s impressive, but don’t miss other interesting videos on wild food foraging in Chicagohow fish gets to your dinner table, or Iowa (yes Iowa) prosciutto.

Gebert’s blog also offers an equally thoughtful take on food and his interaction with it. See this love letter to the Chicago Green City Market, an introduction to the best pizza you’ve never heard of, a moment of rock-star food blogger self-doubt, or this rather visceral first-person account of honey harvesting (think: The Swarm.)

To watch Gebert’s video podcasts, you have several options:

You can (and should) also:

Finally, if you were looking for an explanation of the Sky Full of Bacon blog name, not even Gebert offers one. He doesn’t need to. Bacon goodness. Falling from sky. If you’re a foodie, you’re already drooling. That’s branding, friends…

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