Why are my bacon and eggs tasting so foul so often lately?
September 11, 2019 5:39 AM   Subscribe

I live in Toronto, CA, and have eaten bacon and eggs for breakfast forever. But in the last few years there has been an increasing number of packs of bacon and cartons of eggs that definitely do not taste right. From any supplier. It's not me, or I would think they all taste bad, and most of the time everything is ok. Often, though...yuk. Even the dog sometimes rejects this bacon.

I can't really describe the tastes, either - they don't resemble anything else I've ever tasted. It also comes in batches - if I get a bad pack/carton, I have to switch brands until it's all sold out before it's safe again.
Any ideas out there?
posted by dustpuppy to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Boar taint?
posted by zamboni at 5:58 AM on September 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Buying from the same store?
posted by Ftsqg at 6:42 AM on September 11, 2019

Is this strictly limited to eggs and bacon? If other refrigerated products prone to spoilage due to temperature fluctuations are impacted (e.g. milk), perhaps your refrigerator is having difficulty maintaining a stable internal temperature?
posted by BrandonW at 6:50 AM on September 11, 2019 [17 favorites]

It's not me, or I would think they all taste bad

Not necessarily - how you taste and what you taste can change quite a bit every day, depending on a bunch of factors. Did you stop drinking coffee? Change teas? Stop using dairy?

Toronto is big enough to have multiple pork and poultry sources, so if you're getting them from different distributors and different grocers, and they still get weird, it would kinda point to the common factor being yourself.

Is there someone else you can ask to taste them next time? Dogs are too socialized to humans to be reliable in such matters.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:27 AM on September 11, 2019 [6 favorites]

Do you cook them in a cast iron pan? If so, the seasoning may have gone rancid.
posted by Jahaza at 7:37 AM on September 11, 2019 [12 favorites]

Can you give us a better idea of exactly how they taste wrong? Is it bitter, metallic, stale, 'too meaty', sour? These off flavors can all have different causes.
posted by DSime at 7:38 AM on September 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Additionally, even if it's different suppliers, are you buying from the same physical store, or chain or stores?

E.G. the costco closest to where I work (and only 1 minute out of my way) over the last 3 months seems to be having problems with it's refridgerated section in one location. I can no longer buy hard boiled eggs there, because occasionally they're off. And yes, costco is great with returns, but it's inconvenient to have to return it, and it sucks biting into an egg to find out it's off, to the point that I'd buy eggs, and be afraid to open the first package for days because I didn't want to taste bad egg. From time to time, the cottage cheese is also ... well, less good if not fully off. Milk will go bad a week before the expiration date. And this is coming from someone who's known for eating expired foods.

The costco that's closer to home is 10 minutes out of the way, so it sucks to go there when there's a less time invasive option. But I've never gotten any bad refridgerated products there. I.E. in this instance it doesn't appear to be costco's supply chain, but something specific to one store.

Keep in mind that many stores have the same supply chain. In my area the loblaws stores are food basics, zerhrs and super center - I assume they're different in Toronto, but hopefully you know which if your local stores are part of which of the main two grocery supply chains.

I agree with aspersioncast - your dog might have a Clever Hans effect going on.

Are you storing your eggs and bacon in the same spot in the fridge? Maybe you've got a warm spot there? I can't keep produce in one section of my fridge because it will freeze. One can get fridge thermometers that will mark the highest warm and coldest cold points in addition to current temp.
posted by nobeagle at 7:43 AM on September 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

I feel like I have the most trouble with eggs and bacon too, and I don’t remember feeling this way in the past. However, this problem has only developed since really fresh and delicious local eggs and bacon entered my life, so I suspect my standards have gone up.
posted by HotToddy at 7:57 AM on September 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yes, cast iron can pick up flavors. Bacon is usually packaged in thick plastic, so I dunno, but maybe a grocery store has an occasional cleaning process that slightly affects eggs? Or something else in your fridge?
posted by theora55 at 9:43 AM on September 11, 2019

I'm in Toronto. I don't eat bacon but haven't noticed any change in the eggs. I probably get a carton of free run eggs every week, usually from Loblaws.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:15 AM on September 11, 2019

I find eggs taste nasty when the chickens have a diet specifically to increase fatty acids in the eggs (omegas). This usually means feeding them fish so the eggs taste fishy.

Edit: this was in the GTA several years ago
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:41 AM on September 11, 2019

I know it's not me, because I can open 2 packages of bacon, and one will be fine, the other one bad. Yesterday, I had to open 3 packages to get good taste. Same with eggs. I buy one brand until it tastes bad, then try another.
I shop at 3 different supermarkets which stock 6 to 8 brands between them. None of them are trustworthy.
My daughter suggests I might be a "supertaster," because I can pick out way more tastes than anybody else in the house. (Haven't tried the test, though, not sure I want to know.)
Describing the tastes is tough. Maybe everybody's tasting this and liking it?
The bacon tastes like they've used a tainted curing agent - it's a strong aftertaste that I find very unpleasant. Eggs, now, the "off" ones have yolks that simply taste way, way too strong - the taste is overwhelming, and doesn't go away till replaced with another taste.
At the point of curing my own bacon and getting a hen.... ;)
posted by dustpuppy at 11:44 AM on September 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

I know it's not me

To be clear, do other people (e.g.: your daughter) agree that the eggs & bacon that you've identified as tasting bad also taste bad to them? I wonder if it's possible that your sense of taste has become sharpened/altered recently so that now you're able to perceive tastes that you weren't able before. For example, I've heard that pregnancy can affect some women in this way. I'm not sure of any other cases of this kind of taste-altering, though.
posted by mhum at 12:20 PM on September 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

On update, it's sounding more and more like the issue is with your tastebuds rather than the groceries; you may very well just have a more sensitive palate than other people.

Give your daughter a blind taste test with a "bad" vs. "good" batch. If she can't tell the difference, that's a data point. Sadly if that's the case there aren't a lot of solutions, but luckily you're in Toronto, so there are other resources for both bacon and eggs - you could try getting some from e.g. a farmer's market or some such and see if you still have the same problem.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:58 PM on September 11, 2019

I'm assuming that you do check the "best by" dates.

Interesting about the dog, maybe they're picking up body language vibes from you? What does your daughter think of the batches that the dog turns their noses up at?

Do you use a wooden spatula to manipulate your breakfast foods? Are they always dry and clean, or do they sometimes soak in dishwater and you clean it right before use?
posted by porpoise at 4:30 PM on September 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Today, my wife finally agreed there was something "different" about a lot of bacon lately - but for her the different taste is not "bad" - just "not right."
We use one of those "The Rock" large griddles to cook on, and clean it every time.

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts. I've checked out curing my own bacon - it actually looks quite easy. There are a couple of local butchers who can supply reasonably-priced Pork Bellies, and they both have local egg suppliers. I think I'll be taking that route now. Can't deal with the frustration of bad breakfasts any more.
I'll post back re. difficulty and success.
posted by dustpuppy at 7:12 AM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

An update.
I finally tracked down some pork belly here in Toronto (I don't keep a car anymore, so I couldn't go out searching - I needed to know where to go. Well, today my local supermarket brought out one piece of pork belly. That's right.

One. I just happened to be there.

I now have about 3 lbs, which I'm going to split up and cure in 3 or 4 different ways. Should take about a week, and I'll further post results.

Eggs are still like Russian Roulette, though.
posted by dustpuppy at 12:30 PM on October 11, 2019

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