bringing home the bacon

bring home the bacon

The first recorded instance of the bacon being brought home was in 1906, when boxer Joe Gans’ mother telegrammed that she expected him to win a big fight and “bring back the bacon”. He indeed did so. The phrase became almost as popular as bacon itself is on social media these days, and was swiftly being used by sports journalists to describe people winning contests or prizes.

Allegedly the phrase relates back to a practice which began in Great Dunmow in England, in the 12th Century, whereby those who could prove that they and their wives were truly devoted to marriage would be offered a side of bacon, or a “flitch” – known as the Dunmow Flitch Trials, these still take place today. It’s a lovely tale, but were it true that this is the origin of the phrase, it would most likely have been recorded in print sometime before 1906.

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