Bacon Cooker

Contributed by Chippenham Museum

Bacon Cooker used by the Royal Wiltshire Bacon Company

Bacon and ham are Wiltshire's most famous exportsNorth Wiltshire has been synonymous with pig farming and the bacon industry since Saxon times, (Swindon or 'Swine down' is named from the herds of pigs which grazed there) and Wiltshire ham is still famous across the world. Bacon was an important food for travellers; heavy salting preserved the meat from 'going off', so it could be used for long sea voyages.

Harris' of Calne developed the Wiltshire cure but several other local bacon factories existed, notably the Royal Wiltshire Bacon Company in Chippenham.

Wiltshire tradition has it that 'all but the squeak' of a pig can be used and Bath chaps come from the meat of either a pig's cheek or jaw, formed into a shape like a cone cut vertically in half. The meat is salt cured or pickled in brine, smoked, then boiled, and coated with breadcrumbs. It is served as cold meat, tasting much like cooked ham.

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