An open letter to France

Dear Country of France,

I’ve crawled around your country about a dozen times over the years and each visit has been filled with beauty, culture, history and fine food.

But I have to ask … How did you become such a great nation with such lousy bacon?

Indeed, I believe the foundation of  American’s strength — not to mention its girth — is fortified by its wonderful bacon.  As an act of selfless diplomacy, I’d like to suggest that I can help you out in this area.

Bacon provides important nutrients from the five basic food groups: salt, sugar, fat, cholesterol and pork.  Hence, it is Nature’s Most Perfect Food.  In fact, I think the only food that rivals bacon in nutritional value is Beer Nuts. You can probably skip those, however.

With the global financial crisis and political controversies you’re facing, I believe a good slab of bacon would effectively distract your foes and delight French citizens. Who would not be much happier with a nice plate of thick-cut, maple-smoked bacon?

Now I know you have a lot of national pride and are probably thinking you can establish your own bastion of bacon. Forget about it.  Our technology is far too advanced.  Let us help you get over the learning curve and ship you a couple of truck loads.  Don’t worry, we have plenty to go around.

I await your call.

Your friend,


P.S.   If you are a new reader or otherwise confused, this is meant to be humorous.  At least to me.

Illustration:  I can’t believe I found this picture. Damn the Internet is great.

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  • From what my husband told me, much of their sausage leaves a lot to be desired, too. How can they be a culinary force and not have mastered pork products?

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  • Too funny, Mark! I grew up on a pig farm in central Missouri and I can attest to the magical powers of bacon! Mmmmm….

  • Mark

    @Carrie — Thank you for this key insight. When France calls, I will mention it.

    @Laura — With your hands-on expertise at “makin’ bacon,” you would be very valuable on this diplomatic mission. Once France tastes our product, this is obviously going to be huge and i will probably get a Cabinet position or something. I will probably tap you as my chief pork adviser.

  • Due to my illness, I must consume ~4500 calories per day. Bacon and pork products help me meet that goal gladly.
    Additionally, the medication I take to digest food is made from pig pancreas. The humble pig makes many a contribution to my health and well-being. Shame on, you, France, for not succeeding here.

  • In France’s defense ~ it is difficult to go whole hog into Bacon when they have yet to determine what wine complements it best.

  • @Sally I find a decent Shiraz holds its own with most pork dishes, including bacon: bacon-wrapped filet served green beans with onion and bacon and, of course, a bacon and cheese smothered baked potatoe.

  • Mark

    @Jenn — If you are serious about the pig pancreas thing I am about to lose my cookies. I prefer to focus on your daily intake of bacon and its obvious benefits to your well-being. I am only doing marketing until I can find a job that involves eating bacon. When that happens, it sounds like it would be something we could work on together. Partners in pork so to speak.

  • Mark

    @Sally — No, there is no defense. I tried to be diplomatic because of the obvious potential for an explosive reaction from France but I think it is wrong to make excuses for them. You and I both know that almost any beverage is an excellent complement to bacon, especially caffeinated beverages since bacon is so soothing that it puts you to sleep.

    @Carrie — What time is dinner? I’m coming over.

  • But Mark, what does French bacon taste like for those of us who have not tried it? Is it like Canadian “bacon”? I’m fortunate to have access to good country bacon direct from the farmers.

  • Chief pork advisor? I LOVE it. Can’t wait to change the business cards. My dad will be so proud. 😉

  • Andria

    You and George and your bacon! I think he feels deprived if a week goes by without some Benton’s in the house. Having grown up slaughtering and processing our own hogs (and being mostly a veggie these days), I can take it or leave it, but given the price of local Benton’s, I don’t waste a drop of the drippings 🙂
    Seriously, it’s the Italians that got pork right when prosciutto. Even it I go back to 100% veggie someday, there will always be room on my plate for that treat!

  • I know what you mean Mark, same story in Spain. They’ve been raving, though, about some imported bacon here called “Oscar Mayer.” Will have to give that a try but my hopes aren’t too high.

  • Mark

    @Mike – that is an excellent question. I did not address in the main article because I know sometimes children read my blog. Think of an indigestible twist of gristle that has been boiled in last night’s mussel pot. There you go.

    @Laura — If you play your cards right I might have a position for your dad, too.

  • Mark

    @Andria. What a coincidence! I am also a vegetarian! However, I rarely actually eat vegetables because I like meat so much. I’m an enigma. Hush now about Benton’s bacon. We do not want surrounding states to know about it, let alone France. It is our secret weapon and Knoxville’s greatest product since Dolly Parton.

    @Johnny — Sadly this post has prompted an outpouring of calls and emails from many ex-patriots yearning for our pork-filled shores. I can’t imagine the living conditions you must be suffering through there in Barcelona. Fake Oscar Mayer? Good God, what a hell hole.

    Come home, son, come home. The bacon is calling.

  • @Mark – not kidding, but it is in pill form. Phew.

    @Andria – could prosciutto be a pig’s highest calling? (To think I was vegan for 5 years!)

  • This has been a rather enlightening week. You are emerging as a bacon-worshiping, Budweiser drinking, spittoon using, Viking wanna-be who is loosely vegetarian, dabbling in Marketing on a part-time basis until a full-time bacon-eating gig shows up. Yes, the French were probably VERY sorry to see you return home.

    PS: There is ALWAYS a defense. When will you realize that the whole ‘you’re either for us or against us’ philosophy is flawed?

  • @sally g – seems like Mark as brought out the “bacon-worshiping, Budweiser drinking, spittoon using, Viking wanna-be who is loosely vegetarian, dabbling in Marketing on a part-time basis until a full-time bacon-eating gig shows up” in quite a few withing the {Grow} community!!

  • @Steve – you know, at times like this, I struggle to keep my Inner Conspiracy Theorist under control. Something’s up with that guy ~ and it’s either Jet Lag or Old Age … don’t worry though, I’ll figure it out. I always do.

    I tell you this out loud in case I suddenly go missing. I may need your help. Death by bacon drippings is a terrible way to go …


    Dear Mr. Schaefer,

    Thank you for your generous offer and the free sample you sent us. Sorry for the delay in a response, but after we passed out the bacon, we had trouble quelling the riotous crowds.

    Obviously, we are excited about anything that will cheer our people up. Especially our waiters.

    Now that we have restored civil order, we would like to enter into negotiations with this {grow} organization, which is obviously well-versed in bacon, its origins and uses. I would like to invite all of you to our country for a demonstration as soon as possible. Except for this Sally G person. She seems an odd sort, ranting about Vikings and what not.

    Clearly you are a great American and probably the greatest blogger on earth. You will be welcomed here in France as a national hero on par with Josephine Baker, Jerry Lewis and the half-naked Old Spice man.

    We await your arrival and we are most excited about the immediate opportunities for using bacon in many of national dishes.

    Viva le porc.

    You new BFF, FRANCE

  • Maybe it’s just me, but I think FRANCE has had a little too much Budweiser. Or maybe I haven’t had enough. Hard to tell.

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