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I used to think "rasher" implied a large portion of (possibly un-cut) bacon. I recently had my mind blown, when it turned out to really describe only a small portion — possibly even a single strip — of bacon.

So now, I'm trying to figure out if there is a word to describe "a giant portion of bacon."

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18

I'm going with "slab". It may be more general than "flitch", but it's much more commonly used. If I asked my butcher for a slab of bacon, I'm sure he/she would know what I meant. Flitch would probably just get me dumb looks. According to Oxford, slab is a rectangular portion of something, whether it's concrete, chocolate or whatever. Referring to a slab of bacon is unambiguous.Also, Oxford gives the first two definitions for flitch as being a piece of cut wood.

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  • It's actually just "slab bacon" (as opposed to "a slab of bacon") - meaning smoked/cured pork belly before it's been cut into sliced.
    – Mike G
    Feb 19 '15 at 21:31
  • I picked this one because it's the word that was on the tip of my tongue. "Flitch" may be more technically correct but I agree, this one sounds more familiar.
    – BTownTKD
    Feb 20 '15 at 2:50
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The word "flitch" describes a whole side of bacon...

noun

  1. the side of a hog (or, formerly, some other animal) salted and cured: "a flitch of bacon."
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  • 1
    To add some flavour to your answer:en.wiki2.org/wiki/Flitch_of_bacon_custom
    – user66974
    Feb 19 '15 at 16:37
  • Perfectly true, though in fact "a side of bacon" apparently occurs more often in Google Books than "a flitch of bacon". And for OP's "giant portion", "a slab of bacon" occurs over 14,000 times. Feb 19 '15 at 16:39
  • 1
    A slab would be a non-specific amount of something- You could correctly say a slab of bacon, beef, cheese or toffee for example. Whereas "flitch" is a specific term for such an amount of bacon. I do accept it is not often used and as such now may almost be archaic, but since the OP asked for a word describing an amount of bacon I feel it is the most accurate. YMMV.
    – Marv Mills
    Feb 19 '15 at 18:14
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    @FumbleFingers: if the number of occurrences on Google decides the value of the suggestion, JeffSahol's heaven probably wins :P
    – oerkelens
    Feb 19 '15 at 19:33
  • +1 for a brilliant word that I’d never heard before. And now I know how to impress my friends with my vocabulary if they ever serve me halibut steak! Feb 19 '15 at 23:02
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The most common term that I've heard is a "[whole] side of bacon".

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Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) identifies three terms that may refer to a "huge flank of bacon": side, flitch, and gammon. Here are the relevant definitions of these words:

side n 1 b (2) a cut of meat including that about the ribs of one half of the body—used chiefly of smoked pork products

flitch n 1 : a side of cured meat; esp : a side of bacon

gammon n 2 chiefly Brit a : a side of bacon b : the lower end of a side of bacon

In contrast, MW defines a slab generally as "a thick piece or slice (as of stone, wood, or bread)" and doesn't indicate how much of a side/flitch/gammon of bacon might constitute a slab.

In his entry for Donmow (or Dunmow), Nathan Bailey, An Universal Etymological English Dictionary (1724) relates a fine custom of the place involving a flitch (or gammon) of bacon:

DONMOW, DUNMOW, a Priory is Essex, where there was a Custom, that any Person who had been married a Year and a Day, upon taking Oath before the Prior and Convent, that he had not repented of it in that Time, was intitled to a Gammon or Flitch of Bacon, which being delivered unto him, he was conducted out of Town with great Solemnity.

This led to a proverb in Essex, reported in Thomas Fielding, Select Proverbs of All Nations: Illustrated with Notes and Comments (1824):

They may claim the bacon at Dunmow.—Essex.

Alluding to the well-known custom, instituted in the manor of Little Dunmow in Essex, by Lord Fitzwalter, who lived in the reign of Henry III.; which was, that any wedded couple, who, after being married a year and a day, would come to the priory, and kneeling on two sharp-pointed stones, before the prior and convent, swear that , during that time, they had neither repented of their bargain, nor had any dissension, should have a gammon of bacon. The record mentions several persons who claimed and received it; the last I find mentioned is, A. D. 1764, when Mr. and Mrs. Liddal, of the Green Dragon, Harrowgate, took the flitch of bacon oath. The custom ceased either for want of bacon or of claimants.

A detailed account of the Dunmow Flitch ceremony appears in George Monger, Marriage Customs of the World: An Encyclopedia of Dating Customs and Wedding (2013).

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