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A Town Named for Bacon Considers Switching to Pie

EGGS AND BACON BAY, Australia—Yes, there is a place in Australia named for eggs and bacon. And yes, some people have a problem with that.

It’s not the ridiculousness of the name they object to. It’s the cholesterol.

Peter Coad, the mayor of the area, which is found on the island of Tasmania, has thrown his weight behind a proposal to come up with a different, healthier name. He believes this would help enhance the Huon Valley’s image as a place where foodies can load up on farm-fresh produce and seafood. “If we can promote healthy lifestyles then I think we should,” he said.

“Considering the high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat in eggs and bacon, the area may as well be called ‘Heart Attack Bay,’ ” said a spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which supports veganism—and a name change.

Its suggestion: Apple and Cherry Pie Bay.

A tour of this embuttered locale shows the battle to be far from cooked.

“I don’t think you go down to Eggs and Bacon Bay and think about your lifestyle,” said Eliza Withers, a college student, one morning as she took a bite of egg and bacon pie. “Maybe it makes you want to eat eggs and bacon. But I don’t think driving into Apple and Cherry Bay would make you want to go for a run.”

“It’s been Eggs and Bacon Bay for yonks,” meaning for ages, noted Naomi Smith, sipping tea at the Country Women’s Association charity store. “People won’t be able to find it if they change the name.”

Graham Victor, a 67-year-old butcher and self-declared “meatarian,” is, unsurprisingly, opposed to the move—and to all forms of arterial correctness. “We’ve been talking about healthier lifestyles for the last 100 years and every time somebody comes up with a healthier alternative, somebody else knocks it back,” he says.

Outside his shop, the Cygnet Butchery, Mr. Victor has placed all-caps sign that declares: “SAVE EGGS AND BACON BAY! DON’T GIVE IN TO SMALL-MINDED PEOPLE.”

No one is quite sure how Eggs and Bacon Bay got its name. Some say the wife of a former governor once ate eggs and bacon there, while others believe it came from a native flower whose yellow-and-red blooms resemble the dish.

Andy Abramowich, a Canadian who owns The Cat’s Tongue Chocolatiers in nearby Huonville, offers a wholly unsubstantiated story about a French explorer named “ Monsieur Oeuf Lardon” who may (or may not) have discovered the place. In addition to chocolates, Mr. Abramowich sells “Bacon Soap” which, he says, is a “wonder” for bathing.

A sign on Mr. Abramowich’s counter reads: “Vegetarians live up to nine years longer than meat eaters. Nine horrible, worthless, baconless years.”

Also found in Australia are Roast Beef Creek and Beefsteak Creek in New South Wales, and Leg of Lamb Bank in Western Australia—the latter named by early cartographers because its contours resembled a Sunday roast.

Pip Banks-Smith, a local teacher, said Australia’s obsession with food names likely stems from early settlers “imagining beautiful food that they couldn’t have.”

Tasmania, a former penal colony off Australia’s southern tip, once relied on logging, mining and agriculture for sustenance. Lately, the island state has reinvented itself as a culinary tourism destination. Wineries and posh restaurants, which serve up dishes such as wallaby kebabs, made from a native marsupial, have sprouted up alongside orchards and wooden farm cottages.

Mr. Coad, the mayor, often steps onto his backyard jetty with a net to snag a salmon for dinner. “If you look south, the next stop is Antarctica,” he said. “It’s a pretty unique spot.”

The decision whether to change the bay’s name ultimately rests with the government-appointed Tasmanian Nomenclature Board. The first step is winning approval of the Huon Valley Council, a county authority Mr. Coad heads. Among the guidelines officials must consider: Will a name change remove confusion and enhance public safety, and does it have broad community support?

The Huon Valley Council’s official Facebook page has been bubbling over with feedback, not all of it entirely helpful. Responding to one glib remark, the council urged the male poster not to be so flippant. “There’s a lot at steak,” they wrote.

One potential hitch to the proposal is the awkward fact that pie isn’t actually healthy.

An average plate of bacon and eggs (two fried eggs and two rashers of bacon) has around 255 calories, while a 113-gram slice of store-bought apple and berry pie has roughly 274 calories, according to the Dietitians Association of Australia. “They are quite similar, with no standout in terms of a better nutritional profile,” a spokeswoman said.

On a recent afternoon, Rex Beuganey—who is a vegetarian—bit into a slice of apple and cherry pie and declared: “That’s lovely, but I still wouldn’t want the bay to change its name.” His friend, Jim Farley, munching on eggs and bacon, responded: “It ain’t broke so don’t fix it.”

The Wall Street Journal 9.11.16

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