My wife is a convert to Islam and as such recalls many of the things, now forbidden to her, rather fondly. Things like bacon, Devon, beer and crackling. Interestingly she is in a unique position to judge some of the new replicate and replacement products on the market including Beef Halal Bacon – she calls it Fakin’ Bacon – and as to whether they’re a reasonable halal meats match.

For the most part my wife’s verdict’s has been favourable although she insists that the beer is very unconvincing.

We’ve since noticed a rash (or should that be rasher…) of similar products on the market such as non-alcoholic beer, Halal Beef Ham and Halal Aussie Sausages.

I’ve tasted a number of these products and apart from the beer, which I though was repulsive; I can’t honestly say that the experience was a revelation.

As an Australian born Muslim I recall the early years of culinary exploration to be  halal meat very difficult. I grew up in the inner west and my earliest recollection of culinary conflict came when I had to decide if a Devon sandwich from the canteen was permissible – at age 5. I don’t recall the outcome but 35 years later I still remember the anguish.

Later in life, although I was resolute about my beliefs, the social environment would always conspire against me. An example that springs to mind immediately is a camping trip with my Scout troop when I was 13. The only food available for breakfast each morning was bacon, beans and toast. Trying to explain to a bunch of teenagers why you won’t eat something was… difficult.

Then there was Ramadan. I began fasting at age 13 and it was the little things that proved challenging. At age 16 I attended a friend’s lunchtime birthday party. His parents where quizzical to say the least – “why wont you eat the CAKE?”

At age 18 my best friends sister graduated from University. Why wouldn’t I toast the occasion?

Then there’s the absurd. A little background first.

I started racing (cars) a little over 13 years ago – category based classes mostly in NSW and certainly nothing that the average punter would have heard of. In fact to be factual, nothing that anyone apart from my family and a handful of friends would have heard of. Luckily I had very little success. Why luckily?