May 8, 2013 at 2:00 PM ET
Three slices of bacon a day keep the doctor away.
At least that's been the case for 105-year-old Texas woman Pearl Cantrell, who credits her daily dose of sizzling pork for her longevity.
“Hard work and bacon,’’ Cantrell told TODAY.com about her reasons for living a long life. “I love bacon. I eat it every day. It’s got to be crispy.”
Cantrell loves bacon so much that when Oscar Mayer heard of her affinity for it, the company gave her a lifetime supply and took her for a ride in the streets of her hometown of Richland Springs, Texas, in one of its Wienermobiles.
“That was so much fun (riding in the Wienermobile)," she said. "And getting all that bacon, I loved that,’’
“This is a small town with 336 people, and everyone was out on the street waving to her,’’ Cantrell’s daughter, Anno Richards, told TODAY.com. “It was a big day for all of us.”
At a 250-person celebration for her 105th birthday at a local schoolhouse on March 15, Cantrell told a local television station about how bacon has helped her live a long life. Oscar Mayer saw the interview and decided to make sure she had plenty of bacon while also taking her for a spin in the Wienermobile.
“Pearl is a bit of a local celebrity in her town in Texas, and after we heard of her eating a lot of bacon and giving it to all her kids, we decided it would be a good idea to surprise her with the Wienermobile,’’ an Oscar Mayer spokesperson told TODAY.com. “On site we presented her with a big cooler full of bacon, and we made the tacit promise that whenever she wants bacon moving forward, we’re there to provide it for her.’’
Cantrell does not need a cane or a walker and was still driving her own car at 104 years old until a bout of sickness in September of 2012.
“She had gone dancing just last October,’’ her daughter said. “This year she danced on her birthday. It’s unbelievable. And she still wants bacon for breakfast every day, so we take turns where I cook it for her at my house or she cooks it at her house.”
Cantrell gave birth to eight children, one of whom died at 9 months old, and five of the seven children she raised are still alive. When she wasn’t snacking on bacon at home, she would often get it at her favorite restaurant, the Little Yellow Duck in Richland Springs. She still eats two slices every morning for breakfast and sometimes also has two slices for lunch.
“When she eats bacon, it sounds like a cow eating corn," her granddaughter Vanessa Jones told TODAY.com.
Cantrell's father worked in the local peanut fields, and she often ate bacon right from the source.
“Her daddy would kill hogs and go cut a piece of meat and bring it right to the house to make bacon,’’ Jones said.
Jones said Cantrell has never been advised by her doctor to eat less bacon. None of her family members were surprised when she cited bacon as part of her own fountain of youth.
“She won’t give the credit to a face cream or hand lotion or anything like that,’’ Jones said. “Bacon is probably her real true answer.’’