Monday, September 3, 2012

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times - Chapter 92

#92 -  “Save bacon fat.  It adds a lot more flavor to food than anything you get at the store.”

Pictured left is our beautiful daughter Normandy JoLene Moore, with her and husband James' handsome and very sweet son, William James (Will).

There are plenty of studies out there confirming that bacon is good for you. Like from Pig Growers United, The American Bacon Coalition and the National Association of Nitrate Producers, but the only source I really trust is mom. Her theory, based upon 99 years of continuous testing, is that bacon fat, when applied in moderation, will not kill you. Or at least not until you’re 99 anyway!

We always had a large de-labeled and cleaned Del Monte peach can sitting on the stove into which mom drained bacon grease. This accomplished several things. One, it took some of the fat off, and two, it provided a tasty and inexpensive source of oil (grease) with which mom could flavor, fry, sauté, brown and fricassee other food items. Never mind that these two cancel each other out. I remember her dropping teaspoon-sized dollops of bacon grease into her pots of beans, and her potatoes and onions, fried up in a very small amount of bacon grease, were to die for!

I’m not sure why I measured wealth by the number of kitchen utensils in a home when I was a kid, but I remember staring starry-eyed in the hardware store at the audaciously named “Grease” container (pictured). You know, the one that had the strainer that kept the little meat pieces out of the golden liquid that strained into the bottom. I yearned for one of those for years, and after we finally acquired one, watched for signs of jealousy in my friends. I remember thinking that people who had bottles of that beautiful, yellow, grocery store purchased oil must be just ridiculously rich.

I don’t remember having butter. It was always Blue Bonnet Margarine, which we called “butter.” It was wrapped in luxurious foil and kept in the refrigerator, solid as a brick, doled out like gold in tiny slivers! Mom didn’t cook with it. It was too precious for that. She could stretch a stick of “butter” like nobody’s business.  

I think I would feel embarrassingly un-PC to have one of these little grease canisters in my kitchen today, but on the other hand, I rarely let bacon grease go to waste – even if it means just pouring a little over the dogs food – feeling extremely guilty at that.

Mom always impressed upon me that it isn’t what we do that gets us into trouble, it’s how much. So she was right, save your bacon fat (just a little) to add favor to your food.

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