Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Cup of Butter and a Pot of Pork Fat

This morning, as I was getting my things ready for work, my grandson saw me slapping heaps of butter into one of those cup size Glad containers. He asked me with some concern and disgust, "Is that my school snack"?

I use the same container to put his fruit in for mid-day school snacks. I let out a loud laugh, he cracks me up sometimes. I reassured him, he had blueberries and stawberries in his cup size container. The butter was for cooked sweet potatoes at work. He walked away rubbing the sleep out of his eyes mumbling, that I was so gross, under his breath.

Of course, having lived my grandmother a lot and asking her questions that must have been equally funny to her, he had to suffer a childhood story of mine on the way to school. A car makes for a captive listener! Today it was about my grandmother keeping what looked like a smaller version of an old fashioned coffee percolator, much like today's cowboy coffee makers for camping, next to her stovetop for "drippings" as she called them.

Mamaw usually cooked with lard. When she wanted to punch up the flavor, as in "Bam" she used that small coffee pot full of discarded fat, usually from bacon.

Those cans had filters, much like modern coffee makers catch the grounds from coffee beans, her fat catching kettle caught bits of burnt flesh from what ever she cooked and yep, it was used a lot!

Until my first visit to a cardiologist, I really didn't give it much thought. Then the family history of heart attacks took me to my past, all the way to that pot of grease.

Is it any wonder most folks of my generation have to have their arteries roto rooted like plumbing in an old house? I have had friends and co-workers suffer a heart attack or stroke in their 40's and 50's. Some may be genetic but I can't help but picture that pot on Mamaw's stovetop with skull and crossbones or one of those red circles with a red slash inside at a 45 degree angle.

How did our grandparents keep that fat from spoiling? There was no expiration date on the can, I never saw her wash it, it was used then refilled each week.

Looking back, eating healthy homegrown green beans from Papaw's garden sprinkled with sevin dust, then Mamaw drizzled with bacon fat was everyday good eats for us,

I never passed on those flavorful greens. Now I know it was probably worse than my sending a cup of butter with my grandson for snack.

Maybe next week I will pack him a cup of butter and tell him to be grateful it isn't poison laced pork fat!


  1. The homogenized milk we've drunk for fifty years is more likely to be the culprit than the bacon grease.

  2. Gorges Smythe, You know that's right! My head spins with announcements of dyes, swine flu shots, and the million of other announcements by researchers that let us know we have been poisoned. Then a decade later, never mind, it was actually A, B, and C that is dangerous! Oh, I could rant for pages about this, so many of my friends and family have died far too young for the active lifestyle they led. Thanks for stopping by, T

  3. Hillbilly - we always had the can of bacon fat and it was used to cook everything from eggs, to french toast, veggies and popcorn. i still like to save some bacon fat for popcorn to this day! i think HFCS and processed foods are the culprits in what is doing a lot of folk in now. since the 60's people have moved away from innocence cooking to god-awful cooking - so much processed food in people's diets!

    your friend,

    1. Kymber,
      I'm with you. I think of that every time I am driving through McDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell.....what can I do, my truck has a mind of it's own!

  4. We keep bacon fat in the icebox and use it for just about everything, even in place of butter on toasted cheese sandwiches. And we render our own lard for all our frying and baking needs. You can have the funny looking stuff that gets bought in cans at the grocery store. I'll get my grease from a hog, the way God intended.

  5. Okay Mr. Catawizza Gazetteer, you did it now.....
    my mouth is watering! Almost makes me want to buy some bacon instead of that pressed veggie faken bacon that looks like dog treats. Kymber was right on though, my doc said, "You want to see your grandkids graduate?" I said "Hell No, I want a hunk of Spam cooked in bacon fat with a side of fried okra and fried green tomatoes. He said, "Do the kids a solid and preplan your funeral." Too much work, easier to buy a carrot. Thanks for reading my blog. T