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!