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Pamy's Place: A Little Bacon Grease

...“Put a little bacon grease in it,” Momma would say as I stirred a pot full of homegrown green beans, and I would reach for the small Maxwell House coffee can that sat on the back of the stove. Whenever bacon was fried at our house, the excess bacon grease would be poured into that Maxwell House coffee can. The can stayed there all of the time for that very purpose and the bacon grease was later poured into a jar and kept in the refrigerator until it was needed...

Pamy Blaine recalls the days when provident mothers knew how to prepare meals that were lip-smackingly good. Perhaps there should be a warning at the start of Pamy's tasty column: READ THIS AND YOU WILL BEGIN TO FEEL HUNGRY.

I overheard a young woman ask another lady, “How do I get rid of bacon drippings, what should I do with them?”

“Oh my!” I thought to myself as I imagined for a moment that I surely could hear my Mother gasping all the way from heaven.

Momma would have said, “Oh, you mean bacon GREASE! Now, sit down here and let me tell you why you don’t ever need to get rid of bacon grease.” The young woman would have gone away with a new respect for bacon grease.

When I was growing up, bacon grease was a staple in our home. I didn’t even know what Crisco was until I was a teenager.

“Put a little bacon grease in it,” Momma would say as I stirred a pot full of homegrown green beans, and I would reach for the small Maxwell House coffee can that sat on the back of the stove. Whenever bacon was fried at our house, the excess bacon grease would be poured into that Maxwell House coffee can. The can stayed there all of the time for that very purpose and the bacon grease was later poured into a jar and kept in the refrigerator until it was needed.

A little bacon grease was used to season almost all vegetables but it was especially good in beans. It gave the beans a hearty bacon flavor.

We didn’t own a deep fryer, we just had a big iron skillet and anything that got fried at our house was fried in that big iron skillet with, you guessed it, a little bacon grease. In fact, the skillet was usually left inside the oven with the grease already in it so it was ready to fry up some taters at a moments notice.

Momma used bacon grease in her cornbread and would heat the pan that she poured the cornbread into by putting it in the oven ahead of time with a little bacon grease in the bottom of the pan. It made the cornbread crispy on the bottom and sides and also gave it a touch of bacon flavor. There was nothing better than a big hunk of Momma’s hot cornbread sliced open with a dollop of butter on top.

Bacon grease was used in many ways. Momma used it to make piecrusts, fry chicken, to make gravy, wilted lettuce, and she even made the dog happy by pouring a little bacon grease over the dry dog food.

My husband, Mike, has his own uses for bacon grease. He likes eggs for breakfast and he has always preferred his eggs basted in a little bacon grease, that is, he did until recently.

The last time he asked for basted eggs in a restaurant it went something like this:

“I would like my eggs basted, please.”

“Pasted? What are pasted eggs?” the waitress looked confused.

“No, not pasted . . . it’s basted”, he said once again.

“Oh, basted, (long pause), I’ll have to ask the cook if she can do that,” the waitress replies.

“All you do is flip a little bacon grease over the egg as it fries in the skillet so that it forms a white film over the egg yolk,” my husband instructed.

“Okay, I’ll tell the cook,” the waitress said as she walked off toward the kitchen.

Twenty minutes later my husband was still waiting for his basted eggs while I was feasting on my scrambled eggs and toast that he encouraged me to go ahead and eat so my breakfast wouldn’t get cold.

“The cook is probably just back there in the kitchen practicing her grease flipping,” I said to my husband reassuringly.

About that time the waitress came out with a big smile on her face. “Here are your basted eggs”, she said proudly as she sat the plate in front of my husband.

I looked at the eggs and they appeared to be something between sunny side up and scrambled. I thought “Pasted” might be a good word for them after all. I wondered if my husband was going to eat them or send them back.

“Are they okay?” The waitress asked when Mike didn’t say anything.

“Would you like me to take them back?” the waitress asked nervously.

I could tell that Mike’s appetite was outweighing his fancy for basted eggs as he looked up and said, “This is fine, it’s just the way that I like them!”

© 2006

Pam lives in Missouri with her husband, Michael. She enjoys composing music and writing stories. She writes "Pam's Corner" for her local newspaper, The Edina Sentinel. Pam and her husband are active in their church where she plays piano and he is music leader. They have a CD available called, "I'll Walk You Home". The title song is about her lifelong friend who died of cancer. You can hear this song on her website: http://blaines.us/PamyPlace.htm

Several of her stories have been published on the internet as well as in books such as The Miracle Of Sons, 2The Heart/People Who Make A Difference, and A Tribute To Moms. Her goal is to write to encourage others and to write stories for her children and grandchildren so that stories and family history will be preserved.

Send Pamy an email and let her know what you thought of her story.
e-mail: pamyblaine@blaines.us

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