Bacon has magic in it. The aroma. The sizzle. The taste. The grease. Bacon grease is a staple for Southern-born cooks. We put it in cornbread and biscuits and a good gravy roux isn’t possible without it. Sometimes it’s butter and bacon grease creamed together, but only one of those is crucial.
Gramma kept a grease can like this near her stove. It had a strainer inside because some people filter out the chunky bits.
Here’s my jar. Layers of delicious bits are in here. I scoop them up and they go right into my cooking. When the jar runs low, I render bacon just to refill it. Put bacon on to cook and every creature in the house gravitates to the source. Two times lately I’ve been cooking up a couple of pounds of bacon while repair people were here working. The refrigerator service person and the pilot light fixer both left with slices of bacon and paper towels.
I come from a family of gospel gypsies, led through life on the road in the Deep South by a preacher and a singer. Our big sedan was filled with musical instruments and Daddy’s cooking implements. A cast iron skillet went everywhere with us, providing suppers from hot plates in motor court kitchenettes. A jar of bacon grease made every trip. Sometimes supper was only cream gravy, featuring fresh milk from a nearby dairy, poured over anything – rice, potatoes, or leftover biscuits, and in a pinch, over white bread we picked up at our last stop.
If we stayed at a tent revival site for a couple of weeks, we’d get fresh churned butter nearby, which of course, didn’t go on the road with us when we left, but the bacon grease jar, refreshed, emptied and cleaned, was the constant companion.
A sale on thick-cut bacon is still cause for celebration around here. There’s always room in the freezer.
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Music this week is “Tea For Two” from our friend, Colin Tribe, in England.