Thursday, November 2, 2017

Cookin' With Grease

When I was growing up we used bacon grease a lot, it went cornbread, to cook popcorn, in green beans, frying potatoes and pretty much anytime grease was needed in a skillet. Not that we didn't have vegetable oil or Crisco, any country pantry is gonna have those things. If you grew up in the country you know what I'm talking about and understand that cookin' with grease meant cookin' with bacon grease.

Of course back in those days *okie suddenly realizes she has reach THAT age* we didn't really know about cholesterol or if we did we either ignored it, didn't think it was true or just didn't care. Now days we hear about how bad bacon is for us and to cook with bacon grease is something that most people won't admit to as to avoid being ostracized from the vegetarian, vegan *okie shudders at the word vegan because those folks give okie the absolute heebie jeebies* or health nuts in their circle of family and friends, not to mention the soapbox preaching about the saturated fat. monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat that bacon contains. Now I'm not sure what a saturated fat really tastes like but it must be something that really adds flavor to food because I think everything I've ever eaten that tasted delicious had saturated fat in it.
 
As I grew up and out of my country home away from my family I realized that cooking with bacon grease was not good for me. I started eating turkey bacon, which I do like, and found new ways to cook items that required oil, grease or shortening going into a skillet. I learned to cook with cooking spray and teflon skillets, grilling and broiling meat was the way to go in my kitchen. When I did cook bacon I threw the grease out, no way was I saving that heart attack ambrosia. I would pat the grease out of the bacon until you could rub it across a mirror and the mirror would be squeaky clean.

I remember one weekend my sister Cheryl and I were visiting with my mom and she said "if you girls want some bacon grease there is a quart jar in the fridge for each of you". My sister and I gave each other a quick sideways glance and politely declined and I remember us laughing and rolling our eyes at the thought of cooking with the bacon grease, even though we were raised on the stuff. We also discussed the amount of bacon that had to be fried to fill up not one quart jar but two!
 
Now I'm not sure when I decided that bacon grease might not really be that bad for me but I think it was several years ago when I was at the doctor and he was going over my lab results and told me that my cholesterol level was 132. I told him that I should be able to go off my cholesterol meds and I never understood why I was on those meds since my cholesterol had never been over 180. He went on to explain to me about how there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol and my good was low and my bad was high. I must have looked at him like he had 3 heads because with a number of 132 I just can't imagine me still needing to be on the meds and I told him "well if that shit drops anymore I am gonna have to eat a pound of bacon a week just to keep enough grease in my veins for the blood to keep flowing". He looked at me and said "uh, no". I sure miss that doctor. Oh I didn't change doctors because of that, he stayed my doctor until about a year ago when he retired. 

I remember leaving that appointment thinking how I had been trying to cook things right for so long and that I really did avoid bacon because I thought it was so bad for me and then thinking "WTF??? I try and do right and it's still not good enough? Well phuck that! I'm eating bacon!". And so I did. I started buying bacon and frying it. I started keeping the grease to use in my green beans.  And let me tell you....the glorious taste of those saturated fats in those green beans make them taste like 1000 times better than just heating them up! So yeah here I am at 52 years old cookin with bacon grease, just like I did when I was a teenager. I don't save a whole lot of grease, just enough to keep around for adding a little flavor to things, mostly green beans, and I let the grease sit in a bowl and them scoop off most of the grease and then scrap up the bottom that has all the little bits of flavor. 

Sometimes ya gotta make a tough choice and I made mine - I still don't fry a lot of food but by George I am gonna keep my little bacon grease and use it to add some good flavor to some of my foods! 

3 comments:

  1. I grew up with bacon grease, too. We did green beans with a ham hock for flavor, but used bacon grease for many other things - including sweet cornbread! I never cook with it now. But I don't avoid bacon 100% of the time, like I used to do.

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  2. I enjoyed reading your story as I always do. We too always cooked with bacon grease there is nothing like the flavor. I still keep a small jar of bacon grease in my frig to add that flavor when I need to.

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  3. I'm with you - nothing is as good as when cooked with bacon or bacon grease!! I don't eat it all the time,but I do love a good bacon and tomato sandwich on white bread with mayonnaise - can't beat it!! So, I can't smoke anymore, now I can't breathe with COPD, have survived breast cancer - I'm going to enjoy bacon once in awhile!!! LOL!

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